Confessions of an Indie Shopaholic
Have we met? My name is Julie and I’m a Shopaholic. Always have been! I can’t help myself, even when I’m not buying things for myself (or perhaps more accurately these days, my children) I love to help other people shop, I even love to window shop. Don’t feel sorry for me, I’m happy with my affliction.
But I must confess, the addition of Indie is only recent. Despite the fact that I often help other people with their shopping needs (“Help! I need shoes to go with this outfit for a wedding… tomorrow!”) I still sometimes feel guilty about the frequency of my shopping. But it dawned on me that when they ask for my help, I have the power to influence people with their choices and that perhaps I could use that influence wisely by encouraging them to support independent shops and #SpendItIndie. And so the social media campaign Indie Shopaholic was born.
I live in the borough of Calderdale in beautiful Yorkshire. If you don’t live here you may not have even heard of Calderdale (recently nicknamed Shoreditch of the North), but perhaps you have heard of Halifax (‘Last Tango in Halifax’, ‘Happy Valley’) and maybe even Hebden Bridge? And if not then pay attention, because we are currently emerging from our chrysalis and proudly stretching our new found wings!
I’ll start with Hebden Bridge, which has been described as ‘The coolest place to live in Britain’, ‘Fourth funkiest town in the world’ and ‘Glastonbury of the North’ to name a few. Also named winner of ‘The Great British Hightstreet’ award for ‘Best Market Town’ in 2016. After the Boxing Day floods of 2015, you might imagine that the town would have lost its sparkle but far from it. They worked hard, really hard; they got up, cleaned up and fixed up. It is a gorgeous place to go for a day out and choc full of independent shops, bars and coffee shops.
In the rest of the Calder Valley you’ll find Todmorden, Mytholmroyd, Ripponden, Sowerby Bridge, Skircoat Green, Elland, Hipperholme and Brighouse all with a sprinkling of lovely, independent shops throughout.
But it’s the main town Halifax, which houses the jewel in Calderdale’s crown: The Piece Hall. Recently visited by HRH Prince Charles and The Duchess of Cornwall, The Grade I listed building in the heart of Halifax is an open air, former cloth market which has recently reopened following a £19 million transformation.
“A treasure trove of high-quality boutiques and unique shops celebrating the independent and the artisan in the unique setting of The Piece Hall — one of the most appealing shopping attractions in the UK. Set across the first floor Rustic and second floor Colonnade levels, two floors of retail outlets offer a whole host of goods — from homewares and cosmetics, to jewellery and fashion, special gifts to exclusive finds.”
You see, I am spoilt for choice! Bookshops, fashion boutiques, florists, coffee shops, farmshops, delicatessens, homewares, jewellers, gift shops, restaurants, bars, cinemas… the list goes on and on! But here’s the thing; we all know that shopping small, shopping local (as much as possible) and shopping independent is important, but too often the people who are brave enough to open fabulous fashion boutiques, cosy coffee shops, inspired interiors shops etc. find themselves forced to close due to lack of custom. This is not good for our local towns people! We need to support them not only so they survive but so they thrive! And there it is, my mission: To encourage more people to share the indie shopping love.
So what do you get from an independent shop that is so special?
Variety. Often you can find things which are quirky or unusual, and we all like to stand out from the bland, high street crowd.
Advice. Independent shop owners are often experts in their field and can help you with your choices.
Personality. Rather than the faceless mega stores, you get to speak to individuals who actually care about their shop.
Community. Independent shops are a great hub of community. Often they will host and support local events.
Do you love where you live and care about your home town? Studies have shown that high streets populated with thriving independent businesses boost the prices of nearby homes. Spending money locally is a great way to support local economy. I get so excited when a new boutique opens up nearby, or a great coffee shop. But without the support of indie shoppers then they simply cannot survive. We have all seen too many times that when a new place opens it closes all too soon, we must USE them or LOSE them!
So there you have it, that’s me and my mission. If you want to share the indie shopping love, then follow me @indieshopaholic on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram and I will share with you my indie finds, new indie shops, news, events and everything you could wish to know about indie shopping in and around Calderdale. You can share your favourite indie shops and indie purchases too using #SpendItIndie and we can be Indie Shopaholics together!