Support local. Two words that we have heard a thousand times but often ignored. You know what it's like; you are looking for a present for someone or a new outfit and you need it NOW. So, you take the easy route and head over to a large online retailer that guarantees speedy delivery but not that personal touch.  We've all done it.  The to-do list is too long and the day is too short.  But now is the time to stop, think and show your support.  

Businesses big and small are feeling the effects of the coronavirus pandemic be it directly or via the ripple effect.  Government rulings about shop closures, lock downs and social distancing have really tightened the thumb screws.  All imperative to curb the spread of this silent disease but the impact on businesses is potentially devastating and possibly yet to show its effect.  

As all good business owners do, we roll with the punches and adapt our businesses as best we can by focusing on our digital channels, offering discounts, spreading positivity and sharing online tutorials to keep our customers close.  But this journey is a shared journey; a synergy between business and customer. Never before has customer support and loyalty been more vital. Small businesses are asked countless times to support fundraisers in aid of local schools and charities.  Something we are delighted to do for our communities, but the tables have turned and it is now time for the community to support their local businesses.

We are by no means alone on this rollercoaster ride and wanted to take this opportunity to showcase a handful of other local businesses.  We are surrounded by lots of creative, inspirational and innovative independents but sadly we couldn't include them all; but their unique talents, authentic brands and love for what they do is something to not just support but applaud.

Shop Pom Pom offers a carefully curated collection of imaginative and well-designed plastic-free products for children.  
Being housebound with small children can be more than a little trying at the best of times let alone for weeks at a time but ease the pain with a new plastic-free addition to your box of tricks.
Life of Riley designs beautiful leather lifestyle accessories and gifts that can be made all the more special with their in-house embossing service.
Add this to a thoughtfully curated collection of quirky vintage one-offs and you need look no further for that little something you will treasure as well as use.  A win win.
Mini Miss Bread is an artisan sourdough bakery in our local town, Saffron Walden, whose delicious recipes have people queuing around the block for a loaf of bread or a locally acclaimed bun; cinnamon, cardamom or speculoos. I can vouch for them all.  When I can get one that is! 
Having closed her shop in accordance with government guidelines, Megan has been sharing the love and giving online tutorials on how we can make our own bread at home.  Give it a go, it's a fun activity to share with the family.
Elphick & Co is a boutique web design and brand marketing consultancy for style focused businesses.  
Now, more than ever, businesses need an effective online presence but getting your voice heard on what is already a burgeoning platform takes skill, expertise and a focused brand strategy.  
So, if you are using the spare time you have been 'given' pondering your next move.  Carpe diem!

Mmaa sells beautiful handcrafted baskets.  Not only are they sustainable but each sale brings support, recognition and education to the women and their local communities in Ghana.  What's more, a young lady receives a reusable sanitary kit with every purchase.  
Set up in 2018, this collective really is the definition of supporting local.  With their practical designs, gorgeous colours and community impact, the only question now, is which one? Or ones?!

The power of these two small words is in all our hands and never before has it meant so much. Use it wisely to keep small independent brands going.  We aren't just here for Christmas.