Independent Oxford – Creating a state of Independents
There’s a battle going on in our high streets. Some businesses are really struggling and even big household names have gone to the wall as our shopping habits change. So, when a business comes along which is backing the smaller independent retailers in Oxfordshire, it is worth paying attention.
Independent Oxford began as a website which unearthed a huge number of great indie stores, cafes and restaurants. Founders Rosie Jacobs and Anna Munday share a passion for all things independent and the unique experiences they offer their customers. There is something about creating a community in this sector which is popular and increasingly valued. Now the business has grown, they have published the excellent INDIE OXFORD COMPENDIUM a handy guide to the city’s smaller retail traders and suppliers.
The concept is to create a strong marketing and support platform to the city’s amazing stores, restaurants, bars and cafes to help them to thrive. They want them to build their own support network and collaborate by sharing experiences, knowledge and creativity too. It is giving indies access to marketing that would otherwise be elusive and gives them a chance to establish themselves at a time when the high street chains, amongst others, are struggling.
When they started out both Anna Munday and Rosie Jacobs recognised they had gaps in their own knowledge and attended OxLEP Business workshops to get a wider perspective of the challenges which lay ahead. “I went to several business growth workshops, one on sales and growth, the other on planning,” said Rosie. “It was a huge help because it gave me the bigger picture of what we were doing. We now have a 5-year plan and new sales strategies in place and they are working.” Independent Oxford also met with a Network Navigator to explore what help they most needed and how to access it.
Anna Munday says they would not have been so confident about their new business if it hadn’t been for the kind of support available: “You should always be learning new skills and experiences. That all builds into the kind of knowledge that can make you successful.” With the Indie Oxford Compendium already published, they are looking to grow with more promotion and support for the wealth of independents in the county.
You can watch Independent Oxford's film here.