UK Business Buddy have been members of Independent Oxford, the one-stop guide to Oxford’s indie businesses, for over two years now. Their vision is to create real social change by showing the value of buying local. ‘We’re really passionate about encouraging people to invest in their local economy and community, and I think more than ever, people see the value there. Each Indie Oxford member helps us to realise our mission, and supports our work to put the local economy on the map.’ Rosie, Independent Oxford.
Their website states, ‘We support and promote independent businesses across Oxfordshire, including hidden cafés, beautiful gift shops and purveyors of delicious local produce.’
More than that though, Indie Oxford, as they’re affectionately known, have a highly ethical approach to promoting business in the county. When Hilary met with Anna recently, she asked what three things summed up the directory.
The first thing Anna talked about was how she and Rosie want to grow the community of independents in Oxford. Anna said, ‘It’s really important to us that we get to know the businesses that become members and try to understand their ethos behind what they do. That’s the best way we can help promote the business and even make introductions to other businesses and business owners.’
One of the ways Indie Oxford is growing the sense of community among Oxford’s independent retailers is through their regular ‘meet ups’. Currently held online and free to members, the networking events are often headlined by guests that talk about topics close to our hearts. Ox in a Box recently shared their advice on writing PR articles and shared some stories of the innovation that came out of lockdown. Really inspiring stuff, and very useful to the business owner who might be looking for some local press coverage.
Anna and Rosie have both been independent business owners in previous lives and love nothing more than discovering those hidden gems, tucked away down side streets and off the main drag of the city. Cowley Road, Iffley Road, Banbury Road and Jericho are some of their favourite places in the city and are full of Indie Oxford members. Just a few minutes’ walk away from the centre of town are peaceful cafes, stylish boutiques and fresh produce shops whom Indie Oxford promote as alternatives to the faceless high-street names and supermarkets.
Then there’s the Covered Market, slap bang in the middle of the town and jammed with exceptional retailers such as The Oxford Soap Company (who need Lush), Bonners fresh fruit & vegetables (no thanks Saino’s) and Oxford Aromatics (see ya, Yankee).
The section on the website entitled Indie Oxford Explore will help you discover independent retailers and events and not just in Oxfordshire!
When you’re independent and not even a start-up, but a well established retailer, it can feel like you’re the only one that feels (insert feeling here)… The key to success in going alone is not to do it alone! Get to know your fellow indies, use them, ask them for advice, offer yours and just connect with them. These are now your colleagues, this is now your arena.
When you get to know your new colleagues this way, you can begin to refer to them and they in turn may well refer to you as well. Collaboration in business happens at every level, sometimes called networking, sometimes called lunch, it works and it ensures being independent doesn’t mean being isolated.
Meet Independent Oxford
‘While working as Marketing Manager for the Old Fire Station a number of years ago, I noticed a gap for a one-stop website that told people about the independents in Oxford, and community to match. In other cities, there’s a “quarter” or “lanes” and a clear group that supports each other. But in Oxfordshire, it’s spread out and, when Rosie and I started, there was no community for sharing, support and collaboration. Thankfully there is now!’
‘I’m very passionate about Independent Oxford, it means that by creating a user friendly online directory and organising events in Oxford, we can support local businesses and designers by giving them a platform to reach a wider audience, as well as creating a support network between businesses; ultimately helping to make Oxford a strong hold for small businesses.’
Join the community
Do you run an independent business in Oxfordshire? Do you believe in the value of shopping locally, sustainably and independently? If like all the members you’d like to become part of a community of people who share these values, find out more about Independent Oxford’s membership package that not only provides genuine and engaging marketing for your business, but also welcomes you into a supportive, active community.
Sound good? Then email Anna and Rosie and they’ll send you back all the information you need.Posted on