The day Bristol’s indie community came together

The day Bristol’s indie community came together

Indies-in-Bristol-Instagram- Platform - exampleIndies in Bristol Instagram – Photo credit from top left to bottom right: @gingeybites, @howkapow, @enchanted_bones, @luserking @yogabrunchclub, @bristolcolab.


The end of 2016 saw a big landmark for us: the launch of our inaugural event ‘Indies in Bristol’.

Ursula Hutchinson, Creative Director of Konichiwa launched the #actlocalbristol campaign in 2015 by creating a 30-minute documentary and has since soft-launched the well-received “Indies in Bristol” Instagram platform and social campaign.

“Indies in Bristol is a really simple online platform that captures the essence of all the vibrant, diverse businesses within the city, and our aim was to achieve the same with the event.” says Ursula.

We partnered with various Bristol initiatives and organisations to deliver an event featuring up to 60 independent businesses spread across the city. The event was supported by local currency Bristol Pound, local tech startup Ordoo, Bristol food reviewing site mmmyum, which champions independents, and local independent energy provider Bristol Energy, all of whom came together to celebrate independents in the city and create even closer connections between customers, the city and independent businesses of all kinds.


Photo by Michael Keane

The Trail

The event unfolded from the main hub of The Old Fire Station Courtyard in the city centre, where a central traders’ market of gifts, street food and a bar was based.

To make the event truly city-wide, independent businesses joined together all over Bristol through an interactive trail map that guided people to explore undiscovered businesses in the city (as well as Bristol favourites) through activities, workshops and interactive challenges. Some of the businesses taking part included The Bluebird Tea Co, CoLAB, Pinkmans Bakery and The Bristol Cheesemonger, 25A Old Market and various destinations including Gloucester Road, Old Market, Park Street, St Nicks Market and Bristol Shopping Quarter. Find businesses involved in the campaign here.

Screen Shot 2017-01-09 at 17.11.18Photo by @enchanted_bones / Featuring items from Indies trail

Visitors picked up the Indies in Bristol “passport” at the front gate of the Old Fire Station, which entitled them to special offers from participating businesses on the day. To encourage people to explore the trail, businesses stamped visitors’ passports, allowing them to claim free drinks and food back at The Station courtyard, whilst they explored.


Courtyard Activities

As you walked into The Old Fire Station Courtyard, you could hear ambient beats being played from resident Eat.Drink.Dance DJ’s filling the courtyard with warming vibes – which was needed on such a cold day!

Close by you could spot a mural in the making, put together by Bristol-based illustrator Dave Bain. Dave created a piece which depicts the love Bristol has for its indies and the ecosystem of our local currency, the Bristol Pound.

photo 4indies (34)Photo credit:  Michael Keane and Darren Hales.


Right next to the mural was a vibrant market of some of Bristol’s local makers and artisans curated by Bristol Bazaar, including Tezla Designs, Friday Lawrence, Lazy Jellyfish, Rosie McLay Art, Neat Frontage, Crafty Creature Studio, Gingerbeard Preserves, Mr Tea’s Teas, Not Too Shabby, Indiga Ethnik, My Make and Do, Luna Lotus, Espensen Spirit and Zaytoun.


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indies (91)

Photo credit:  Michael Keane and Darren Hales.

Whilst attendees exchanged Bristol Pounds for sterling, they also enjoyed a very unique atmosphere with a diverse set up of artists, makers, artisans and food stands who created an awesome mix full with support to our local startups, space for creativity and networking and the possibility to discover and explore our independent business community. All of this, while listening to a live DJ set and enjoying great food and drinks from our street-food lineup.

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indies (92)Photo credit: Michael Keane and Darren Hales



The street-food lineup was curated in collaboration with Bristol Eats street-food collective, who provided an amazing array from traders including Ah Mah’s, The Pickled Brisket, Smoke Catering, Moorish, Gopal’s Curry Shack, Scoff & Relish, Sri-Licious & more.

The bar, in collaboration with The Bristol Beer Factory, was supplying their infamous ‘Bristletoe’ and other options in bottle and keg, as people queued for the awaited boozy hot-cocktails, with most ingredients sourced from local suppliers.


photo 3indies (40)Photo Credit: Darren Hales

 _DSC2224Photo Credit: Michael Keane


Workshops & Talks

The Kitchen cafe, adjoining the courtyard, featured a workshops and talks programme curated by Konichiwa.

Building on Konichiwa’s recent ‘How To Start’ events, the talks and workshops aimed to create a platform to give prospective entrepreneurs or start-ups a chance to learn from their favourite local businesses first-hand and get behind-the-scenes insights.

A panel of five local food businesses came together to for the ‘How To Start A Food Business’ event, including Alex from East Bristol Bakery, Navina from Coconut Chilli, and street-food traders Gopals Curry Shack.


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Photos Credit: Michael Keane


As the daylight drew to a close people chatted while cosying up over a night market with early evening drinks, DJs, street food and a fire-pit.

After reflecting on what was a busy, but exciting day, we felt pleased with the connections made and the vibrancy that the businesses involved brought to the event, on Small Business Saturday. We felt that we achieved our objectives in bringing together the Bristol community (on one of the coldest days of the year!) to celebrate the unique independent culture we have in our city!

After speaking to the attendees, it was great to hear that some managed to experience the variety of activities that there were on offer, including; discussions, discovering new businesses, eating delicious local street-food and meeting the initiatives who help keep the independent culture thriving.

Thank you to all that came along to help celebrate the beginning of something which we hope will become a central hub for Bristol independents, keeping our city’s culture, diversity and entrepreneurs alive!


Plans for 2017

We want to keep connecting and discovering startups and independent business in Bristol, so we are planning various events for the year ahead…

Every Monday, we will be hosting a weekly online chat on Twitter where we can share ideas and discuss how to support our local businesses. Just follow us on Twitter at 9pm search for the hashtag #actlocalbristolchat and join the conversation!

We are also planning a series of events with the aim to create a platform for small businesses owners, prospective founders, customers and creatives to get together over a social evening. They will have a chance to be invited into the premises of a local business, with an introduction from various business owners, telling their story about their journey and how they started up. Stay posted here.

Finally, we are really excited to announce a monthly contest via Instagram, where you can follow a mini trail to discover independent spots through different areas of the city with the possibility of winning some free goodies and discounts. More info coming very soon!

To receive updates about our next events you can sign up to the Indies in Bristol newsletter  or follow us on Instagram


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