“You can grab a coffee, a haircut and a bike repair within a few steps of each other and many of these businesses are well established with great credentials!”

Trends alter, shopping habits differ, and town centres are forced to adapt. One area of Beeston that appears to have undergone significant transformation since the tram arrived, two decades ago this year, is the stretch of road leaving Beeston for its suburban neighbour Chilwell.

Chilwell Road can be a little overlooked. Partly because it’s in the opposite direction to the popular pedestrianised area and perhaps if you are coming from that direction and you alight at the interchange, you are more inclined keep heading in the same direction you were travelling, rather than going back on yourself.

If you were new to Beeston, you would be forgiven for thinking that the town ended at the interchange, but it doesn’t. There are around thirty independent business trading along the Chilwell Road corridor from Double Image Photography all the way down to The Garage Chilwell, if you include the pubs and restaurants.

You can grab a coffee, a haircut and a bike repair within a few steps of each other and many of these businesses are well established with great credentials! Also, let’s not forget that sweet spot on the corner of Cator Lane and the parade of shops opposite.

There is a cracking community vibe in the West End. Each unique business offers something different. Yellow Wood Café run a number of free and low-cost art and social events, as well as hosting a Crisis Café until recently – now moved to new premises at Nottinghamshire Mind further down at number 318.

Cycle Inn is one of the oldest independently owned cycle shops in Nottingham, you might remember it being Sid Standard until he retired in 2000, before all that tram shenanigans. If you need anything from a repair to a brand spanking new bicycle with guaranteed aftercare though, they are your guys!

One wonderful collaboration that happened just before I sat down to write this piece was the joining of two indie businesses. The Waste Less Shop created by Jess Leatherland in the front of Artworks (now closed) in the summer of 2019, can now be found as part of ford & guy – featured in our last issue.

Though the art materials side of the business has been retired altogether, we are pleased to hear that Will of Beeston Framers has taken over the picture framing service – conicidentally he pops up somewhere else in this issue!

Proof that thinking creatively can benefit all involved, Suzi’s sustainable ethos is what prompted her to consider they could together and saved Beeston from losing at least one of their valued businesses.

Sarah Kirby of Spruce Interiors, another independent business along this creative corridor, expressed her delight at how well indie businesses are being represented at this end of town.

So, if you are coming to town via the West End, why not get off the tram or bus a few stops earlier or use one of the two car parks by the church and the new Co-op.

Treat yourself to a different view of Beeston.

Spotlight on: Snuggles and Kisses

Many of you may be familiar with the smart frontage filled with cute clothing for little Beestonians, but did you know that business owner Rebecca Witham designs, sources the fabrics, designs and manufactures most of the clothing lines herself?

Becky opened her light and airy little boutique, Snuggles and Kisses in 2016 after a series of unfortunate and fortuitous events and is delighted to be celebrating her 8th birthday this June.

Despite 2020 forcing her to close her physical shop for a while, a strong online presence enabled her to adapt and ride that wave successfully until everything calmed down. Well, as calm as it can be for an entrepreneurial mum of two who runs her own business.

She tells me, she couldn’t juggle everything this entails without the support of her mother “Super Sue”, who now works part-time at the machine in the shop running up orders, as well as keeping an eye on the children on Saturdays. Sue was a trained seamstress and made her children’s clothes when they were young. She also taught Becky how to sew.

Becky started out by designing and making clothes for each of her children. The first items she were the bibs, hats and leggings in colourful printed fabrics. These caught the attention of other mums at the mother and baby groups she went to, so pretty soon she was running up regular orders on her dining room table.

With a degree in Fashion Design from NTU and ten years of industry experience, which took her to far flung places such as Hong Kong and Thailand, Becky felt confident that she could develop a range of children’s garments to sell locally. Her own children’s needs steered early ideas, so when her daughter needed a sun hat, she designed and made one. That was then added to the range.

Possessing an eye for good design, she put together a brochure and made items to order. Her understanding of fabric, colour, and how to grade up pattern sizes gave her both the skills and knowledge to expand her collection organically over time. She now stocks a range of sizes from newborns to teens, with adult sizes in her basic tees and sweatshirts custom printed at the shop.

She progressed from selling online to stocking a shop, when Natasha from Stash spotted her clothing approached her about stocking her womenswear boutique, which is where Snuggles and Kisses is now. This succeeded for a while but after a year or so Natasha told Becky that she was closing the shop.

A huge blow to Becky, for whom business was thriving, Natasha quickly turned this around by suggesting that Becky take on the lease. Worried about how she would manage running a shop with a three and six-year-old, initially she didn’t feel this would be possible. She also wondered how she would fill the space.

Neverthelss, she pondered the idea for a couple of weeks and found she couldn’t shake the feeling that it felt like the next step. Becky took over the lease as Natasha left. She offered her support to other local mums who made products for children, inviting them to extend her shop floor stock.

Popularity grew fast, and by the new year Becky found she was struggling to keep on top of orders and began looking for a machinist. She advertised and asked her mum a couple of times, as she had willingly helped out in the past. Sue wasn’t keen on the idea at first, but eventually Becky wore her down and she started machining in the shop in June 2017. Her eventual response, “let’s keep it a family business.”

Then more bad news came in 2019 when the owner of the building told her it was going on the market. Luckily, she managed to work out a way to buy it. The sale went through in January 2020, and by the first lockdown in March she was beginning to worry if she had made a huge error of judgment. Just as before, her adaptable nature and resilience saw her through.

Today the shop is well-put together and Becky keeps her shop floor and window displays fresh. There are many ready-made items that can be bought off the peg, as she keeps as many styles and sizes as possible on the rails. Can’t find what you are looking for? No problem as garments can be made to order. Becky also stocks cards, gifts, books and toys, including a fantastic range of retro toys and games from the eighties, a joyful bit of nostalgia for the parents.

The range is continually growing and I can vouch for the quick turnaround on custom orders. Becky tells me “We pride ourselves on managing to turn the sewing orders around in a few days; less than a week usually and sometimes even in 24 hours if we can fit it in.” Custom print orders usually take 2-3 days but can also be printed while you wait.

Website: 

Email: snugglesandkissesboutique@gmail.com

Facebook: 

Instagram: @‌snuggleskisses

DU