Online shopping can help revitalise the high street

Mary Portas’s review of the future of our high streets highlights that online shopping has contributed to the demise of town centres.

But the work we have done with Makerhood shows that online sites can also help revitalise interest in buying locally.

Makerhood market stall
Photo by Andy Broomfield

Launched in July 2011, helps shoppers in Brixton and nearby areas of south London find local makers and producers.

Our website currently lists more than 540 items from local makers, ranging from biscuits and greetings cards to T-shirts, prints and bedside cabinets. Prices start at 80p for a Brixton postcard and go up to £1,400 for a piece of wall art.

But Makerhood is about more than selling online. We worked with the Brixton Market Traders Federation (BMTF) to help set up the monthly Brixton Makers’ Market on the second Saturday of every month. The success of this has encouraged the BMTF to launch themed markets on other Saturdays.

And Makerhood has collaborated with other venues in Brixton too, including:

  • an exhibition of Makerhood artists at the Lounge
  • a sell-out local makers’ forum at the Living Bar, offering business advice from experts in markets and small design businesses to help their makers establish sustainable business practices
  • pop-up stalls in Brixton Village in the run-up to Christmas.
Makerhood makers forum
Photo by Andy Broomfield

These events all contribute to the revitalisation of Brixton town centre and its reputation as a creative hub of south London.

Kristina Glushkova of Makerhood says: “Small creative businesses often can’t afford a high-street shop, especially when they’re just starting up. As well as offering them an opportunity to sell online, we’ve helped set up the monthly Makers’ Market and pop-up stalls in Brixton Village.

Photo by Andy Broomfield

“There’s a real creative buzz around Brixton at the moment and we’re proud that we’ve done our bit to help put it on the map.”

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