Independent Oxford is Two

 In Anna & Rosie, Indie Eateries, Indie Oxford Events, Inspiration, Launch

When Rosie and I sat down the other month to plan the year ahead we realised that at the end of March Independent Oxford turns two. How quickly have these two years gone!? And how much have we managed to jam into two years?!

We’ve enjoyed every minute for the project and hope that, through Independent Oxford, we’ve opened your eyes to the brilliant mix of indies in our beloved city. We also hope that we’ve made you (the indie business owners) feel part of a community that you can use to network, find support and reach out to people you might not otherwise have met.

So, to celebrate turning two I’m sharing some highlights from the last few years…

1. Our Launch

We received so much support and love for the project that day! There was free fizz, music from local artist Julia Meijer and we were absolutely chuffed when the Annie Sloan Shop offered to host for the night. We were even more delighted when over 100 people turned up – we knew at that point we’d struck a chord with Oxford and exciting times were ahead.

Two year’s ago this month we launch Independent Oxford at The Annie Sloan Shop

2. Instameets

We’ve always wanted Independent Oxford to build a community of indies and shoppers. So on June 28th 2015, with Natasha from Candy Pop and Cristina of @c.colli, we set out on our first ever Instameet. We had a brilliant day with a host of Oxford creatives, bloggers and business owners and we continue to do them – our next one is on 29th April so make sure you can join us! They’re open to everyone and we love seeing new faces. Check out #OxfordInstameet to see what we get up to…

The awesome bunch of people at our Instameet in July 2016

3. Christmas Markets

As if we hadn’t already planned enough with the directory, pop-ups and Instameets we thought it’d be a super idea to also host an Indie Oxford Christmas Market. So, a few months before Christmas 2015 we hot footed it down to Turl Street Kitchen and asked about hosting it there. With a resounding yes, we set about finding 18 willing indie businesses happy to tout their wares on the 28th November 2015. We got over 1500 people and it went so well we planned a second one on the 26th November 2016 at TSK and the Old Fire Station. We’re now planning 2017’s so watch this space…

sarahs home comforts

Indie Oxford Christmas Market 2016

4. Opportunities to meet new people

This isn’t specific to an occasion but it’s definitely a highlight of the project! I couldn’t even begin to count the number of interesting and brilliantly creative people we’ve met over the last few years and I’m so grateful for this. Instameets obviously feature highly here but we’ve also spread the indie word at launches, networking evenings, our own business meet ups and small gatherings. One particularly lovely occasion was when the wonderful Hannah of Jericho Studio Pottery invited us and Vicki of The Missing Bean over to see her studio and eat Barefoot cake. It was such a lovely evening chatting about creative projects, other indies and taking oh so many Instagram worthy snaps of her creations. Times like that make you really realise how much indie businesses have to give.

jericho-studio-pottery-cake

Tea and Cake at Hannah of Jericho Studio Pottery’s house

5. The Compendium

Our final highlight certainly follows on from the above… Last year Rosie and I got together with Becca and Jacqui of Bitten Oxford and we starting chatting about how we could promote indie eateries and shops together. One idea led to another and the Indie Oxford Compendium was born. As I write this, we’re at the final stages of putting together a beautifully printed guide to the best indie places to eat, drink and shop and we can’t wait until we can fully unveil the project to you towards the end of May. Keep your eyes peeled and ears to the ground…

So, there you have it, a selection of highlights from the first two years of Independent Oxford. We want to thank everyone who has supported us and come with us on the journey and we can’t wait for the next two. Oxford will change shape with the Westgate redevelopment but we know that with your support Oxford’s indie will still have their place on the shopping map and that they’re tough enough together to show Oxford’s shopper why it’s good to shop local.

We’d love to know your thoughts on Independent Oxford turning two. Use #IndieOxfordisTwo to show us new shops you’ve found and indie purchases you’ve made.

Much love,

Anna

P.S. if you run an indie business we’re having a little birthday party at our monthly business meet up (30th March) at Turl Street Kitchen. If you’re free between 6pm and 8pm please join us!

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