Can Independent Shops Survive Today's Online Culture?

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Recent studies have found that independent shop openings are continuing to grow in the majority of the UK, as major chains and brands continue to decline. We could very well be witnessing the resurrection of our Great British High Street over the next couple of years if this trend continues. 


You may be asking, can independent retail businesses survive in today’s predominantly online shopping culture? And if they can, how is it possible?

We caught up with Michelle, whose business is currently on the market with Bizdaq, to find out how she’s made it work and the secrets to her success.

Michelle, Owner of The Painted Pearl in Whitstable. 

The Painted Pearl
The Painted Pearl, Whitstable UK

What inspired you to open The Painted Pearl almost 10 years ago?

The Painted Pearl is a classic story of a hobby becoming a business.  Some 9 years ago, before upcycling was a thing, and before Money for Nothing aired on TV, I had started painting brown pieces of furniture for fun.  I started researching the best paints for the job and discovered a natural furniture paint company called Autentico and it based quite close to me. I drove over to meet the team at Autentico, fell in love with the quality and breadth of range of their products and seized an opportunity to become a stockist. At the time, I had very young twin girls so the flexibility of my own business was a perfect fit for me as mum and a way to return to work on my own terms. Working in a creative environment was also a huge draw for me and I was so happy to earn my living outside of an office setting.

What do your customers like most about visiting your shop

I put this question directly to our customers on social media and the answers overwhelmingly confirmed the adage that people buy from people they know, like and trust. Small retail businesses are part of the community and provide meaningful services to local people.  We have a unique local offering and are knowledgeable and approachable. Furthermore, our entire shop is a visual wonderland. It’s a warm, inviting and highly inspirational environment with a personal touch that no corporate or online enterprise can come close to. Independents have the unique opportunity to be retail flamingoes in a sea of corporate pigeons!

What have you learnt from the experience so far?

Small businesses and independents are the future of the U.K. high street.  I foresee more big brands operating online and rationalising bricks and mortar stores to cut costs. High streets will be places of leisure, community, entertainment and service - experiences you can’t have online.


Some new sellers may worry that they will be surrounded by big chain brands, how have you found your High Street location in terms of competition? 

I’m in a beautiful seaside area of Whitstable on the north Kent coast. We are known for having a very large number of independent shops and restaurants in our town and visitors flock here for that very reason. There is everything, fabulous butchers, bakers, greengrocers, amazing health food shops, lighting store, ice cream parlours, hardware shop, fabric shop, award winning cook shop, bathroom showroom, an incredible array of restaurants and eateries, it goes on and on and all independent!

Michelle’s wonderful business is currently for sale on Bizdaq. Find out more or even arrange a viewing for The Painted Pearl

You can contact Michelle directly here. 

We believe in the power and importance of independent retailers. Whether you are considering buying an existing business to get a head start, or looking to start totally from scratch -  we hope to see the continued rise of successful shop owners just like Michelle, making their unique mark on the High Street.




Posted on December 13, 2018 | buying a business, running a business, business news, british high street

By bizdaq

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