The current climate is less than ideal, what with the isolation, the uncertainty and the general unpleasantness of the daily updates. However, for independent businesses and gig workers, things are just that bit tougher, due to loss of income and the word of mouth recommendations that bring in valuable new clients. We are currently spending most of our time in comfy clothes, drinking teas or coffees, listening to music, reading books and watching television. It’s understandable. The world is scary out there. However, we must not forget the creatives that brought us comfort, because you can be sure that they didn’t forget us. So from ‘places to go’ from the comfort of your home, to things to wear, here’s a list of ways you can support independents, alongs with some recommendations!
Musician – Katie Lou Rands
Performers, from actors to guitarists to jugglers, rely on the income from gigs, usually at pubs, clubs and restaurants, which sadly is no longer an option. However, some have had the ingenuity to offer ‘online gigs’, which is what South Wales’ singer songwriter Katie Lou Rands is doing. For a small contribution of whatever you can afford, via PayPal, you can watch performances live streamed online, as well as pre-made videos. The money also helps to support her record new music after the quarantine ends. You can find her most recent EP on Spotify here and her Facebook page here where the performances are available.
Hannah Nicholson-Tottle – Photographer
Hannah works as a freelance photographer and videographer around the UK, shooting all kinds of events through all kinds of genres. I asked Hannah for her take on the current events in relation to the effects that it has had on her business and the businesses of her associates:
‘It’s been absolutely gutting seeing so many friends and colleagues have their livelihoods and the industries they revolve around decimated. The government waited far too long to offer any sort of support for creatives, freelancers, the entertainment/live music industries, and independent businesses. They’ve deliberately made it so a lot of people fall through the cracks too. Most freelancers and creatives I know have to work multiple jobs, usually ad-hoc bar, hospitality or admin work because the job market is so tough. There has been so little support in place for those workers too, which truly feels like being kicked while we’re already down. Personally, the summer festival season is biggie for me, and I’d also just got back on my feet after I had a break-in and some kit stolen back in December. Although this was starting to feel like the end of the world with the work I know I’ll be missing out on, I know I’m extremely privileged to have a roof over my head and my family are safe. I don’t have a print store, but please try and support your local food banks and local hospital collections if you can. If you’d like to support local artists and creatives, consider me for your next gig/portrait session or a purchase from/donation to other artists’ You can find Hannah on her website here.
Coffee – Hard Lines Cafe
Hard Lines is a roastery and cafe based in Cardiff, South Wales. With the new government guidelines meaning that they can’t have their usual store open, but their online shop is ready to help you remain caffeinated whilst you stay safe at home. Their delicious blends are sourced from all over the world, from Brazil to Burundi and can be bought individually or in an amazing Brew Pack, which contains four separate bags of single origin coffee. The coffee can be ordered in whole bean, espresso, Aeropress, cafetière, V60 and stovetop (the one that I use!) and in either espresso or filter roast. They even sell Aeropress sets, as well as incredibly cool merchandise. Hard Lines are shipping every Monday and Thursday, so get a little Line through your letterbox by ordering here!
Clothing – Pink Butterfly Brides
Did you catch The Welsh Wedding Dress Shop on BBC? You seriously missed out if not (have a look on iPlayer!). Their owner, Samm, who designs and create some of the most gorgeous and bespoke wedding dresses, has now designed two brilliant t-shirts. The proceeds from each top (retailing at £19.99 including postage) will go towards supporting the local businesses in the area that print them as well as supporting the NHS. As if that wasn’t enough, you’ll look ‘flipping sexy at the same time!’ They are available in men’s, women’s and child sizes, 100% cotton and high quality prints. They are available to buy here!
Artists – Paula Castle and Maidstone John
During the lockdown, so many people have taken the opportunity to rejuvenate their living spaces, either by painting walls, reorganising furniture or a spot of DIY. Maybe your wall is missing something, something that the weird stock art in Dunelm won’t quite fix? Look no further. Tattoo artists by day, John and Paula are artists by nature. Since social distancing definitely won’t allow anyone to be tattooed during this time, they have found new ways to share their art. John is doing hand drawn commissions, with ink and card that would be a talking point for any room in the house. His style combines the gothic with the natural elements of Paganism to create some stunning designs. You can message him on Instagram @maidstonejohn in order to arrange your own commission!
Paula’s style is very different, taking inspiration from pop culture, beautiful bright colours, florals and crystals. She is taking commissions through email (firstname.lastname@example.org) with prints and paintings (her pet portraits are gorgeous!), but she also has an online shop of original framed paintings, merchandise like tote bags and tops, as well as prints of her most iconic tattoo designs. You can also buy a voucher for a tattoo after lockdown ends, if you’re able to travel to her studio in Bristol! You can find her site here.
Pretty Things – Exotic Jewels London
It wouldn’t be a small business article without a mention of my favourite jewellery artists, Claudia and Asifa. Not only are they proving that you can be completely gorgeous during lockdown with their daily Instagram updates (@exoticjewelsldn) but they create some fabulous jewellery, inspired by their travels together. There is a full article on them here and their Etsy shop is right here! If a friend has a birthday during lockdown, what better way to send them something than through an Etsy shop?
I can promise you that individual creators do the happy dance when they get an order, which faceless businesses, like Amazon, do not do. If you can, support small businesses throughout the lockdown so that they will still be there when the lockdown ends, which currently isn’t a guarantee. It’s not a one sided transaction either. You’ll be dressed to the nines, entertained, well fed, caffeinated and feeling great by the end of it, I promise. See you all soon.
Do you have any recommendations or favourites? Let me know in the comments!
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