Independent Retailer Month: Mallory Journals

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: Mallory Journals
Founded by: Sharon Highway
Launched in: 2011
You can find them: Online at Etsy and British Craft House

Mallory Journals makes handbound journals from leather and cork. Each leather journal is lined a selection of beautiful papers, including maps for travel journals. As well as the extensive range of designs and styles, 50% of sales come from custom, personalised journals.

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

In 2012 when my son was 7, my husband was diagnosed with an aggressive brain tumour, so the business took a back seat for around 18 months. Once he was more stable and family life started to settle, I began to develop my ideas and progress designs, using different kinds of paper etc, a lot of trial and error. Around 2015 I started to attend local arts and crafts Events, which boosted my profile locally.  

What are your hopes for the business post-Covid?

In late 2019 when the British Craft House launched I opened a Shop almost immediately. Post Covid, I will be continually striving to improve my shop with the fantastic help and support of Susan Bonner (founder) and the amazing Hub of which all sellers can choose to belong. The Hub is a place where advice and encouragement are readily available.  We learn from each other, but also through a library of resources which are step-by-step and kept up to date as the site develops.  
I hope to get back to physical events as soon as possible. I am very choosy about the events I do, preferring the larger art fairs/exhibitions which are held over a few days. I have a few lined up for the remainder of 2021, but we will see if they do actually go ahead. Fingers crossed. 

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

I am my own boss and it is easy for me to mould my work around my family needs. I can decide what I do when. I also love that I make Journals exactly as my customers want. That gives me great pleasure. 

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

Since 2011, digital business has changed a lot. Smart phones for one, where apps are the norm, make life so much easier and I am able to run my business when away from home. Social Media has developed significantly too in that time, allowing small businesses to advertise to a wide audience. And having a card machine at events became a must-have and now with COVID will become even more important to small businesses like me.