Christmas Shopping Crawl in Hampstead is very well received #indiexmas by @JessicaLCriqui

Guest blog by Jessica Learmond-Criqui, the “Celebrate and Independent Christmas” campaign local activation partner for Hampstead, London… When I decided to take up the challenge of organising a Christmas Shopping crawl in Hampstead, I had no idea whether traders would be interested or whether the community would be enthused  by the concept.  So it is with pleasant surprise that I found that the traders who I had time to approach were very much in favour of participating in the idea.  They immediately saw the value of the prize money which was being offered and understood that it could increase the number of people visiting their shops.

Exploring independent retailers, a unique and rewarding experience for Christmas Shopping!

Some retailers will offer incentives to shoppers who cross their thresholds and others will enjoy the new visitors to their shops who may have overlooked them in their normal shopping round.  The Antique Emporium is a particular gem in Hampstead with individual stalls which appear to be an elongated Aladdin’s cave full of varied and interesting stalls selling items from antiques to children’s toys.

Maud & Mabel , a gift shop is the first stall in the emporium.  Karen Whiteley who runs that shop is passionate about her wares.  She is waiting to welcome anyone who visits her shop on the map route.

In Perrins Court just next to the Antique Emporium, is Ginger & White, the café.  Tired shoppers can certainly take a rest there while they rejuvenate themselves with the wonderful coffee and treats which it has to offer.  Ginger & White is one of Hampstead’s success stories and has been extremely popular in Hampstead since they first opened.  Emma, one of the directors of G&W was very keen to participate as she understood that the crawl was not simply a device to expand the clientèle of G&W, but also a mechanism to help the community of other independent traders in Hampstead.

The local community are really looking forward to the Christmas Shopping Crawl…

The response from the community has been overwhelming too.  One resident, Vivienne Menkes-Ivry, confirmed that she only ever shops in independent shops and that she would certainly be on the crawl.  She wrote:

“You may be interested to know that last year I bought every single one of my Christmas presents in Hampstead. I was determined to do so and in fact found it easy – bought quite a lot of food goodies and craft items from the Saturday and Sunday markets in the Community Centre, scarves and gloves from Jane & Dada, lots of things from Urban Den and the craft place in Perrin’s Court, a photo album from Photocraft, books from Daunt’s and so on.”

Many more residents have sent emails confirming that this is a great initiative with Sheila Newman writing:

What a clever idea. I love it – other villages could benefit from this idea.”

The local community can really boost the local economy by spending some of their Christmas Shopping budget with local, independent businesses.

So Hampstead is on its maiden voyage with this Xmas crawl and so far have not spotted any icebergs.  I am hoping that residents and visitors alike will enjoy the experience of shopping in Hampstead.  With between 50p and 70p of every £1 spent in an independent shop being recycled in the community, it is important for our local economy to keep as much of the Christmas shopping spend in Hampstead as possible.

The only feedback I have asked from the traders is to let me know after 20 January whether trade increased by more than usual.  That would be a fantastic testament to this initiative and prove that if the community and traders come together, we can all benefit from one another.

To find out more about which fantastic independent retailers are taking part in the Hampstead Christmas Shopping crawl visit and to download a copy of their Shopping Crawl map see

About Clare Bailey

Clare Bailey, The Retail Champion (formerly Clare Rayner), is one of the most well-known and respected retail experts in the UK. With unrivalled knowledge in retail, high streets and consumer matters, she offers unbiased, independent content – whether engaged as a professional speaker, for broadcast media, or for a written feature. Clare is a business woman, entrepreneur and founder of several small businesses. Having been born into a family of successful business owners, it was inevitable that she’d eventually jump off the corporate treadmill and step out on her own! Today her brand portfolio includes The Retail Champion, The Retail Conference, the Future High Street Summit and the Support for Independent Retail campaign. In addition, she is co-founder of Mobaro Retail UK and a non-exec director of Beed Virtual Assistant Services. Having started her career as a fast-track store management trainee for McDonalds, she went on to work with leading retailers such as M&S, Dixons and Argos. She moved swiftly into management roles before being headhunted into senior consulting roles with global software giant SAP, and international management consulting brand, Accenture. Her corporate background in senior retail, consulting and technology roles, coupled with her experience of creating and running her own business, has enabled her to be equally capable whether consulting to global brands or micro businesses. This unique blend has not only positioned her as a leading expert in all things retail, but has enabled her to add meaningful commentary and insight to the debate around the future of the high street, and, how technology is driving fundamental change in the way consumers, and businesses, interact. Clare has become an influential voice in her field, which has resulted in her becoming a regular media contributor and sought-after conference speaker. Often seen on Good Morning Britain, BBC Breakfast, Sky News, and Chanel 5 (to name a few), Clare speaks on a myriad of retail, high street and consumer issues – but is particular adept when it comes to explaining the context behind retail trading results, newly released data, and government stats, in a palatable and informative manner. In addition to broadcast and conference speaking, Clare is the proud author of two best-selling business books published by Kogan Page - The Retail Champion: 10 Steps to Retail Success, published July 2012 and How to Sell to Retail: The Secrets of Getting Your Product to Market, published February 2013. She has provided contributions to various academic texts, including Retail Marketing Management (published by Pearson). With an engaging, conversational yet informative style, Clare writes for press and content agencies, providing features, articles, blogs and opinion pieces as well as contributions to white papers and reports. However, when the situation demands a more serious style, Clare can deliver - In 2016 she wrote an extensive report for a major insurance and risk law firm, as a retail expert witness, to support a public liability suit. She found that project particularly enjoyable as it played well to her strengths – assimilating large amounts of data and information, identifying the key points and articulating that in an understandable manner. When not on TV or speaking at conferences, Clare’s “day job” sees her supporting consumer-facing businesses through her consultancy services. When asked to describe what she most loves about retail consulting it is typically the opportunity to “dig deep”, getting “under the bonnet”, in order to leverage the business data to uncover the insights that lead to “lightbulb moments”. She also loves working on business change programmes that centre on improving the processes and systems to increase profitability by supporting more rapid, better informed decision making, improving the customer experience, or simply by become more efficient and streamlined. In this respect she considers herself a “business engineer” with a brain that works like a relational database! Due to her years of experience, her logical, objective approach, her quick, rational thinking, she is known for being able to cut through complexity, seeing right through to the crux of issues, finding creative solutions that others may have overlooked. As if all that wasn’t enough, Clare is a working mum, juggling a home life in rural Lincolnshire with her partner, their 5 kids, 4 cats, and geriatric Labrador! For all enquiries, contact Clare directly on 01727 238890 or email
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