Eastwood's hidden business owners urge more residents to 'shop small'

After a difficult 18 months, the high street is finally beginning to thrive again – with residents eagerly getting out and about to revisit their favourite shops.

Friday, 17th September 2021, 4:12 pm
Charlotte Clark, of Forever Irregular, is encouraging Eastwood folk to support small businesses.

But most people won’t realise that Eastwood town centre is also home to a ‘hidden hub’ – filled with a range of new local start-up businesses of all kinds.

Who would ever expect that the space above Muirfield Property Services is in fact home to a sweet factory, jewellery maker, seamstress, artist and nail technician?

Day in, day out, these business owners put their hearts and souls into making and selling their products and are now hoping to encourage more local people to support them.

Abigail Cerepovicius (left) runs her small business Sweetie Sisters from the Eastwood hub.

"We want more people to know we are here,” said Charlotte Clark, who runs her business Forever Irregular from the hub in Nottingham Road.

“But because there are no signs outside it’s hard to spread the word.”

Charlotte, who lives on Chewton Street, has been running her online business from home for three years but branched out into the office space in June this year.

The 34-year-old sells crystals, jewellery, homeware, wax melts and bath bombs among other unique items. Customers can shop for items using the Forever Irregular website and then opt to ‘click and collect’ them from the Eastwood hub.

The company packages all of its sweets from the offices above Muirfields estate agents on Nottingham Road.

Charlotte saw her business boom during lockdown as more people shopped online.

She said: "Because shops were shut last year and I was based online, my profits went through the roof – I couldn’t keep up. But now the shops have opened again, things don’t seem to be as good as they were.

"I think the big thing at the minute is to remind people to shop small rather than always going for the big stores or brands.”

The mum-of-three, who makes her own jewellery, showcases her products at local fairs and events as well as online.

Lesley, aka 'the sewing lady', of Crafty Bee Workshops.

“I wish more people knew about all the small businesses the town has to offer," she added.

“As small shops are only usually run by one person, a lot of effort goes in 24 hours a day and they are a lifeline for us to make a living and feed our kids.”

Charlotte shares the office space with many other local businesses, including fun new venture Sweetie Sisters.

The company’s warehouse comprises of three rooms jam-packed full of all kinds of sweets, which Charlotte described as like “walking into something from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory”.

Sweetie Sisters is an ultra-local business initiative run by sisters Abigail Cerepovicius and Joanne Berry. The pair currently take orders via a Facebook group but are soon looking to expand with a website.

They sell a range of pic’n’mix style sweet packages, along with a range of American favourites and British classics.

Abigail said the business was originally her young daughter’s idea.

“She loves Halloween you see,” the 34-year-old said.

“And she was gutted when she couldn’t go trick or treating so she asked me for sweets. We ended up buying all these huge tubs with the aim of giving some out to charity – and that’s how the business was born.”

Abigail, who has lived in Eastwood all of her life, is also urging more people to “shop as small as possible”.

"I love this building because it’s home to so many great little businesses,” she said.

“We’re quite close knit and it’s nice we can all help each other as we grow.

“We’re working on getting a sign outside to let more people know what’s in here – cus at the moment I think people think it’s just flats. Then we’d like to have some sort of open days where people can come and see us and have a browse.

“If we can get more people knowing that we’re here then that would just be fantastic. It’s important to support the businesses that are on your doorstep.”

Renovating the space into offices was the brainchild of building owner and Newthorpe resident Lisa Palmer, whose aim was to help small businesses in the area to thrive.

"I really didn’t want to let it to just one big company – I wanted to create affordable office space,” she said.

“I knew during lockdown that a lot of people started up their own businesses from home and were outgrowing the space they had.

“It’s now blossomed into a lovely little hub and I’m really pleased with it. For me, it’s all about seeing little businesses moving forward.”

The building is also home to Crafty Bee Workshops, which offers sewing courses and alterations as well as a range of handmade items; The Nail Shack and Newland Art and Design.

All of the businesses are planning to hold stalls outside in the car park during the Eastwood Christmas Lights Switch On event, which is set to take place at the end of November.

For more information about the businesses featured or to check out their products, visit their websites here: