North East Independent stores need your support this Black Friday

In the midst of Black Friday sales, independent shops can be forgotten about but the Just A Card campaign have been helping to get the smaller names out there.

While there are huge cuts on some high street and online stores, we must remember to support small businesses especially as the high street continues to deteriorate.

Just A Card, an online organisation set up to encourage members of the public to purchase from independent stores – even if it is ‘just a card’, created a 5 day Instagram challenge as part of their ‘Indie Week’ over the Black Friday period which many business have been taking part in.

Indie Week took place between November 19 and November 23 and the idea was to get businesses and buyers to work together to spread the message to shop independent at this time of year.

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HAPPY INDIE FRIDAY! Let's drown the Black Friday madness with our HUGE celebration of Artists, Makers, independent shops & small businesses! Use our hashtag #justacard to promote you work, your special offers, your Christmas stock, or your favourite shops etc. Be LOUD – Be PROUD! Tell the world what makes YOU special – Don't be shy! You're AMAZING and the world needs to know! Remember to ALWAYS tag @justacard too so everyone can find out about the campaign and join our INDEPENDENT REVOLUTION! JUST A CARD Warriors – get your shop/car window stickers, join our mailing list (on our website to be the first to hear when the super popular JAC pins are back in stock. THANK YOU for all you've done to make this an EXTRAORDINARY week – what a build up! We will take time to look back at all your incredible images/posts, once we've had some ZZZzzzz's! In the meantime please BUY from an independent shop/artist/maker/small business TODAY – tell them we sent you! Remember to enter the FANTASTIC @fundingcircleuk competition too! If you've had a fun week and you're with us today then please write HAPPY INDIE FRIDAY in comments below! HOORAY FOR YOU!! . . N.B HAVE YOU MET?! superstar to be announced later today!! . #justacard #wemakecollective #makersformakers #wearethemakers #supportthemakers #capturemycraft #sharinghandmadejoy #prettycreativestyle #buyfolk #prettycreativelife #seekinspirecreate #thebesthandmade #thenativecreative #modernmaker #handmadeisbest

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The Instagram challenge allowed indie stores to show off their creativity by completing a task each day from Monday to Friday. On Monday they were to write 10 facts about themselves. On Tuesday the were to create an image using the logo to spread the message. On Wednesday they shared their favourite indie shops and businesses. On Thursday they could share their plans for upcoming events such as fairs and shows. Finally on Indie Friday, they could promote their work to battle against Black Friday. They were also encouraged to use #justacard and to tag the Just A Card Instagram page.

This Social Media challenge has allowed local businesses in the North East to showcase their work recently.

Sophy Nixon, an Illustrator, Pet Portraitist and Art Tutor based in Durham doesn’t just sell cards. She also sells brooches, stickers and badges inspired by animals to accessorise any outfit. These could make perfect Christmas gifts.

Sophy chose to take part in the challenge. She said: “I found out about the #justacardcampaign earlier this year and I was very excited to get involved in the Instagram challenges, especially the Indie Week challenge because it helps to spread the word about independent businesspeople who make creative, good quality and unique products. It’s recently becoming a struggle for everyone – small businesses and the larger retail chain stores with the high street being under threat.

I really love the #justacardcampaign because it creates awareness to the general public, who perhaps haven’t considered buying from independents before. I believe it’s time for us all to reconsider the way we shop and look towards small independents because they really care about what they do! I love reading the stories during the Indie Week instachallenge because you learn about other small businesspeople and realise we’re all in this together.”

Here at Fashion North, we have created an info map with our top picks of local independent stores where you could shop in person rather than online this weekend. Check it out below.

With more and more people becoming aware of Just A Card and their ideas through social media and articles, the team behind the organisation believe they are being successful in promoting the supporting of indie stores

Kate Marsden, a blogger, supporter and team member at Just A Card said: “We know from our experience with the Just A Card campaign over the last few years that those who hear our message really do “get” it. By promoting the campaign through events like Just A Card Indie Week, we help to spread the message beyond the bubble of designer-makers and independent shopkeepers, out to the buying public – those who have the power to really make a difference. Shops who have our Just A Card window stickers, and who display our posters comment that people read them and then go in to purchase something when otherwise they would have walked on by, so it definitely works.

“Independent businesses find it impossible to compete with the big brands on Black Friday, so we’re really aiming to make people think differently about their purchases all year and not only this weekend and on the run-up to Christmas. Once Just A Card Indie Week is over we’ll continue shouting about the campaign as we always do, via social media, our blog and in the press.”

You can help to support Just A Card by joining them on Twitter and Instagram and by purchasing their pins and stickers which help to raise vital funds for their volunteer-led campaign.


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