holywell street oxford

What is Independent Oxford?

Independent Oxford is a project that supports, promotes and champions the independent businesses of Oxfordshire. Set up three years ago, we shout about the plethora of Oxford’s great independents to locals and visitors. Whether they are shops, bars, restaurants or places to stay, these indies make this city just as rich, as interesting and as unique as its world famous, University centric history.

Why support indie?

Oxford’s indies (and all indies!) reflect the places we live, our cultures and our interests and they make us different. We want people to know the alternatives to the identikit nationwide high street stores and make considered, well-meaning purchases that last.

Through supporting independents you’re supporting the local economy and the money you spend at an independent directly helps support that person’s livelihood. You’re also supporting crafts people, experts in their fields and people who care absolutely 100% about what and why they’re doing it.
There are great businesses just down the road that will greet you by name, and online shops that will deliver your order by bike and at a time that’s convenient to you. We want you to discover them!

How is Independent Oxford helping? 

First and foremost by telling you about them! Our directory is a comprehensive, ever growing list of hundreds of indies in Oxford and the surrounding areas. Start exploring by category or just browse to discover your new favourite shop! Through the directory, the blog and social media we’re telling the stories behind these indies and the people who brought them in to being.

As well as this, Independent Oxford has built a community of independents who swap details and ideas, encourage each other to take new paths and support each other through what came sometimes be a lonely profession.

What’s next then? 

This project is born out of our passion for Oxford and for supporting our indies. It is by no means finished and is constantly evolving – we’ve got plenty of things in the pipeline so follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, and join our mailing list for the latest updates. You can so join us on our journey by telling us about your latest purchases. Just use #IndieOxford. The more we shop independent, the more we add colour, variation and individuality to our lives.

Who are we?

Anna Munday

Why Independent Oxford?

While working as Marketing Manager for the Old Fire Station a number of years ago, I noticed a gap for a one-stop website that told people about the independents in Oxford and community to match. In other cities, there’s a “quarter” or “lanes” and a clear group that supports each other. But in Oxford it’s spread out and therefore even more important to encourage sharing and networking. Enter Independent Oxford… If indies are to succeed, why not do it together?

Though my various jobs over the years I’ve also seen that there’s a need to constantly adapt what you offer. In today’s fast paced society, people and businesses need to diversify and I truly love seeing how indie businesses do that through varying their offer, throwing kooky events into the mix or changing up the way they communicate with their customers. That’s what makes this project so special – we’re constantly working with creative, enthusiastic people, who wouldn’t want that?

Favourite Shop?

I’m a big fan of Fairtrade at St Michaels’s at the moment. I love their friendly team and the fact they’re tucked away just off Cornmarket means you feel like you’ve found your own little treasure trove of beautiful items. Definitely worth a look! I also recently went to Silvie for one of the infamous cinnamon buns. All I need to say is YUM!

What are you up to when you’re not Independent Oxford-ing?

By day I’m the Venue Marketing Manager at Oxford University Event Venues overseeing a fabulous team who run 100’s of events each year. By night and weekend, you’ll find me discovering new places to eat, visiting National Trust houses, day tripping or planning new travels and getting stuck into a good book… Oh, and reigning some of Rosie’s crazy plans!

Rosie Jacobs

Why Independent Oxford?

After 15 years working in the retail industry working for multiple retailers and corporate brands, and becoming frustrated with the homogenisation of the industry, I decided to quit my job and set up my own businesses, A Rosie Life, a lifestyle store where everything’s Rosie! I love collaborating with other independents to share space, create new products and put on awesome events.

I’m very passionate about Independent Oxford, it means that by creating a slick and stylish online directory and organising events in Oxford, we can support local businesses and designers by giving them a platform to reach a wider audience, and create a support network with other businesses; ultimately helping to make Oxford a destination for indie shopping.

Favourite Shop?

I love the colourful baskets in Exclusive Roots, the gorgeous house plants at the Annie Sloan Shop and a delicious black americano at The Missing Bean.

What are you up to when you’re not Independent Oxford-ing?

I am not a very still person so I’m always on the go! I am always coming up with new ideas for A Rosie Life and Independent Oxford (Anna has to reign me in!) and love that they are such a big part of my life. My key skills have always been business planning, trend forecasting, product development and market analysis, and I love working with small businesses to help them achieve their goals.

When I’m not busy with all things indie, I love cycling around Oxford, reading, crocheting, and curling up with our cats Tom and Allen.

Rianna Low

Why Independent Oxford?

There are so many talented shop owners with unique products out there but sometimes we just never hear about them, they can be off the beaten track or online and we might never know they exist. That’s why I was so excited about getting involved with Independent Oxford and promoting and celebrating all the fabulous indies in the city!

Favourite Shop?

I love wandering around The Covered Market and perusing all the unique stores and products, grabbing something delicious from IScream on route! I also absolutely love Mamma Mia and heading to Ultimate Picture Palace for some snacks, a little drink and a great film!

What are you up to when you’re not independent Oxford-ing?

As well as working freelance in a marketing capacity, I’m also a graphic designer and run my own business, Jampuppy Design Studio. This means I get to work on a range of really fun and interesting design projects for a variety of other organisations and clients too. I’m also developing my own product range currently, which will include stationary, homewares and wall art, all created using exclusive Jampuppy designs, so it’s a really exciting time! I also love history, reading, film noir, eating in (exploring new recipes) and eating out (exploring new eateries!) and, of course, spending days strolling around Oxford!

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