The talented locals behind The Indie Store
As we gingerly step back into the real world, it's more important than ever to support local. Here some of our Indie Store businesses recount their journey and show what makes them special.
VICTORIA BLACK, NEWBOLD SPIRIT
The Newbold Spirit story starts in Scotland. A friend has a distillery on one of the Scottish Islands and he made it look fascinating, exiting and so, so cool to be doing something that is – well, really cool. One evening, around a beach campfire – we realised that with our combined skills in chemistry, hospitality, business and marketing – we could really start our own small-batch rum and gin company.
We launched Newbold Spirit in November 2019 and had not included a global pandemic in our business plan. We managed three very good months of trading before lockdown. Although it was disheartening to see one of our biggest distribution routes, hospitality, have to close – it was great to see the ingenious ways that were safely used to overcome this, for example pub-in- a-box. On the plus side, lockdown gave us space and time to be really creative with our brand.
What do a love most about running my own business? Two points spring to mind and they are: people and brand. We’ve loved seeing our ideas, concepts and brand come to life – it’s tremendously satisfying. What I really enjoy is a good chat with people; be that with our amazing customers or the incredible team of professional people that make Newbold Spirit work.
But we’ve really missed market trading and festivals – they have such a great atmosphere. We can’t wait for them to return and welcome all our lovely old and new customers to Newbold Spirit.
BEX ROYCHOUDHURY, DIDI MALA JEWELLERY
It was in late 2019 that the idea for Didi Mala was hatched. I hit burn-out in my corporate retail career and, following a moment of clarity during a holiday to Greece, knew I needed change. I’ve a degree in Product Design and was desperate to get back to something tactile. I attended a short course in jewellery making, run by the lovely Emily Richard at Rugby school, and that was it – I realised I could turn my lifelong passion into my dream job. For me, nothing beats the feeling of knowing that I’m capable of turning a dull, lifeless scrap of silver into something beautiful that someone will wear and cherish every day.
Running a business in a global pandemic has been humbling – I feel very lucky to be able to do what I love, and bring joy to others, during what is a tumultuous time for many. I understand jewellery isn’t going to save lives, but I love being able to put a smile on people’s faces. It’s also forced me to think outside the box and find creative ways to engage and grow my customer base, all from the four walls of my home. (This is where idea of the NHS Rainbow Ring came from, with £5 from every sale going to NHS Charities together).
What I love most about running my own business is the independence, the excitement, the support and love! One of my favourite parts is working with new people that I may never have met, or calling upon my very talented existing network, utilising their skills and helping each other grow.
After lockdown I’m most looking forward to going to the Merchants (in Rugby) for one of their infamous G&Ts!!! Also having a big BBQ with family and friends and FINALLY being able to travel again. India is the first stop on the endless list – fingers crossed for this year.
CARINE HARRINGTON, COLLECTIVE HOMESTORE
My boutique in Leamington Spa offers an eclectic mixture of vintage, upcycled and new products for the home. Sourcing local talent alongside unique European brands and utilising my interior design and retail background (a former homeware buyer for Harrods, she also ran her own bespoke, award-winning interior design business), I showcase distinctive room décor, finding inspirational new product ranges.
Previously a metal fabricator’s unit, the 2,500 square foot space is now a fantastic emporium to browse and enjoy, and until you can get there feel free to browse online.
Welcome to Vinegar Hill, a family-run, independent retailer offering a range of carefully curated homeware and gifts, eclectic lifestyle products and stylish clothing, jewellery and fashion accessories from around the world. We have a mix of fashion and lifestyle stores as well as our online store.
The word “family” conjures up many different things to many different people. In essence though, family is where it started for us and it’s in many ways fundamental to the business we have 20 years on. Inspired by a love of travel, we opened our first Vinegar Hill store in our family home town of Stratford-upon-Avon in 1997.
Our family has grown somewhat, with 11 stores spanning some of the most beautiful and captivating towns and cities in the UK (Bath, Cheltenham, Shrewsbury, Windsor, Hitchin, Bristol, Henley-on-Thames, Farnham).