Interviews

Rosie Jacobs – Blogging, Shopping Locally & Running Your Own Business During Covid-19

Helena Nuttall

Having studied at Oxford Brookes University I got to know the Oxford very well, and with the help of Independent Oxford which enabled me to find (via Instagram) smaller, more independent shops and cafes to try . I’m so excited to have one of the founders on The Notable to tell us about her business and the importance of shopping locally.

Rosie Jacobs

Hi! I’m Rosie Jacobs, the co-founder and director of Independent Oxford. My co-founder Anna and I started Independent Oxford in 2015, as we feel strongly about the benefits of shopping locally, and creating a community for indies to get support. We both run indies ourselves and felt a real need for this, so thought others would too!

We have a real focus on our vision to provide an authentic, highly engaging and dependable platform for the public to discover the brilliant members we have across Oxfordshire, and share our mission to create real social change by showing the value of buying local. We’re really passionate about encouraging people to invest in their local economy and community, and I think more than ever, people see the value there. Each Indie Oxford member helps us to realise our mission, and supports our work to put the local economy on the map.

One of the positive effects from the pandemic is that it’s really thrown the importance of neighbourhoods and local communities into the spotlight, and the invaluable role of independent businesses as part of that landscape. They have provided free school meals, food parcels for vulnerable people and support for NHS workers.

Running your own business is one the hardest things you can do. You have to be able to take on, and manage many roles. On top of that, you need to have the will power and character to deal with the ups and downs of business ownership, to learn from mistakes and turn them into opportunities. Ultimately, you need to have the energy to keep going, and through Independent Oxford we wanted to create a community that would help businesses do just that.

What does your job entail on a day-to-day?

Pre Covid, we had a lot of in person meetings, events and visits to indies. Since the pandemic, we’ve had to switch to everything being online, but the core of what we do stays the same. We are constantly working on new blog content to show how and why shopping locally is important, promoting our members, and working with local stakeholders to raise the profile of independent businesses in Oxfordshire.

How have you stayed motivated to keep creating content through Covid-19?

I think everyone has found it difficult to stay creative during the lockdowns, however I have found that doing things like going for a run or journaling are great ways to tap into new ideas and keep the momentum up. Often it’s when you’re concentrating on something else that inspiration strikes!

Do you have any advice for aspiring bloggers?

Yes two things. Research and reach out. Really make sure you know your niche, and are passionate about it. Think about your values, and what’s important to you. If you’re writing content that you feel you ‘should’ do it’ll come across like that. Write about what fires you up, and it’ll strike a chord with others too. Secondly, don’t be scared to reach out to people for advice or for an interview, start with why you’d like to talk to them and why they’re inspiring (everyone loves a compliment!)

 #LoveIndieOxford challenge:

The idea is that we challenge Oxfordshire residents to only shop locally for 14 days in February, and ask them to share their finds and journey with us. We will be playing along too to share our experiences and tips to inspire people to get involved.

If you would like to take part, here’s how:

  • Explore local alternatives for regular purchases (e.g. veg boxes, farmers markets, bakeries, coffee roasters and butchers instead of supermarkets)
  • No purchases from large internet providers
  • Discover the local businesses that make up your community
  • Use #LoveIndieOxford on socials to tell us how you’re getting on with the challenge (please see graphic attached to use)

The idea is to get more people to think about shopping local, something that more than ever, people have seen the value of.

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