Whether you need a new pair of shoes, a tailor-made suit, a homemade cake or legal advice, the thriving independent community is booming, and we want to encourage you to show your support too.
In this edition, we are featuring Liv’s – an independent, family business based in Mill Lane, Mell Square. Named after its Norwegian founder, Liv’s sell original, distinctive and on-trend homewares and quality furniture.
We had a chat with Liv’s about what makes them unique and what it’s really like to be an independent businesses in Solihull.
What does your independent business do?
We sell homewares and furniture which you wouldn’t necessarily find on the high street from larger stores selling interiors products. We buy from a range of suppliers and countries – we are always on the hunt to find quirky, cool original pieces that offer our customers something unexpected and different.
What’s unique about your business?
I think what’s unique about our shop is the atmosphere and experience. All of the team take great care to ensure attention to detail, from selecting music for our shop playlists, styling our stock, and generally just making the customer experience as welcoming and wonderful as possible. You’ll also find that the products we offer are pretty unique compared to what you might find elsewhere. We also always make sure that our products are offered at a surprisingly reasonable price – it means that stylish homewares are accessible to a range of customers with various budgets.
How long have you been trading in Solihull?
We have been trading in Solihull since 2012. After moving from a smaller shop at Hatton Country World.
What’s the best thing about trading in Solihull?
We are lucky to have a really strong sense of community in Solihull, and really enjoy seeing many regular and loyal customers. Our customers are so friendly, and they are passionate about supporting us as an independent retailer. We also have some wonderful neighbouring retailers who create a warm and inclusive community. There's a fantastic network of businesses in Solihull like Solihull BID who help in case of an emergency to keep the town safe.
What obstacles do you face as an independent business?
The obstacles we face are mainly tied into high rent and rates. Online retailers don't have these overheads and as a result the High Street is put under threat – which is sad. The High Street is really important, as it instils a sense of belonging and union amongst the local people. Although we don't have the buying power of some retail giants, we do have flexibility and full understanding of every nook and cranny of our business.
How important is it to have a close knit team to support your ideas and ambitions as an independent business?
To us, it is incredibly important to have a close knit team to support our ideas and ambitions – we rely on our team to bring our vision to life, whether that is via an amazingly styled window or a super friendly delivery and construction service when we are in customers’ homes. Because we are an independent business, we get to personally choose the people that work here – so every one of our team are all very passionate about our brand and do whatever it takes to get the job done. We can be very agile, so we encourage new thinking and ideas and the team can see those ideas in action quickly which is really satisfying. It might sound cliché but we all chip in and help one another – we are one big happy shop family!
What exciting things does your business have lined up for 2019?
We have lots of exciting new things to look forward to for the rest of 2019! We plan on continuing to grow our online presence and bring our customers valuable and inspiring content. We also have some revamp plans up our sleeves for the shop, we love to change things up regularly to keep the shop exciting and captivating for our customers but 2019 will see more significant changes – so watch this space! We will also continue to feather our community nest by offering more amazing workshops and collaborating with other small independent businesses.
What is your advice for people planning a house makeover?
Have fun with it and try not to get stressed out. From early on, create mood boards and inspirational collections on Pinterest, make a list of the non negotiable investment items like a stunning painting, a handsome occasional chair or some beautifully handmade industrial furniture, that way you can ensure that you prioritise your budget on the things that make you smile and enhance those items with cheaper accessories which are easy to switch out and change around. Things that make you happy will tell your story, whether that’s through sentimental treasures or finds from your travels. Keep your sense of humour, look for things that make you smile, and most importantly – follow your heart.
Are there any particular new items or trends that people should be looking out for?
Yes absolutely! Throughout 2019, we will see more of a luxe vibe in interiors, sumptuous textures, earthy colours and bold prints will all feature– maximalism at its best! Following our most recent buying trip to Paris in January you’ll be sure to see some pieces online and in store that reflect these trends.