Julie Donabie is an independent retailer with a grand plan – and she fully intends to see it through, benefiting the whole independent retailer landscape in the London area and beyond.
The tenacious owner of Retas-finalist, My Favourite Things in London’s Raynes Park, has set her sights on setting up a network for London independent card stockists to get together and share ideas on how to improve the plight for indies trading in the London area.
“It has been quoted many times how small firms and sole traders are the ‘backbone of Britain’. It would be great if this can continue, especially as we all live in uncertain times with many small (and large) shops closing in our high streets,” says Julie who is now seeking other like-minded greeting card stockists to join the battle who will in turn form a series of hubs throughout the London conurbation.
Julie has already proved her worth as a true champion for the independent in her own locality, instigating the Raynes Park Independent Business Association five years ago. As well as being successful in reversing the decision to keep car parking free in her area, Julie eloquently spoke out on BBC Radio 5 about business rates in London making a strong case for them not to be increased. “The programme was broadcasted from my shop and with support from our local MP (and with a bit of a fight) our Council agreed not to increase them, which was such a relief to us all,” Julie told PG Buzz.
Her plan now is to take the learnings and achievements from the Raynes Park group and to help other ‘indie champions’ to protect and improve other pockets of the retail landscape in London, safeguarding the future for the important role independent greeting card stockists play in society.
Julie sees great merit in discussing matters such as: increasing card sales, including loyalty card schemes, display ideas including windows, card buying for special occasions and themes, bank charges – how to can avoid them and/or keep them low, business rates – how to obtain more help/support from local and central Government, keeping utility bills low and how to increase networking and marketing.