Hello lockdown my old friend…

The déjà vu that no one wanted to experience again. Just as we were ready to dust off our best outfits and get ready to be vaccinated, the UK slammed a lockdown-sized door in our faces, leaving shops once again, to be forced to close.

Yet, away from the high street and onto the online world, I have taken the time to discover independent businesses. Etsy and Instagram have become oases of inspiration, from businesses offering products and services in homeware, fashion, lifestyle and food, just to name a few.

With a study in September 2020 suggesting that 67% of small businesses have had to close or pause operations at least once since the first lockdown (Simply Business, 2020), they are relying on our support more than ever.

And why wouldn’t you want to support a small, independent business? Making products with a personal touch, buying from an independent business is a much more unique experience compared to the trend-led monotony of the high street. Plus, when you make a purchase from an independent business, there’s someone at the other side of your shopping basket who jumps for joy (both metaphorically and physically) when an order confirmation comes through.

From Etsy to Instagram, here are some of my favourite independent and small businesses who I will be supporting during lockdown 3.0:

*Note: some of these are Swindon-based businesses, local to myself, but there are also others who are available to ship nationally and internationally (subject to current travel and shipping restrictions) *

Dainty Designs by Liv:

Started up in December 2020, Dainty Designs by Liv is an independent business located in South East London. Creating beautiful resin key rings, Liv’s made-to-order designs feature pressed flowers and gold foil details, all made with the customer in mind. Plus, just costing £5 (including P&P), they make an affordable and unique gift for your loved ones. To request a design, simply DM Liv on Instagram.

The Daily Clay:

If you’re looking for a way to add a pop of colour to your lockdown outfits, then sometimes a great pair of earrings is all you need. Based in Brighton and sold through her Etsy page, Florence Bryce’s Daily Clay produces gorgeous, geometric earrings from polymer clay. Whilst we may not be able to party at the moment, our ears still can. To see what designs Bryce currently has available, take a look at her Etsy page, or follow her on Instagram, for inspiration and updates.

Zofia Illustrations:

Based in Swindon, Elizabeth Walecki’s pet portraits were a lockdown hobby-now-turned-bespoke business. With prices starting from £20, her talented and detailed pieces make the perfect birthday present for any animal lover. But hurry: she’s currently booked up until March, so make sure you get your orders in via Instagram or Facebook, if you want to be in with the chance of getting your designs made on time.

Credit: @zofiaillustrations on Instagram

The Cricklade Club:

Located on the Cricklade highstreet, this lounge has been a great location of mine for brunch dates. Whilst they are unable to host customers, due to current COVID-19 restrictions, they are still offering a limited takeaway menu. But, whilst limited in their takeaway options, they certainly aren’t lacking in the quality of the food and coffee they serve, sourcing their ingredients from local producers. To find out more about their daily offers, give them a follow on their Instagram page. Their current opening times are: Mon (Closed), Tues-Sat (9am-3pm), (Sun 10am-3pm)

Credit: @thecrickladeclub on Instagram

Happy Art Prints:

I think it’s certainly safe to say that our motivation and mood has fluctuated whilst we’ve been put on the autopilot mode in lockdown. So why not inject some happiness through your interiors? Set up and produced by Ben Cole, the Happy Art Prints, are affordable prints that include calligraphy with charisma and wonderful watercolours. According to his website, Cole states: “I passionately believe that your surroundings can have an effect on your mental wellbeing and that the art you choose to have in your home can have a positive influence on your mood” (Cole, 2021, http://www.happyartprints.com). To check out some of his current designs, follow @happyart.prints on Instagram, or visit his website.

Darkroom Espresso:

Situated in the centre of Swindon town, this is a small but mighty team of 4, who serve speciality coffee, teas and hot chocolates, produced by local companies. Whilst they may not be able to stay open during this lockdown, the team are still working hard to provide local deliveries of their coffee, delicious cake selection and other retail products. To enquire more about their deliveries, contact them either through their Instagram page, or on 07761521892. Their current opening times for delivery are: Mon-Fri (7.30am-3pm), Sat (9am-5pm), Sun (10am-4pm)

Do you have any small businesses you like to follow? Or are you a small independent business yourself who is offering services during lockdown? Let me know down in the comments below!

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