IT’S a haven of boutiques and independent stores – a high street brimming with family-owned firms that is just a click away.
With retail giants dominating the shopping landscape, one entrepreneur is fighting back against the corporations by creating her own virtual Edinburgh – free from the influence of big business
Launching next week, online shoppers will be able to browse the hangers and shelves of small, specialist Capital shops by scrolling through the pages of Love from Indie Street.
More than 40 of the city’s bespoke restaurants, cafes and gift shops have signed up venture – including feted florists Narcissus and tea specialists Eteaket.
The brainchild of Rebecca Christensen, 33, Love from Indie Street aims to protect independent retailers while boosting their reach online.It will also allow customers to browse the best of Edinburgh’s independent shops.
Mrs Christensen, a former financial services worker, said she was inspired to create the website after growing disillusioned by the bland online experience offered by many of the big retailers.
“I wanted to reflect the old style vintage high street with a modern twist,” she said.
“You get vouchers from Next or Debenhams or Amazon, and for me it’s so impersonal.
“Love from Indie Street makes buying these thoughtful gifts easy. With a couple of clicks they can be purchased anywhere. We believe that location shouldn’t be restrictive and that everyone should be able to give their friends and family a meaningful, personal and original gift purchased from a local and much-loved independent business.
Web shoppers can even create their own wish-list basket that can be viewed by loved ones to ensure they receive the birthday or Christmas gift they really want.
Mrs Christensen, a mother-of-one from Comely Bank, said: “I have been really careful to make sure it’s a diverse range of stores, so shoppers can get something for anyone.”
She said Love from Indie Street would also allow Edinburgh ex-pats to enjoy that “warm feeling of being at home” by receiving a gift unique to the city.
Business owners from the online High Street are now even considering collaborative projects to further stretch their combined pulling power.
“It’s so refreshing to work with people so excited about their business and about the opportunities out there,” said Mrs Christensen. One of the independent retailers, Crawford Coutts, operations director of Brotique mens’ store on St Stephen Street, hailed the site.
He said: “Because Rebecca is focusing on ‘indie’ stores whether they are ‘bricks or clicks’, it’s really nice to be part of that little community.”
“It takes all the stress out of it, when you have got a place to go and look at different items from flowers to books to accessories, all at your fingertips.”
The site launches on Saturday, November 1.
From pampering to a good read
PAMPERING sessions, afternoon teas and indulgent food and drink collections are among the thoughtful gift options on Love From Indie Street.
181 Delicatessen’s indulgent new baby hamper includes goodies that mums have missed during pregnancy - including pate and blue cheese.
Vouchers are also available for three months of bouquets from florists Rose and Ammi or Narcissus.
The Inside Out Chef offers a “freezer fill” delivery, to make sure newly-weds have lots of delicious food to enjoy on their return from honeymoon.
And avid readers could choose their next novel by using a voucher for Golden Hare books.