How are we midway through January already? 2022?! What on earth has happened in the last two years. For me it seems like time has stood still and yet whizzed by in the blink of an eye all at the same time. Two years have morphed into one and it is hard to make any kind of distinction between them. Except one; which seems to be echoing it's way through the small business world right now.
2020 was an unprecedented year for online small businesses. Folks were stuck at home with not much else to do but browse the virtual world discovering new and exciting brands. Small shops saw a huge increase in sales and engagement across their social media and the community rejoiced as we hoped the trend would stay and the support for independent retailers and creators would continue to rise. It seems it was not to be. In stark contrast to 2020 many small shops are seeing their worst year to date in 2021/2022. Sales are down, traffic is down, and amidst some gnarly changes to Facebook and Instagram social media engagement has got up and left the building leaving a trail of cobwebs blowing in the breeze. Many are hustling to adapt to the change in shopping trends, some are hanging up their creative caps for good, and some are clinging on in a storm hoping for the clouds to clear on the horizon.
As news broke in the community today of another established small shop closing down a sense of deflation led to aimless meandering, casually browsing our favourite stores and social accounts. Many of these businesses are run by some of the most talented, creative and motivated people I know. The passion they possess is tangible in their products, marketing and branding and they deserve success. My goodness how they deserve success.
Off the back of my cyber stroll through a cobbled street of wonderful independent shops (which in mind were undoubtedly adorned with glorious window displays and handwritten signage) I curated a list of my favourite finds. Sit back with a cuppa and take a look. Find their social media feeds. Leave a like or two or share with your friends. I sound like a broken record I am sure but you don't have to be buying from them to support them. Word of mouth is free advertising, and it is the most powerful kind there is.
Always an absolute joy to my eyeballs Cribstar has edgy-cute absolutely dialled. All the pieces I have had for the boys from here over the years have stood the test of time and always look banging. My excitement that E.T had made his way into their range was pretty extreme to be honest. I am a sucker for the nudes (ahem) so this kids leggings and top loungewear set is ticking all the boxes for me.
We are soon to launch our very first shoe collection here at Lottie & Lysh but one of the comments that came up a few times during R&D was the lack of vegan shoes available for children and babies. Not only did I find vegan shoes in the form of this wonderful brand but they're handmade, sustainable and blooming divine! This gorgeous pair of Swallow T-bar shoes really called out to my soul... and then I remembered that I had boys. Sad times all round.
Love Roo is one of my long term faves in the small shop world. The social feeds are on fire, the product photography is other worldly, and every single item makes me pine for another tiny human (ish). Love Roo baby bonnets and toddler accessories have always featured heavily on the Instagram kids fashion scene and it is easy to see why. The brand encapsulates childhood perfectly with a wonderful mix of timeless and quirky styling. The Little Betsy Bear Bonnet is show-stoppingly cute and my pick for this winter.
Luna & cash is a local store here in Newquay filled to the rafters with toys, accessories, decor and gifts. You can also find them online. What makes Luna & Cash extra wonderful is their focus on vegan friendly products. The range they offer has grown to be wonderfully extensive so it is a great place to head to if you are in search of a gift, or just fancy a browse. I love a multiuse toy that lights up imagination so I'm popping their Bajo Tobe Forest Alphabet on my list of present finds that I come back to whenever someone has a big day coming up