Because indies are us!
Think about it for a few seconds and you’ll soon realise that you know at least one independent business (we call them ‘indies’). Maybe a family member is a local builder or a friend of yours runs a hairdressing salon?
Indies are at the heart of our local community
Running restaurants, accountancy practices, design companies, firms of solicitors.
They sell stuff: fruit and veg, antiques, meat, computers, fish.
They make stuff: furniture, clothes, pottery, cushions.
They fix things: cars, gardens, houses, even sore backs!
When you think about it indies are everywhere. And that’s a very good thing because as well as being crucial members of our local community they are also vital to the local economy.
Indies are often a lot more careful about where they source things than the big corporates are. They often use recyclable or reusable packaging, buy from local producers and use ‘green’ transport for deliveries.
When you spend money with an indie the money goes towards running their business but also towards running their home and family. Plus they are very likely to spend their cash in the local area, probably with other indies.
This is very different to what happens to the money you spend online or with the big ‘publicly-owned’ chains. Their main objective it ‘delivering shareholder value’. So they do everything they can to keep their costs down eg forcing suppliers to reduce prices and paying staff the minimum they can get away with. All of which helps them generate huge cash surpluses which end up in the bank accounts of people who are already rich and very probably do not live around here!
The more indies we have, the more character our City has – who wants to live in a clone-town full of sheep who buy what big business tells them to?
A bit about us two
We are Steve Linford and Anne Beamish – the founders of Indie Cambridge. As long-term residents of the city and avid indie supporters, you can imagine our dismay and anger when, in 2010, a think tank voted Cambridge ‘number one clone town’. In its report ‘Reimagining the High Street’, The New Economics Foundation called the city centre a ‘clone zone’ – with a ‘bland and homogenous offering’. Although this may have been true in some areas of Cambridge, we wanted to prove that it was only part of the story. Alongside the usual chain stores and overbearing corporates there were fantastic indies – doing things their own way and doing them extremely well.
So, in 2012 we formed our own indie – Indie Cambridge. We were on a mission to celebrate the beautiful diversity which is unique to the local indie scene and create a community of indie people who could share the journey.
So much has changed since then! The internet has seen off a few of the corporates and created opportunities for agile indies and of course Covid has affected, and continues to affect, the whole of society and commerce. The indie community has responded brilliantly because it is part of the local fabric and perfectly placed to help others.
What we do
There are two main strands to our role. The first is helping indies present themselves as well as they possibly can so that the way they look matches the quality of what they do. This is crucial in today’s commercial environment where buying decisions are made in seconds, often in response to visual cues. The second is providing resources to help indies improve their business skills through IndieKnowHow.
We are a membership organisation and all our members are independently-owned businesses or individuals in the Cambridgeshire area. We publish The Indie magazine and this fully-searchable website. We are in the process of setting up IndieKnowHow to share skills and knowledge resources to help indies thrive and grow in an ever-changing business environment.
In our travels we have discovered many fantastic indie people and businesses across the city and beyond. Our membership now includes highly-skilled technicians and tradespeople, top-tier business and professional services and talented craftspeople and artists. Not to mention a fabulous selection of shops, restaurants, cafes, bars, galleries and hotels.
Beginning our journey ten years ago as passionate indie supporters, we seem to have become just a little bit obsessed!