Following the events of the past year, one thing that has become abundantly clear is that e-commerce is the way forward for a vast majority of businesses. Lockdown has boosted the profits of many online stores, especially the bigger corporations. Meanwhile, many traditional brick and mortar stores and small businesses have struggled or even been forced to cease trading. It’s becoming increasingly obvious that in the near future, we as a society will have to decide whether shopping in-person is something we’re willing to invest in, or whether all trading should turn to online-only.
As a digital marketing company, we’re obviously a little biased to say that e-commerce is a winner for us. However, we believe in championing small businesses and making the marrying of brick and mortar AND online shopping a little easier for owners and customers alike. Today’s blog is all about looking at some of the amazing small businesses out there, and showing the amazing work they’re doing both online and offline!
A favourite of a few members of our team, this wonderful e-com small business was set up during lockdown by an LGBTQ+ couple based in our home city of Manchester. Specialising in “homeware and finishing touches”, they stock small brands and beautiful handmade products that they love as much as their customers do. They’re also truly killing the social media game, showing us behind the scenes TikToks of their delivery process, as well as their journey from leaving their pre-pandemic jobs behind in order to pursue this amazing venture.
A prime example of the perfect fusion of brick and mortar and e-com, Paddy & Scott’s are bringing farmer-focused craft coffee to the masses. In-store, their baristas serve up exceptional coffee, while online they are serving a cheeky tone of voice in their socials and paid ads. Not only is their coffee amazing and their personality great, but they care, too. The company was created on the foundation that there were too many middlemen between farmers, fairtrade and the front-of-house, so P&S cut right to the source and worked hand in hand with farmers in Kenya to bring great coffee with great support to its growers.
If you’re unfamiliar with the North East English delicacy that is the chicken parmesan (or parmo for short), then you’re truly missing out. Although many folks from the Boro will be keen to tell you that parmos do not taste the same outside their county lines, Parmogeddon does a great job of translating the dish *all the way* to the other side of the north. Born in 2019 and Boro originated, Parmogeddon has set up shop in MCR’s Hatch, as well as doing a guest spot at Northern Monk in NQ. This small business is all physical for now, though, with no digital parmos in sight just yet – though their socials are drool-worthy.
Not only is this company the leading book subscription service in the UK, but it’s also feminist-forward and page-flipping fantastic. Each month, the customer receives a handpicked piece of literature by empowering female authors, as well as gifts from independent creatives, collectable bookmarks and a zine packed with interviews and much more. This is the kind of gift our super-literate content team would love (hint hint, anyone buying gifts for the content team). Not only is this bringing amazing female authors’ work to the masses, it regularly champions women of colour – most recently promoting the work of Muslim authors to celebrate Ramadan.
The incredibly aesthetically pleasing Gold Dust Road was started by Youtube influencer and all-round lovely lady Lucy Wood (@lucyjanewood on Instagram). Vintage and retro prints adorn these accessories, homewares and outfits. It’s the kind of sixties and seventies style that’s really en vogue right now, and is full of gorgeous ideas for gifts for all your fashionista friends and family. What makes it even more special is that it’s a one-man-band – no corporate influence to be seen. Lucy has worked on pretty much everything herself and she’s doing it flawlessly.
What is “probably the best Chai in London” is now coming to homes all over the UK. Authentic Chai created by a small team of dedicated Chai-lovers, with spices sourced from the Gardens of Assam and the Mountains of Darjeeling. They are quick to let you know that this is NOT a chai tea latte – it’s something much better than that.
If you can get yourself to their Old Spitalfields Market or the soon to be reopening Victoria Nova Complex stores, do it. You have got to see the way they expertly brew and pour that piping hot Chai into your cup from a height for the best taste possible. If you can’t get down there right now, take advantage of their Chai kits and start brewing from the comfort of your own home!
Glass House is Manchester’s Plant Shop. Simple as. An *actual* glass house situated next to Whitworth Locke on Princess Street, it’s the most beautiful greenhouse we’ve ever laid our eyes upon. Don’t believe us? Take one look at their incredibly aesthetically pleasing Insta feed. If you aren’t wowed by that green and pink colour combo, you’re inhuman.
Talking of a colourful Manchester, how could we leave out this little gem? The self-proclaimed “biggest, best and most colourful independent gift and homeware store” is the go-to gifting emporium for any shopper in DMT’s home base of the Northern Quarter district. From risque cards to delightful decor and even a few absolutely random gaffes (tiny hands, anyone?) this place has everything you could’ve ever imagined, and more. Sometimes much, much more.
And we’re not travelling too far for our final pick. Another Northern Quarter brick and mortar is the wonderful Feel Good Club. A recipe for pure love and kindness, this store (both online and offline) is equal parts coffee shop, bar, merch store and community for those who need it. Founded by wives Kiera and Aimie, their mission is to *literally* make the world feel good. Their Instagram is full of posi posts and ways to check in on yourself, and they go the whole hog on doing their bit. It isn’t just a moment – it’s the movement.
We hope that you’ve found a couple of favourite small businesses, both new and old, in our top picks. We encourage you wholeheartedly to give them your business when you are able to. Recovering from this pandemic is going to be a struggle for a lot of small businesses, but we hope that they come back stronger than ever.