Shop local: ‘Use ‘em or lose ‘em,’ says Hackney shop owner on Independent stores
- Credit: Holly Chant
A Hackney clothes shop owner is asking people to shop locally this year or risk losing the “wonderful” independent businesses which make Hackney unique.
Dee O’Connell founded The Brokedown Palace in 2012, starting out with a little wooden cabin on the banks of the River Lea.
Eight years on - after several incarnations as an online shop, Boxpark container store and pop-up in Spitalfields market - Dee’s business now supplies ethical outdoor clothing, equipment and accessories from its flagship store in Shoreditch High Street.
She said this year has been a “roller-coaster” with sales “hugely down” compared to last year.
“It’s been incredibly difficult and stressful, but we’ve also been super grateful for the support we’ve received from customers, our suppliers, the East End Trades Guild, and Hackney Council,” the shop owner added.
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The independent outdoor retailer stocks brands that its owner believes are ethical, sustainable and made to last.
Since starting the business Dee says she has “never” experienced anything like the coronviarus pandemic in terms of its impact on income.
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She added that the second coronavirus lockdown, which has meant non-essential shops have been forced to close until December 2, will be very tough as her shop is mainly a “physical store based business”.
Her store, like many businesses in the borough are more reliant than ever on people shopping local online.
Dee told customers: “Thank you for your support, it means so much to us.
“Please support your local indies, they need it more than ever right now.
“We have so many wonderful independent shops in Hackney. Use ‘em or lose ‘em.”
The Brokedown Palace employs six members of staff and Dee says the business has survived the crisis with help from suppliers by cutting costs “as much as possible”.
The business was not eligible for a government grant as its ratable value was just above the threshold required.
Her businesses logo pays homage to the cabin where it all started and The Brokedown Palace shares its name with a song by Grateful Dead about being by the waterside.