Win £50 to spend at Bobby & Dandy!
O2 recently revealed that 19% of Brighton customers visit independent shops at least once a week, and to help that number grow across the country has launched Priority Moments for Independent Businesses.
The free service will allow retailers to create offers that consumers can access through a location based mobile application and to promote the scheme, the mobile provider asked us to champion one of our favourite local shops.
We chose Hove vintage boutique Bobby & Dandy, which opened in March, and here speak to co-owner Donna Grimaldi. We’re also offering you the chance to win a £50 voucher to spend in the store – just tell us what you value most about independent retailers in the comments section.
What did yourself and co-owner Simon Bridger do before setting up Bobby & Dandy? I’ve worked as head of costume and a showgirl dancer at a circus, pattern cutter and dressmaker, as well as working in several Brighton vintage clothing boutiques. Following this, I set up Bobby Sox in 2008 selling vintage online, as well as at fairs, and this naturally led onto a having shop. Since 2008, Simon has been the co- owner of Immediate, a men’s clothing shop in the North Laine.
Why did you want to set up your own shop? It’s a dream I’ve had since I was a little girl. I’ve always been passionate about dressing up creatively. Self- employment suits my independent nature and I love being surrounded by beautiful clothes.
Why did you want to have a bricks and mortar shop as well as selling online? Although online commerce is growing, it is just so much more satisfying for me working with the public, giving a more personal service. I also enjoy the visual merchandising aspect.
How much time passed between the idea and the reality? It all happened very fast. A shop vacancy appeared via a friend – we just had to seize the opportunity and within two weeks our doors were open!
Why did you choose this location? As Brighton becomes ever more popular, there is a natural influx towards Hove. Blatchington Road and its surrounding area is becoming much more appealing with many independent shops springing up. And we’re just down the road from a few interesting stores, such as Department Flea Market, H’s Barbers, a tattooists and the lovely Ethel’s Kitchen.
Is there a good sense of community in Hove retail? Yes, we really love the sense of community on our street and always like to support each other. For example, we often collaborate with the Department Flea Market for events and advertising too.
Do you have many regular customers? Yes – people often are searching for a particular item so we are always happy to take their number and give them a call if we find it in the future. This is one of lovely aspects of having a bricks and mortar shop.
How many days do you work in the shop? Having a business partner is great for dividing the working hours in half. We both do a lot of work outside of these hours too, as does anyone running their own business.
How much time do you spend sourcing clothes? It’s kind of a way of life for me; I’m always on the lookout! As well as the usual places to hunt for pieces, we have many sources who come to us with garments, as well customers who bring items to the shop.
How have you spread the word about the shop to attract customers? We’ve printed lots of double- sided flyers with Department Flea Market. I always have some in my bag so I can promote the shop wherever I go. We also use Facebook and Twitter to publicise and have been featured in many magazines such as The Chap, Vintage Explorer and on blogs such as Vintage Brighton!
Are you happy with the way the business has been going thus far? We are happy to be in profit after seven months of trading and feel we are quickly building up a good reputation for service and our hand- picked selection of clothing.
What’s the most difficult part of running your own shop? Small independent business, especially in niche sectors, can mean that sales can widely differ from one month to the next so we have to concentrate on focusing on the bigger picture.
What are you plans for the shop in the future? As well as working on promoting and developing the shop, I’m currently learning to drive so that we can take part in more vintage fairs.
For your chance to win a £50 voucher to spend in the store, just leave a comment telling us what you value most about independent retailers before Friday 23 November. We’ll contact the winner – who will be picked at random – during the week commencing 26 November.
This is a promotional post.
THIS COMPETITION IS NOW CLOSED