Colourful campaign to protect Stokey’s magic
Small businesses have joined forces to safeguard the future of independent shops, restaurants and cafes in Stoke Newington with a marketing campaign, a new website and a series of events.
Keen to protect the future of independents amidst rising rents and a shift towards online shopping, their colourful ‘See you in Stokey’ campaign aims to sell the whole area and the experiences it has to offer.
Heidi Early of the newly-formed Stoke Newington Business Association, said: “See You in Stokey is our battle cry! It’s the roar of some amazing traders who are determined to keep Stoke Newington colourful, creative and characterful. We realised that by working together independents are stronger and can harness the support of our community and attract new people to the area.”
Central to the campaign is the launch of Seeyouinstokey.com, a website packed with events, interesting facts, local history and a guide to the area’s stunning nature reserves. It includes news articles about the small businesses and characters that make Stokey special. The site was commissioned by the Business Association and built by The Local Buyers Club, the team behind London’s shop-local card.
Stoke Newington (or Stokey as its affectionately nicknamed locally) is home to Abney Park, one of London’s Magnificent Seven cemeteries and it’s bordered by Woodberry Wetlands, a stunning nature reserve, which was opened by Sir David Attenborough. It’s also home to the world’s best Irish pub (outside of Ireland!).
The Business Association has also teamed up with the Guardian cartoonist Henny Beaumont to host the Invisible People Art Trail – a two-week exhibition of artwork by people who feel marginalised. It will occupy shop windows and wall space inside local businesses.
The eye-catching brand for See you in Stokey was the work of local business Rude Studios. Campaign posters have been displayed all over the neighbourhood. There’s even talk of bringing back Stoke Fest – a festival, which in its heyday drew thousands of people to the area. And more big events are planned later in the year.
The pandemic had a huge impact on shopping habits in the UK. According to research by law firm TLT, online food shopping increased by 94%, online purchasing of homeware by 64% and fashion and beauty buying online increased 32%.
Kate Revere, of SNBA, added: “The role of small businesses has evolved. It isn’t enough to stock nice products and price them competitively, now we have to be great at marketing too. It starts with building a strong social media presence but here in Stokey we’ve realised we have to do even more – we have to sell the whole area and the experience of coming here and for that to work small businesses need to collaborate.”
Funding for SeeyouinStokey.com, a series of local events and the marketing drive came from Hackney Council’s High Streets and Town Centres fund and will be funded on-going by the businesses.