The origins of Independent Retailer Month by @MissNolcha (Kerry Bannigan) #Indieretail

As a business platform to advance independent fashion designers and retailers, Nolcha, is continually thinking of creative ways to support and promote these companies. Retailers attending our fashion week events in New York and London would share that one of their largest obstacles was drawing in traffic to the store as well as finding affordable marketing and promotions for their retail locations. 

Engaging the local community with retail business owners

I conceived the idea of creating a collaborative effort that would be city wide and engage the local community with the retail business owners. With our experience focusing on the fashion industry it made sense for us to take this sector for our first approach. Independent Retail Week: New York was born 2009 with the aim to drive business and provide brand awareness for independent retailers via a week-long city wide shopping extravaganza for fashion and beauty lovers.

Independent Retail Week received tremendous support from government organizations…

Due to the success of Independent Retail Week in New York City it expanded to Chicago and Philadelphia. The mission to help lift the local economy by further accelerating consumer spending while celebrating the diversity of the fashion retail scene received tremendous support from government organizations, mayor’s office, media and influential community figures.

A reputable platform to reach thousands of consumers via a week-long, city-wide shopping spree

The initiative offered independent retailers a reputable platform to reach thousands of consumers via a week-long, city-wide shopping spree and increase brand awareness. Nolcha created initiatives and programs to promote local fashion boutiques to help grow their brands, as well as encourage the city to buy local.  They provided an idea bank for events and co-hosted activities with select retailers. Consumers were invited to enjoy exclusive promotions, discounts and in-store events ranging from trunk shows, style consultancy and cocktail parties.

Connecting with Tom Shay’s National Independent Retailer Week & joining forces to focus on ALL Independent Retailing…

In 2010 opened the concept to all independent retail businesses in the town and this intrigued me to explore beyond fashion retail. Simultaneously I was following Tom Shay’s work of National Independent Retailer Week. We connected and decided to join forces and focus on all independent retailing, regardless of what products they sold. Tom and I wanted to be inclusive of everyone that had some form of recognition for independent retailing in the hope that Independent Retailer Month would be become the umbrella for all.

Independent Retailer Month was “born” in 2011 to take place, annually, in July

Independent Retailer Month was created early 2011 to take place July 2011 with the vision to encourage consumers to celebrate their favorite independent retailers, to support independent retailers to increase brand awareness and sales; and to encourage the suppliers and all those who service the independent retail sector to spread the word. It is a collaborative effort to celebrate independent retailers; with the goal to go globally over time.

Global Expansion – Appointing Clare Rayner, The Retail Champion, as official UK partner

The expansion to UK with The Retail Champion as a partner was a fantastic step in the right direction and one that we plan to grow on next year. It is wonderful to have the support of a smart, driven and enthusiastic retail expert that is keen to take our vision to another country and push for the recognition of independent retailers.

So here we are, about to see the first Independent Retailer Month come to a close. Here is to the growth and continued celebration of independent retailers.

This blog was written by Kerry Bannigan | Nolcha – Advancing Independent Fashion – 350 Fifth Avenue, 59th Floor | New York, NY, 10118 | P. 888.665.2421 | F. 646.808.3113 | W.
Check out Connecting Savvy Shoppers to Independent Designers & Retailers, Worldwide


About Clare Bailey

Clare Bailey, The Retail Champion (formerly Clare Rayner), is one of the most well-known and respected retail experts in the UK. With unrivalled knowledge in retail, high streets and consumer matters, she offers unbiased, independent content – whether engaged as a professional speaker, for broadcast media, or for a written feature. Clare is a business woman, entrepreneur and founder of several small businesses. Having been born into a family of successful business owners, it was inevitable that she’d eventually jump off the corporate treadmill and step out on her own! Today her brand portfolio includes The Retail Champion, The Retail Conference, the Future High Street Summit and the Support for Independent Retail campaign. In addition, she is co-founder of Mobaro Retail UK and a non-exec director of Beed Virtual Assistant Services. Having started her career as a fast-track store management trainee for McDonalds, she went on to work with leading retailers such as M&S, Dixons and Argos. She moved swiftly into management roles before being headhunted into senior consulting roles with global software giant SAP, and international management consulting brand, Accenture. Her corporate background in senior retail, consulting and technology roles, coupled with her experience of creating and running her own business, has enabled her to be equally capable whether consulting to global brands or micro businesses. This unique blend has not only positioned her as a leading expert in all things retail, but has enabled her to add meaningful commentary and insight to the debate around the future of the high street, and, how technology is driving fundamental change in the way consumers, and businesses, interact. Clare has become an influential voice in her field, which has resulted in her becoming a regular media contributor and sought-after conference speaker. Often seen on Good Morning Britain, BBC Breakfast, Sky News, and Chanel 5 (to name a few), Clare speaks on a myriad of retail, high street and consumer issues – but is particular adept when it comes to explaining the context behind retail trading results, newly released data, and government stats, in a palatable and informative manner. In addition to broadcast and conference speaking, Clare is the proud author of two best-selling business books published by Kogan Page - The Retail Champion: 10 Steps to Retail Success, published July 2012 and How to Sell to Retail: The Secrets of Getting Your Product to Market, published February 2013. She has provided contributions to various academic texts, including Retail Marketing Management (published by Pearson). With an engaging, conversational yet informative style, Clare writes for press and content agencies, providing features, articles, blogs and opinion pieces as well as contributions to white papers and reports. However, when the situation demands a more serious style, Clare can deliver - In 2016 she wrote an extensive report for a major insurance and risk law firm, as a retail expert witness, to support a public liability suit. She found that project particularly enjoyable as it played well to her strengths – assimilating large amounts of data and information, identifying the key points and articulating that in an understandable manner. When not on TV or speaking at conferences, Clare’s “day job” sees her supporting consumer-facing businesses through her consultancy services. When asked to describe what she most loves about retail consulting it is typically the opportunity to “dig deep”, getting “under the bonnet”, in order to leverage the business data to uncover the insights that lead to “lightbulb moments”. She also loves working on business change programmes that centre on improving the processes and systems to increase profitability by supporting more rapid, better informed decision making, improving the customer experience, or simply by become more efficient and streamlined. In this respect she considers herself a “business engineer” with a brain that works like a relational database! Due to her years of experience, her logical, objective approach, her quick, rational thinking, she is known for being able to cut through complexity, seeing right through to the crux of issues, finding creative solutions that others may have overlooked. As if all that wasn’t enough, Clare is a working mum, juggling a home life in rural Lincolnshire with her partner, their 5 kids, 4 cats, and geriatric Labrador! For all enquiries, contact Clare directly on 01727 238890 or email
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