Independent Living

Shopping locally isn’t just about how you support businesses down your own High Street. It’s about supporting independents wherever they are. If you find a special shop or business when you’re travelling, what better way to share your find than with a photograph and some kind words of recommendation? There are so many wonderful, enterprising and creative people out there and @instagram is helping us connect across a wider space. My list of #placestovisituk #shopstovisit is growing all the time, with no excuse for not knowing where to go on a day out. So let’s keep sharing our wonderful finds and explore places we can’t fully enjoy on the internet and #supportindies – keeping our Independents Living!

The sort of people that run and own these independent businesses are ordinary people just like me and you, who had an idea that they wanted to put their hard work and energy into bringing it to the fore and sharing what they believe in. With everything stacked against you in terms of high rents and rates, local council lack of support, and current economic climate, running your own business certainly isn’t for the feint-hearted. So encouraging words and choosing to try their products and services is not only an investment in people, but you could be helping them pay their bills and still be in business when you next return to shop.

After 20 years on the High Street myself, with two successful boutiques in Southwest London and Bath, I never regret my own decision to battle it out there, bringing in amazing products from around the world for discerning customers. Everyone got excited as new collections arrived, mannequins were dressed and the stores were recreated for a constant flow of inspiration. I’ve missed the stores together with the wonderful people I had the opportunity to meet and style for various aspects of their lives.

The Unknown Shop is a recent venture which has reignited my enjoyment of spending one to one time with those who still yearn for that pleasure they experienced whilst shopping in a creative environment. A relaxed space within our home on the outskirts of Bath provides the a little sparkle of shopping heaven without the bustle of the centre of town.

Seating area on the terrace at The Unknown Shop

Sale items and new products can be tried, smelled, touched and seen in reality rather than guessing from an internet image. I’m on hand to offer help, advice and information on anything that we sell together with refreshments before you leave.

Many of the groups that have enjoyed their experience here have also had the opportunity to chill in the sunshine and sip drinks on the terrace while they take in the gorgeous views across the countryside. Now isn’t that a little different from your typical style of shopping? @the_unknownshop

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