Small Business Saturday returns this weekend, and independent fashion businesses are preparing to take advantage.
Now in its fourth year, Small Business Saturday is going from strength to strength. According to a survey from American Express, the event’s principal supporter, £623m was spent on small businesses on the day last year, up 24% on the year before.
More than 20,000 businesses will take part this year. Some will offer discounts and special promotions to draw in customers. AmEx cardholders will received £5 in credit for every £10 spent in an indie this weekend. A Small Business Saturday campaign has launched, in which Victoria and Doctor Who actress Jenna Coleman visits London indie Modern Society.
Fellow London indie Wolf & Badger is also taking part this year, offering discounts and “meet the maker” events over the weekend.
“We’re able to reach new groups of customers who wouldn’t necessarily have heard of us before,” explains George Graham, CEO and co-founder. “We can not only introduce them to the incredible independent brands carried in our stores, but we’re also able to offer them a discount. We’re hoping it will be a very successful weekend indeed.”
The Dressing Room in St Albans has taken part in small business Saturday since its inception.
“It’s a good initiative as it reminds customers to shop local,” says owner Deryane Tadd. “We have double points in store and online for customers and social media competitions where followers can send in pictures, and tweet what makes them smile with the hashtag #SmallBusinessSaturday.”
And it’s not just independent retailers getting involved. “It’s been an invaluable way to raise awareness of what we do,” says Rosie Davies, director of Drapers Independents Awards 2016 finalist London Fashion Agency (LFA). “We are all about small businesses and it helps us to drum up interest.”
London Fashion Agency on Small Business Saturday
She continues: “For the independent brands we work with, it’d be great to see an uplift in sales after the Black Friday and Cyber Monday weekend. I don’t disagree with Black Friday and some small brands targeted it well, but it can be challenging for smaller businesses.”
During the weekend, LFA will offer two months of free fashion PR for those who sign up for a year, as well as promoting the events and brands they work with.
Knitwear brand Fanclub and womenswear designer Florence Bridge are also taking part in the weekend. Aysen Bayram, designer at Fanclub, is offering a 10% discount online, and is strongly in support of the initiative. “As a British brand who produces everything entirely in the UK, it’s important to us to support trade within the UK and with small businesses,” she says.
Florence Bridge is launching a Christmas pop-up in Topshop Oxford circus on Saturday. “It’s an amazing opportunity for a small British brand like mine,” she says. As well as the Topshop space, Bridge is participating in one of the ”meet the maker” events at Wolf & Badger’s Ledbury Road store.