Hi, Hannah, Tell us a little about yourself and your blog…
I’m Hannah, my background is in dressmaking and sewing but currently working 2 part time jobs and running my blog in my spare time. I like to do a bit of everything, all of the time! I got into blogging when I was running my dressmaking business a few years ago but last August I decided to set up Barnsley Fashion Creatives and it has grown in strengths since.
We talk to businesses in the fashion industry, share creative exhibitions, conduct interviews, organise collaborations, share small business tips and more. We like to spotlight these amazing people and get them in touch with others if they need help, like if they need a photographer for their shoot.
How did you start out?
I set up my blog because I wanted to stay in the loop of the fashion scene after I couldn’t do my dressmaking due to time restrictions. It keeps me networked and creative all of the time which I love. I have no background in writing or journalism so it is something I am learning as I go along but I always try to keep the blog visual as they can talk more than the words!
Can you give a few examples of the shops you’ve featured?
I have featured many local fashion business from womenswear, menswear, accessories and more. There’s a lot of handmade business here in Barnsley, as well as boutiques that import stock from around the world. There are many businesses that based in the town centre such as Nomad Atelier, Moo Designs, The Gallery, and Oo La La. However there’s so many more in the surrounding villages like Junction 36 Boutique, Serendipity, S.E. Unique Designs and Pink Boutique.
Which article are you most proud of?
Last year, just as I had begun my blog, one of Barnsley’s most beautiful and iconic buildings went up in flames. The Barnsley British Co-Operative Society building (it’s last use was as the Chicago Rock club) had to be knocked down due to how damaged it was and this sparked a journey that I hadn’t intended to go down but I enjoyed so much when learning the history of this building.
When it was the Co-Operative, it had a great fashion department and I found all these old photos on the internet from the 50’s and 60’s. I then received an invite from the Barnsley Archives to go and see the original photos from the Co-operative. It was amazing seeing all these photographs over the decades and how it evolved over the years. They also showed me many other things about fashion that they had from the years. I had 2 blog posts about the BBCS and they had hundreds of hits in the first month and I’m still getting viewings on it now.
The Barnsley British Co-Operative Society. Photo Credit: Experience Barnsley
Are you excited about the future of Barnsley?
I am yes but also apprehensive due to all of the new building work going on in the town centre. I hope I am proved wrong. That everyone benefits from the re-generation of Barnsley and that both high street shops and independent shops gain a lot from it all. It’s great to see new independents opening but they still need more support from the public.
What tips do you have for small businesses?
My main tip is to constantly push your business, never settle and become complacent. Always be advertising both online and offline to attract more customers. Experiment in different ways, don’t always go for the obvious routes as they can become outdated or non-benefiting to your business. Keep your business fresh and up to date with current trends (not just fashion trends!). Always strive to get people’s attention.
How do the social, economic, environmental, technological, legal and political environments impact your writing?
They always impact me and always will do. Keeping up with the current news is vastly important to make sure I’m on topic, I always have my ears pricked up in case there’s something happening that’s related to my blog, that I can share with my readers. Social and Technological topics probably crop most often for me and my blog but I try and put a fashion twist on it to keep it in the same theme.
How do think Barnsley council can help our shop owners?
I don’t think they do enough to help small businesses, it’s partly why I set up the blog. I think there’s numerous ways they could help but even just doing a couple could really benefit them, like lowering business rates, or free advertising for small shops, or giving them cheaper rent rates for town centre units (council owned or encouraging private commercial units). From my visit to the Barnsley Archives last year, I found out about an event that was run every year in the town centre called the Barnsley Shopping Carnival, where all shops would get involved with a month long shopping event, shop window display competitions, a combined effort in offers, discounts and events and much more. Can you imagine if the council still did this today? It would make Barnsley a hub of excitement.
What are your plans for the future?
I want to continue to grow the blog’s reach and make the Barnsley public more aware of fashion happenings. I would love to organise more collaborations, photo-shoots, interviews and find more people that need to be spotlighted.
Do you think Barnsley is Brill?