Kaye Thurgood, owner of the award-winning Sincerely Yours card and gift shops in Shenfield and Hornchurch has been in the media spotlight in the last week, appearing on TV on BBC News as well as being interviewed by BBC Radio Essex, championing the Click It Local initiative which has just launched in her area, backed by the local borough council.
“The internet was once seen as a threat to independent stores, but now it is their lifeline,” began the BBC News item before cutting to footage of the Shenfield Sincerely Yours store, showing a busy scene of products being packaged up ready for local delivery, as a result of the retailer’s participation in the Click It Local scheme, the new online platform for independent businesses.
Click It Local (which is already up and running in Cambridgeshire, Brighton as well as parts of London) has just been extended to Shenfield, Brentwood and Ingatestone with backing from the local Brentwood Borough Council.
Sincerely Yours now has its own designated portal on the ‘virtual high street’ of Click It alongside other independent businesses in the area, including Ingatestone-based Abigail’s Lifestyle and The Olive Branch in Hutton which also stock greeting cards.
“We can see it as a great opportunity in the pandemic to use Click It Local because customers can order for delivery or collect from the door of the shop,” said Kaye on BBC News. “And after we’ve opened, it gives us another way of accessing our customers,” she added.
As Kaye told PG Buzz: “What is so great about Click It Local is that it is only open to independent businesses. We started getting orders as soon as it went live. Every little helps!”
Having launched with Five Dollar Shake cards on the site as well as gift products, Kaye is now extending the selection to include Rachel Ellen Designs, Paper Salad, Belly Button Designs and Rosie Made a Thing.
To support its independent retailers, Brentwood Borough Council has got behind the scheme, covering the 7.5% commission cost that retailers pay on orders that come through the Click It Local site for the first two months.
With a mission to “champion independents” Steve Koch, the founder of Click It Local, stressed that it is “important that consumers understand that there is a choice to shop locally rather than go to the usual bigger online businesses. We want to support Brentwood businesses and offer shoppers the same ease and convenience locally as they have come to expect from bigger online monopolies.”
Kaye has included the footage of the BBC News coverage on the shop’s Facebook page.
Top: Kaye Thurgood with an armful of Jellycat Amuseables.