Small Business Spotlight on…Children’s Bookshop

Nicola took over the shop six years ago when the previous owners retired.

Reminiscent of sneakily reading under the duvet at night with a torch, we shone our Spotlight on Children’s Bookshop in Lindley and the lovely Nicola!

Can you introduce your business in 10 words or less?
Children’s Bookshop, Lindley, books for newborn to teen.

How long has your business been running, and what drove you to start it?
The bookshop has been in existence for 46 years. I have only been running it for 6 of those. My background is in business and accounting with reading as a major hobby. When my children started school, I wanted a part-time job and started working at the bookshop. I was a frequent visitor to the bookshop as a child bookworm and took my nieces and then my own children to choose books there, so it was the perfect job for me. When the previous owner wanted to retire, we couldn’t let it disappear, Lindley just wouldn’t be the same without the Children’s Bookshop, so we took over in 2015.

Where is your business based, and what led you to choose to be based there?
We are based in Lindley, Huddersfield which has lots of other independent shops and is also close to the M62 junction which makes it easily accessible from other parts of Yorkshire and beyond. There are some lovely cafés and restaurants in Lindley as well as clothes shops, beauty salons, specialist wine and beer shops which makes it worth a visit.

What are your most popular items/services? Why do you think this is popular with customers?
Books (obviously) and also games and jigsaws. Reading hasn’t gone out of fashion despite the efforts of technology! Reading is relaxing, it helps your brain unwind which television or social media doesn’t, it helps us slow down; it is a nice thing to do with your children; stories are great to lose yourself in and forget the outside world; they can be educational; they are key in developing emotional resilience. Also they aren’t plastic (mostly) which is important to lots of people.

Do you have any employees?
We are a team of 4, all part-time, all over 50, all women. It keeps us out of mischief!

What’s your favourite job/task that you do as part of your business, and why?
Talking to a reader and matching them with a book, especially if they are not keen on reading, even better when they come back and say they really enjoyed it. I have had people hug me because their child has got into reading after a visit to the shop. I also love hosting school and nursery visits, chatting to the children about books and reading to them. It’s very satisfying to engage with young people and inspire them to read and learn.

What impact has the pandemic/lockdown had on your business? Would you carry on with any of your new ways of working even when things are back to normal?
We had to move to a delivery service initially. Cycling and walking around the local area certainly kept me fit! We offered “surprise packages”, children received a wrapped present through the post to cheer them up, we sent them all over the country. We also did events with authors and storytelling online, we hosted an event with a children’s author from the USA which was very exciting and someone we wouldn’t have connected with otherwise. Some things we will continue, but there is nothing quite like being with people and we would much rather host events in schools and in the shop.

The bookshop has been running for 46 years, serving generations of children!

Where do you see yourself/your business in 5 years?
Still on Lindley’s high street, still stocking fabulous books and if any opportunities come to develop, making the most of them.
I will still be reading regardless of what happens!

What piece of advice would you give to someone thinking of starting their own business?
Research thoroughly – your business model, the location, the competition, the market. Get as much advice as you can (and not from friends, they will find it really hard to be objective!).

Anything else you’d like to add?
Please come and visit us we would love to meet you and talk books. If you are a teacher, we can work with you to find the right books for your class and school, please get in touch.

The shop is on social media: Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Children’s Bookshop will be taking part in the Love Lindley Christmas Shopping evening on December 7th!

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