Explore The Archive

View all available events here, new events will be added soon.

Inspiring Entrepreneurs: High street heroes


High streets are the beating heart of our local communities. Having a presence on the high street gives businesses a unique opportunity to connect with their customers, and the responsibility to meet their needs as these change and evolve. What additional service could you offer to those who interact with your brand in person? What extra impact could you generate by sharing your spaces with neighbours and fellow makers?

We have brought together a panel of three loved and respected local businesses, our high street heroes. Their founders will share practical tips through their inspiring stories and tell us more about their individual journeys.

Mary Otumahana, award-winning musician and founder of The RecordShop; a grassroots independent organisation based in Wood Green, that focuses on making an impact with a multipurpose music space located on the high street. By providing access to a recording studio and music career training, Mary is leading a mission to educate, inform and inspire inner-city youths to connect to their community through music.Hellen Stirling-Baker, founder of children’s store, Small Stuff, has led her business from an experimental pop-up shop to a successful, eco-friendly bricks and clicks model at the heart of her high street in Crookes, Sheffield. A perfect example that being a small shop doesn’t mean you can’t have big values; Hellen is a local leader who champions ethical suppliers and supports other retailers, often sharing her shop for community-building events. Hellen is the deserved winner of this year’s High Street Hero for the Small Awards 2022.Carolynn Bain, founder of Afori Books, the first Black-owned bookshop in Brighton. Carolynn almost did the opposite of most during the pandemic; inspired to stock only Black authors in response to the rise of the Black Lives Matter movement, she started her business as an online shop. Demand was so high however, that Afrori Books was approached to open a physical bookshop in Lighthouse, a local Arts-based charity, with fit-out costs successfully crowdfunded.

We are running this event with the British Independent Retailers Association (BIRA) who are also champions of high street businesses and are here to help, all year round.