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Independent Retail in the United Kingdom: A Discussion with Faire

March 24, 2021 | Published by Faire

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The Faire international community gathered virtually on March 23 for a webinar, hosted by Faire leaders and partners, to discuss independent retail in the United Kingdom.

A conversation about entrepreneurship

Faire’s CFO Lauren Cooks Levitan and Emma Jones, founder of Enterprise Nation took part in a thoughtful discussion about entrepreneurship and small business. Founded in 2005, Enterprise Nation is comprised of 75,000 business owners and continues to be the most active small business community in the UK. Emma is passionate about supporting entrepreneurs and representing their views to the government and media.

Emma shared her insights into ways that small businesses can be successful in the U.K. and beyond. First, she shared three things entrepreneurs need to be successful:

  • A good sales pitch. For Emma, the number one thing small business owners must be able to do is sell themselves and their product. Having a strong sales pitch is a key skill.
  • Financial savvy. “The one thing that the pandemic has taught us is that the small businesses who have a good sense of their finances [before lockdown] are going to be coming out [strong],” Emma said. She explained that it’s essential to have someone in the business closely focused on the cash coming in and cash going out. 
  • Resilience. Speaking to the challenges of bouncing back after the pandemic, Emma said, “Business owners who stayed rooted in why they started their business in the first place [were inspired] to have the resilience to keep on going.” As lockdowns across the U.K. lift, these are the entrepreneurs that will continue to be successful.

Emma also spoke to the financial resources available to small businesses in the U.K. in a post-Brexit trade environment. The U.K. government has an internationalization fund that allows businesses to access up to £8,000 for market research and trade trips. There are also Brexit cash grants available, in which businesses can receive £2,000 from the government for training staff on new customs requirements.

Insight and advice from U.K. brands

Sara Ittelson, Head of Strategic Partnerships at Faire, then led a conversation with U.K.-based entrepreneurs Laura Philbin of Ohh Deer and Becca Hele of Vintage Cosmetic Company. Their discussion focused on how brands have been working with retailers throughout the pandemic, as well as solutions for a post-Brexit environment, and how Faire has played a role in their success and growth.

Laura and Becca shared some tips about how they’ve been managing their brands over the past year:

  • Having the right products stocked. Becca spoke about staying current on key trends and focusing on developing products that speak to the current consumer climate. 
  • Connecting with retailers and community. Both Becca and Laura shared that they’ve focused on educating retailers about which products to buy. Becca shared how she uses Faire’s tools, including email campaigns, to reach out to her customers. 
  • Adapting to a new way of business. Laura emphasized how important it was to meet customers where they are, and consistently evaluate how retail is changing. “Platforms like Faire are an online trade show every day of the week,” Laura said. “I think online is where the market is going.”

Watch the webinar

Want to know more about the conversation? What the webinar in full here.

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