Small business Saturday is now in its seventh year and it feels like times are getting harder and harder for high street businesses generally as well as small businesses and independents. For me, the local high street is more than just the shops, it's the hub of the local community, a place to meet friends and a place to go for expertise and personalised recommendations from small business owners.
I love being part of the local community in Tunbridge Wells by having my jewellery shop and atelier here in the lower Pantiles. I never know who's going to walk in the door and if they are just going to browse my jewellery collection, bring their jewellery to be repaired or cleaned or to find out about commissioning me to make a unique piece of jewellery, engagement ring or wedding ring. I love dogs so I'm always happy when people stop by with their canine friends - I always keep some dog treats by my counter just in case.
In celebration of this year's small business Saturday I thought I share with you some of my favourite local independent shops in Tunbridge Wells.
Darling & Wild
Lara from local florist Darling & Wild has such beautiful style and taste. It's always a treat to stop by and see what she has in her Tunbridge Wells flower shop which is just a moment away from my own jewellery shop on The Pantiles. Lara has a real eye for colour and form and also has lots of beautiful plants, pots and gifts. At this time of year she makes the most beautiful wreaths and Christmas table centre pieces.
One of my neighbours on The Pantiles, Pincushion is a destination for quilting and sewing enthusiasts. They offer fantastic workshops which include dressmaking and embroidery and well as quilting. It's worth booking early or giving a voucher as a gift as they tend to sell out. They also have a great selections of fabrics and sewing accessories, so it's the perfect place for stocking fillers and little gifts for my daughter who loves to sew. The team are so friendly, knowledgeable and great for advice and tips.
A Tunbridge Wells institution, Trevor Mottram has everything you could ever want for the kitchen to suit every budget. Across the way from my Tunbridge Wells jewellery shop, Trevor Mottram has been at the heart of The Pantiles for over forty years. Trevor Mottram is the perfect place to shop for gifts for the cooks and foodies in your life.
The Zero Waste Company
I'm so pleased to welcome The Zero Waste Company to The Pantiles. You can stock up on all of your Christmas essentials, only buying what you actually need, safe in the knowledge that they will have been sourced sustainably and often locally. They also sell delicious cakes and sustainably made gifts, including baby toys.
I'm so excited to be getting a puppy in January so I've loved browsing in Collared, a dog accessory and gift shop on The Pantiles. Like me, they also love dogs popping in with their owners to take a look round.
Grey & Co
Grey & Co specialise in men's clothes and are just along the way in Chapel Place. They focus on quality, sustainability and ethical sourcing and stock a carefully curated range of small labels which are mostly from the UK and Europe.
Le Petit Jardin
Also in Chapel Place, Le Petit Jardin is one of my favourite shops in Tunbridge Wells. They always have beautiful Christmas decorations and lots of lovely homewear pieces and gifts for gardeners. The team are always so friendly and helpful and I always know I'm going to find something special and different.
I feel really passionately about supporting Saltmarsh as so many art shops seem to be closing. I've found online art shops tend to have a very limited range of samey stock and the quality is often poor, whereas Saltmarsh have an excellent selection and a focus on quality. They have some lovely arty gifts for children.
A guide to my favourite independent shops in Tunbridge Wells wouldn't be complete without mentioning my neighbours next door at The Fairfax Gallery, a contemporary art gallery which is worth visiting if you are looking for a special and memorable gift.
For more Christmas gift ideas take a look at my guide to jewellery gifts for under £80 here.