Why letting small businesses pop up in big stores is totally on the money - Hayley Matthews

I’ve always been one for believing that big businesses should be helping small local businesses more.

By Hayley Matthews
Saturday, 9th April 2022, 12:30 pm

The huge companies have such power, something that a lot of small business lack, so any time I see a larger corporation giving support to the teeny locals, it makes me happy.

The reason this comes to mind is because I saw a Facebook post by Alex Callander, who runs a small business called Lazy Pawzzz, calling on dog owners to drop in to see her pop up shop in John Lewis. She specialises in dog beds and blankets. With me being a new dog owner, I was intrigued as I’m always on the lookout for treats for our animal family.

I try and source local items for our little Dolly Dog - she is our rescue from Cyprus – but it can be challenging to find certain items in the shops. So, I was excited at the prospect of a local business owner in the big JL and Lazy Pawzzz will be there all weekend, taking part in an event called the Great British Pop-up. The big companies taking part recognise that big shops are an amazing opportunity for growing or established businesses to showcase their brand and let them set up on their floor. What a fantastic idea.

Alex Callander of luxury pet store Lazy Pawwwz, which is based in Midlothian, has been invited to display her wares in John Lewis this weekend as part of the Great British Pop Up. More of this please, writes Hayley Matthews.

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I often see smaller companies being displayed in department stores but rarely with the founder there too, talking about and demonstrating their products. Alex had written on her social media page how she’ll be showing off her brand new designs and displays, things such as snuggle caves, pillow beds and bone toys. Plus, there will be a FREE treat bag with every purchase in store or online.

So for any doggies lucky enough to go up the town shopping to JL today or tomorrow (she’s there until Sunday at 4pm), go have a walk past the gift section on level one and get a cuddle with one of Alex’s doggy beds. I’m sure your pets will be getting lots of ideas for their wish lists.

But there’s a bigger picture at what could lie ahead for other Edinburgh businesses here. Wouldn’t it be incredible for a small business market to get a seat at the table in a bigger space like the St James Centre, or even a weekly local trader spot inside John Lewis?

With the St James Centre being completely dog friendly, it opens the way for more opportunities to shop local for our pooches and fur babies, not to mention other trades too. The options are endless. There could be local bakers, clothing companies, handymen showing off their skills, or anyone who has been badly hit by the lockdown and needs a little bit of publicity. I love the concept and think it’s such a fantastic way for smaller brands to showcase their companies talents and products to a larger audience.

So come on Ikea, M&S, Harvey Nicks, Boots and the rest of the huge companies lining the streets of Edinburgh. Lets get a space for the small traders. Local markets are a great way to get awareness of traders in your area and in a bigger space like the St James Centre, at least they’ll be protected from the rain. Well, as soon as the roof get’s finished.

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