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 http://www.independentshops.co.uk/christmas-shopping/hampstead/2012/ and to download a copy of their Shopping Crawl map see https://dl.dropbox.com/u/104965281/Xmas%20Crawl%20Hampstead%202012.pdf