Independent Retailer Month: Lola & SiDney

To celebrate Independent Retailer Month, with the help of our partners SumUp we’re spending July highlighting some incredible independent retail entrepreneurs.

SumUp helps small businesses to get paid, whether they’re starting up or leveling up, supporting entrepreneurs to make their business ‘oOOooficial’.

Business name: Lola & SiDney
Founded by: Phil Austin, Kevin Cheesman
Launched in: June 2015
You can find them: The medieval town of Rye and online at lolaandsidney.com

Named after two very special house rabbits, Lola & SiDney sells kitsch, quirky and vintage items for people and their homes. Its first store opened in Tooting in London in 2015 before relocating to Rye in East Sussex in 2018.

When did you switch the business from a hobby or side hustle into an oOOoofficial business?

In May 2015, we noticed a ‘for rent’ sign in an empty shop window. Suddenly the dream of having our own shop seemed a reality. It seemed the perfect way to curb Phil’s hobby of filling the house with quirky curiosities. We visited the shop the next day and immediately said ‘Yes!’. We signed the lease and got the keys the same week and we started pulling up the carpets and false-ceiling of the former estate agency.

What are your hopes for the business post-Covid?

Being in Rye, the town is steeped in history and only an hour from London. Every road or footpath is an Instagram moment! This and the fact Rye boost two stunning beaches has helped footfall along the independent retailer lined high street. Post-covid, we hope the desire to visit smaller towns over larger cities, continues.

What’s the best thing about being an independent retailer?

Being able to react fast without the weight of a larger company and other decision makers. When lockdown was announced before Christmas, we instantly changed our window from a theatrical Christmas set to more product based, allowing for click and collect from passers by.

Being a small business, how have you benefitted from digital transformation?

On a busy Saturday, we can see up to 500 people a day, which would have made find the time to go sell online very tricky. The first lockdown allowed us to go online, adding around 1000 items! SumUp is always adding new features, and the product quick buttons has saved time when customers are paying for popular items.