This Saturday 7 December marks Small Business Saturday. Four of Salford’s top small businesses gave some insight on what it’s like to run a small business in the city.
SACO Superfoods sells their products online with an office based in MediaCityUK, Salford. Lucia Ndongala, who is co-owner of the business, said: “We have launched a promotion so we’ll be offering 20 per cent off to customers all weekend for Small Business Saturday.”
She has been running the business in Salford with her husband, Franck, since February 2016.
She said: “We were actually very pleasantly surprised with the amount of support we have been getting. Not only have we received a lot of support from international organisations but also the customers. Particularly for the kind of products we are bringing.
“We feel that people are more eager to use natural ingredients but also to support the small businesses who make the effort to create something here.”
SACO Superfoods trade internationally using natural products from the Ivory Coast while aiming to improve the livelihood of small-scale producers. Lucia said that they have received huge supports from big organisations like the Chamber of Commerce and the Department of International Trade.
The company sells a selection of all-natural superfoods like dried mango, ginger flakes, Hibiscus flowers and Baobab powder.
Campaigns like Small Business Saturday are beneficial to Salford’s smaller companies. Lucia said: “It allows us to reach a bigger audience and then on top of that it helps us feel part of a bigger community. Working as a small business or entrepreneur can feel a bit isolating so it makes a big difference.”
She added: “We are just three years old so we are now in the process of getting out of the start-up phase and into the growing phase which is exciting but challenging. We’ve been in this small office for three years but in February we plan to move to our own unit.”
White Bunny Naturals
White Bunny Naturals is a Salford-based company providing unique vegan products who will be celebrating Small Business Saturday this weekend.
Derrick Schultz, Director of Operations, said: “We do like Small Business Saturday. I like that it is near Black Friday, so it is a reminder about localism for businesses.
“We started selling in September 2017 but were incorporated in July 2017. We aren’t a traditional brick and mortar shop though, which has given us a lot of flexibility.”
White Bunny Naturals is an online shop, with a business location in Salford. The company sells vegan products like lip-balm, Beeswax Blocks which can be used to waterproof and protect materials, and the Gardener’s Balm which nourishes and moisturises skin. They found out about Small Business Saturday through social media.
Derrick said that it can be difficult for small businesses to compete, especially at some of Salford’s local markets.
He said: “The markets tend to curate a bit but we do face competition there. Another factor is big event companies like the Makers Market they tend to profit off the small businesses trying to find a place to sell and it doesn’t always pay off.
“They run the market at the Lowry, which we did in September 2017. We paid £90 for 2 days and had one sale of £12 over the 2 days, so they didn’t help our small business in the beginning.”
He said that White Bunny Naturals will be at a Monton Market on 14 December and have previously taken part in markets in Worsley.
Derrick added: “The markets are full of small traders with great quality items. Though I recommend trying to find the smaller, more local Artisan markets over the bigger ones like the Manchester Christmas Markets.”
Salford Sling & Meet
Samantha Groves started the group Salford Sling & Meet, a non-profit organisation that provides baby slings for new mothers, as well as support for them. She said: “We are very much community-based, so we’re there to support mums through the first few months up into preschool-hood. We do have a lot more than just the slings base of our business.
She had mixed opinions about whether Salford was a welcoming area for small businesses. She said: “I think the access to aid for small businesses is quite hard to find in Salford. We only found out about funding applications and things like that a couple of years into running the group.”
Although it has become easier for small businesses with the increase in the use of social media, Samantha said.
She said that campaigns like Small Business Saturday are essential in helping people remember their local companies.
“There’s a lot more people that are running businesses on their own. So the campaign’s really helped get out there that there are people working on their own, that are doing everything on their own. There’s a lot of pressure, social pressure to get things right, and legally as well.”
Salford Sling & Meet run up to three sessions a week in various areas of the city.
Arythan Jewellery is all a one-of-a-kind jewellery online shop, which is all handmade by Ellanor Aquitaine.
With Small Business Saturday falling around the Christmas season, Ellanor thinks it’s an important time to highlight small businesses. She said: “It’s always good to promote that people think about local businesses and shopping ethically as well.”
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Originally from Plymouth, Ellanor has found the community in Salford very different to where she used to live.
“I think there’s definitely more of an active community of creatives and small business owners as well, so there’s definitely a lot more support. And there’s a lot more events to attend in Salford and around Manchester because it’s in such close proximity to Manchester, that’s really good.”
She has also found support in Salford Museum and Art Gallery, who have regularly pop-ups for small and independent businesses.
Ellanor added: “I think anything which promotes small businesses is definitely helpful. I think it’s becoming more common for young people and older people as well to actually start their own business and branch out.
“Small businesses need all the help they can get.”
The Small Business Saturday campaign bus recently visited MediaCityUK on Friday 1 December. The event helped to gather local businesses and community leaders.
Michelle Ovens MBE, Director of Small Business Saturday, said: “Earlier in the campaign the Small Business Saturday bus visited MediaCityUK, an inspiring example of how areas can be regenerated with the right planning and a community mindset. It is an area that has thrived not just because of the media presence, but thanks to its impressive small businesses; from restaurants and bars to tech start-ups and production companies, that have given a new lease of life to Salford Quays.”
It is an area that was built for UK media but has thrived thanks to its impressive small businesses; from restaurants and bars to tech start-ups and production companies, that have given a new lease of life to Salford Quays.”
She added: “Small Business Saturday is a campaign that celebrates our small business heroes – a day to celebrate the work they do in their communities, and we have seen the long-term results with record numbers spent on Small Business Saturday each year. “