A new website designed to make it easier than ever to shop local online has been launched across Worcestershire.
Love Where You Live (LWYL) was developed by local businesswomen Gillian Davies, who wanted to create a convenient online space where local businesses could sell their wares at a time when reduced footfall and now the Covid-19 pandemic has affected sales for many.
LWYL Worcestershire is currently home to 70 retailers (and growing) selling more than 600 products, all of which have been made or sourced by independent businesses in Worcestershire – from art and clothing to jewellery, experiences and homeware. Some of the retailers include Oldfields Cider, Hussingtree Gin, The Malvern and Ross and Ross gifts.
Gillian was inspired to create the website following a chance conversation with a local retailer whose business was having to close after falling victim to reduced footfall on the high street.
She said: “This woman had gone into business because she was passionate about fabrics and crafts – she dared to follow her dreams and start a business doing what she loved but sadly, her shop was to be closed for the final time and where her story ended, Love Where You Live’s began. I feel passionately about our high street and we’ve designed Love Where You Live to be an extra layer of support, to help people to sell online so that they can keep doing what they love and help to keep our high streets alive. It’s grown beyond all of our expectations so far and we’ve got exciting plans for the future.
“One of the things people have loved the most is our ethos. We truly love local and being able to provide a platform which allows business owners to sell their products and produce to an ever-growing audience, at such a challenging time, is incredibly rewarding.”
LWYL is keen to highlight the impact of ‘shop local’ on the local community. For every £10 you spend with a local retailer, an additional £50 goes back into our local economy. That money is circulated locally and goes back to local restaurants, pubs and other retailers, helping our local communities to thrive.
And it’s good for the environment – shopping locally is more sustainable, helping to cut down on people’s carbon footprint. Gillian told us:
‘Another big reason for taking the leap and setting up Love Where You Live was because we have so many incredible businesses right here on our doorstep. Chances are, we don’t need to get products shipped from half way across the country – we just need to get better at helping people to find what’s right on our doorstep!’
Harriett Baldwin, MP for West Worcestershire, said: “The global pandemic has meant that many businesses have had to swiftly adapt to changing conditions and find new ways to reach their customers.
“As someone who encourages people to shop locally, I am so pleased to see more people able to get a shop-front online, even when they aren’t able to open their doors right now.
“The Chancellor outlined in the Budget how important it will be to help smaller businesses to benefit from the digital revolution and initiatives such as this play a crucial role in helping our own local entrepreneurs to compete with the global giants.”
Councillor Ken Pollock, Worcestershire County Council’s Cabinet Member with Responsibility for the Economy and Infrastructure, added:
“The past year has been incredibly difficult for many businesses in Worcestershire, and during this time we have seen such strength and resilience from our local business community. LWYL highlights the importance of supporting these hard-hit businesses by shopping locally, which is particularly important at the moment.”
Nicola Gossage runs Cake-Tastic, a thriving baking business near Droitwich and she was one of the first people to sign up, she told us:
“I love being part of LWYL, it brings together the best that Worcestershire has to offer, all under one roof. We are all passionate local business producers, trying to make life easier and provide a fantastic service for our Customers!”
Sarah Lalor runs a craft business from her home in Pershore and recently joined Love Where You Live:“Love Where You Live is a fantastic opportunity to support our local businesses, crafters and artisans alike, especially in these difficult times. I’m delighted to be involved in such an exciting venture!”