Entrepreneurs who took inspiration from a 1970s children’s TV show to set up a platform for swapping business services in Derbyshire have now expanded over the border into Nottinghamshire.
After the success of the Derby Swap Shop, which attracted more than 150 small businesses, freelancers and charities to trade free services during its first three months, the three small business owners who founded the retro-themed website have today launched the Notts Swap Shop.
Based on the Multi-Coloured Swap Shop children’s TV programme broadcast between 1976 and 1982 – in which children would exchange toys and collectors’ items – the Derby Swap Shop helped its members to survive and continue developing during Covid-19 lockdown.
More than 20 businesses signed up to the launch of the nottsswapshop.co.uk website, which is backed by East Midlands Chamber and features tradeable services including YouTube video editing, SEO optimisation guidance, video and photography services, paid social media advertising and website development support.
Rachel Hayward, managing director of bid-writing consultancy Ask the Chameleon and one of the Derby Swap Shop founders, said: “It was always our intention to expand the swap shop concept into our neighbours as we saw very quickly how positively the Derby community responded – and actually just how much the service was needed.
“Covid-19 has meant we needed to think differently, focusing on helping each other to get through this, and we’ve realised that an idea based on a TV programme from our childhood still has resonance now.”
Derby Swap Shop was launched in April by Rachel, sports apparel brand Huub’s founder Dean Jackson and the 4 partners of digital marketing agency think3, all East Midlands Chamber members who had been inspired by an idea from Safe and Sound Group CEO Tracy Harrison.
Last month, the shop was named as one of four shortlisted companies in the Midlands “entrepreneur for good” category at the Great British Entrepreneur Awards.
Notts Swap Shop, launched using Zoom today (12 August), is being championed by the Business & IP Centre Nottingham and Nottingham Community and Voluntary Service (NCVS).
Jules Sebelin, head of business development and deputy CEO at NCVS, said: “We are really excited to be part of the Notts Swap Shop. It will create an ecosystem of mutual support and skills-sharing between charities and small businesses that we haven’t been able to achieve before.
“Usually, charities are on the receiving end but, in this instance, they will also have valuable things to add to the swap.”
Ruth Hawley, libraries lead at the Business & IP Centre Nottingham, added: “Our aim is to support entrepreneurs and businesses at all stages, and we’re really excited about the potential for creating community in our city and county through Notts Swap Shop, enabling people to share their skills and knowledge and gain the support they need to help their businesses flourish.”
East Midlands Chamber president Dawn Edwards praised the swap shop concept.
“This is a very simple yet inspired idea that deserves the support of businesses in Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire,” she said.
“It’s fantastic to see businesses coming together to find ways of helping each other grow during what is a hugely challenging time for many.
“As well as a mechanism for local inter-trading, this may well be one answer to the cashflow issues faced by lots of small businesses.”
The Derby Swap Shop team is also searching for Leicestershire champions with a view to launching a similar service soon.
Rachel added: “Our thoughts are especially with Leicester and Leicestershire businesses and charities right now, and we are working as quickly as we can to bring the platform to those communities who need it the most.”
Anyone interested in helping to set up the Leicester Swap Shop can email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Picture caption: Faces of the Derby Swap Shop founders (front left to right), Dean Jackson, Rachel Hayward and Lee Marples, superimposed on the bodies of the Multi-Coloured Swap Shop TV show’s presenters, including original cast member John Craven at the back.