In Conversation With... Big Little Brands' Harry Norris
Harry is the founder of Big Little Brands: a brand new online marketplace full of incredible businesses. It was a delight to speak to him about the joys of small businesses and what goes on behind the scenes at BLB. We hope you enjoy our first 'in conversation with'.
Welcome Harry! Can you tell us a little bit more about what Big Little Brands is?
Yes, of course! Big Little Brands is an online marketplace that partners with small and sustainable businesses. I have personally collated my favourite products and then listed them all on our website to make it super quick and simple for anyone to find them!
What an incredible (and much needed) way to share small businesses. What is the ethos behind BLB?
Our ethos is incredibly simple, we think small and sustainable are the two most important words in retail (and I’ll apologise now for how many times I say them in this interview).
Everything we sell on our marketplace has been made sustainably and I believe this absolutely has to be the way the fashion industry moves forward. Sustainability shouldn’t be special, it shouldn’t be this lauded thing that big businesses get praised for when they bring out their sustainable ranges. It shouldn’t be a choice. If small businesses like the ones on BLB can do it then so can everyone else, and actually, that brings me on to my second point which is the absolute beauty that is small businesses. Wow, just wow. These guys are amazing. Shopping small is an experience like no other and it is always worth it. I know I might be slightly biased but half the reason why BLB exists is that I really recognised the value of small businesses, and honestly they never seem to get the credit they deserve. Most of these guys work another full-time job yet still manage to produce clothing that is the same quality (if not better) of all big retailers, PLUS they do it all sustainably. The value of the customer to a small business is 10x more important than when you shop at a big high street vendor. Jeff Bezos isn’t going to be jumping for joy every time you place an order but I guarantee you the owner of a small business will. And look out for the note of thanks they will send you - heartfelt and handwritten because they really, really value your business.
Yes, every single order brightens up my day! Something that is so special about BLB is that each brand is handpicked by you, can you tell us about that process?
Well, its a long process… but also great fun and incredibly rewarding..!
It all started when I found a few small businesses (like Sacha Beee) on Instagram and I immediately fell in love and wanted to find more so I could shop from them all! That's when I decided I would put them all onto one website so I could shop them all really quickly and easily without having to open up every tab and go through that payment process over and over again. Once I had spoken to the brands I already knew about I wanted to expand the options a customer would have, so I went out onto the big wide world of Instagram and did some exploring. When it comes to shopping sustainably trust plays a huge role in that, so I wanted to make sure I was the one that approached vendors when I was happy with their business model and approach.
Well, that makes total sense - what a great idea! What is your favourite thing about shopping small?
Ah well, I feel like I may have already answered this in one of the previous questions but I can ramble on about small businesses for days... I think honestly my favourite thing about small businesses (besides the customer experience) is actually the individuality of the products. From the logos to the designs and from the print to the embroidery, there is something really special about wearing something that not many other people in the world will have. Plus, there’s a real connection you get from wearing a product from a small business. I think part of why I fell in love with small businesses is because when you do buy from them, you feel such a personal connection to the owner that you almost feel it's your duty now to go and show them off and promote them with pride. It’s almost as if, when you buy from a small business and you use or wear their products, you become part of the business itself, and that’s definitely not something you’ll find anywhere else.
I completely agree, shopping small is such a personal experience. This is just the start of your journey so what can we expect to see next from Big Little Brands?
Big things hopefully! I think our priority right now is to continue to improve on our high level of customer service, especially since we represent small businesses that are so good at this themselves. Getting some more brands onboard is also obviously very important to me. I think the more brands and products we have then the better the customer experience will ultimately be, and we really want to become that one-stop-shop to find everything that you could possibly want. Another aim is to obviously grow as a company and really get a big audience going - I really do believe that people would love what we do if only they knew we existed, so getting them to notice us is a real priority at the moment!
How exciting! We can't wait to see BLB grow and develop. Thank you for your time Harry.