Brits in Edinburgh are spending their Christmas budgets with small and independent businesses this year

Princes Street, Edinburgh

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VIRGIN StartUp, a not-for-profit that exists to help new business founders to get going and thrive has conducted research into the Christmas spending habits of people from Edinburgh this year.

  • Just under a quarter of us are planning to spend the majority of our Christmas budget on small and independent businesses*
  • The top reason cited (40%) for supporting small businesses was because we feel like we’re giving back to our local community, also that we’re supporting the local high street (30%) and that independent businesses bring originality, choice, and variety (30%)
  • Most of us have made a start on our Christmas shopping but we have more to buy (22%) but some of us (23%) in Edinburgh have yet to start – with this in mind Virgin StartUp are encouraging those of us who are yet to hit the shops to remember small and independent businesses for all our festive goodies 
  • As part of their #DecktheSmalls campaign, Virgin StartUp is calling on those who have yet to tackle their Christmas shopping to also buy ‘small’ this year

To bring this story to life we can offer you an interview with a Virgin StartUp’s small business founder based in Edinburgh – Jill and Stephen Henry at Meander Apparel – who can talk about their experience of being in business at Christmas.

Meander Apparel is based in Edinburgh, with a second store opening this month in London and offers premium, comfortable clothing and accessories made for the outdoors. They are a direct-to-consumer brand with sustainability at the core of what they do. Already, 90% of the collection is either natural or recycled and the brand has big plans to increase this to 100% by the end of 2022.

Ahead of a crowdfunding campaign in 2018, Jill and Stephen benefitted from a Virgin StartUp loan to help them develop prototypes. After the success of this, they secured another Virgin StartUp loan to help grow the business to where it is today. Jill and Stephen were lucky enough to also win a place in the Virgin Strive Challenge, organised by Virgin StartUp, which saw Jill cycle through Sardinia on a week-long trek with the Branson family raising money for the Big Change Charitable Trust. Richard Branson took a liking to one of Meander Apparel’s jackets and it was eventually auctioned off for charity. Supporting charities is really important to Jill and Stephen, and during lockdown they launched a campaign where they donated all profits on sales to the NHS and World Health Organisation to help fight the pandemic.

Jill and Stephen believe that it is the small businesses like theirs that make iconic cities like Edinburgh more unique and interesting places to shop and would provide a great conversation on the importance of supporting small businesses this Christmas.

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