Hitting back at big businesses

Fashion team picture (from left to right): Lisa from 'Sister', Helen from 'Squirts', Lauren from 'Studio 557' and Francesca from 'Choola'. Henry and Orla from 'House of W' and Becky from 'Kuji'
Fashion team picture (from left to right): Lisa from 'Sister', Helen from 'Squirts', Lauren from 'Studio 557' and Francesca from 'Choola'. Henry and Orla from 'House of W' and Becky from 'Kuji'
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Ecclesall Road entrepreneurs putting on a united front

FASHION boutiques in the Ecclesall Road area of Sheffield are joining forces - to battle against the big-name stores for business.

The shops have formed an alliance so rather than competing for customers against one another, they are putting on a united front instead.

Helen Connelly, owner of Squirts designer childrenswear, said: “Sheffield has long been known for its independent business, but also for its quirky little shops all over the city.

“But on Ecclesall Road alone, one of the most popular boutique areas, there are now four of the largest supermarket names with a fifth planned in the New Year.”

Helen said statistics show every £1 spent with local suppliers is worth £1.76 to the local economy, in comparison to 36p if it is spent in a chain store.

But rising rents and parking restrictions are hampering independent stores’ survival, said Helen.

“Many local business are beginning to question whether there will be any room for unique businesses in a few years’ time.”

On September 15 - dubbed Independents Day - shop-owners from Squirts, wedding boutique Choola, and womenswear stores Sister, Charlie, and Sharrowvale Road boutique Ivory are staging a fashion show for 150 women at Ecclesall Road bar Studio 557.

Hair demonstrations from House of W, and a masterclass in flower arranging from Flora, will be staged and profits will go to Sheffield charities The Cavendish Centre and Cash4Kids.

There will be a raffle with prizes from independent shops, restaurants and boutiques from the S11 area, and a free booklet filled with exclusive Sheffield offers.

Helen said: “The Cavendish Centre means a lot to me. I was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer 11 years ago and had my adrenal gland and a large malignant tumour removed.”

Helen has since had two tumours removed and was helped with counselling and relaxation sessions at The Cavendish Centre.

“I wanted to organise a really fun and positive event to remind people that S11 continues to provide a vibrant, unique shopping experience - and I also wanted to do something to raise money for The Cavendish Centre and Cash 4 Kids.”

“We have plans in the future for more events that reflect Sheffield’s united front.”

Tickets are £12, from Squirts, Choola, Sister or Ivory or by calling event co-ordinator Laura on 0114 267 6766.