retail rocks
the cotsw

Welcome to the first issue of Retail Rocks, the online magazine created for retailers of all sizes. In the magazine we look at a number of aspects that we believe go into making the industry thrive. Why are we doing this?

With the current state of retail - some businesses doing well, some not so well - the finger is often pointed at online shopping, high rates and lack of parking when sales aren't great. However these issues are long term and Rock the Cotswolds wanted to help right now so asked for advice that we could offer retailers today to make the industry rock even further.

Therefore in this issue we are delighted to get the views of retail experts from all over the UK including Eric Musgrave, formerly at Drapers and now Editor of bira, (British Independent Retailers Association) and Sarah Phadre Watson, local journalist, BBC presenter and a high street pundit. We talk to Amy Hobson from renowned social media agency SocialB, who supported the VISA campaign for the Great British High Street, and we get top tips from sales expert Jeremy Blake who looks at how shops can exceed selling expectations this season.

We embrace social media in this issue, sometimes overlooked by smaller retailers, and in particular we focus on the impact of social listening by talking to Polly Barnfield OBE, creator of Maybe* and highlight one of their many success stories with Sophie Scarrott at Keith Scarrott. For those considering expanding or adjusting the layout of their stores, we get great advice from Gemma Brindley, from Crowe UK who looks at tax allowances and claims for retailers looking at new builds, refurbishments and fit outs.

Will McCallum, Head of Oceans at Greenpeace UK discusses a number of ways that independent retailers can help reduce the war on plastic. Embracing enterpreurism, we talked to Paul Williamson at Hillside Brewery along with Matt Barr and Katie Jones from the University of Gloucestershire whose students are preparing an e-marketing campaign for the business. Last but not least we catch up with Lisa Watson one of the interiors designers for John Lewis & Partners to find out more about her latest project and to get her advice on creating a space that offers a great consumer experience, whatever size of retailer.

The aim of Retail Rocks is simply to share information with local retailers so we can work together and continue to show the rest of the world that the Cotswolds is a fantastic place to live, work and most definitely shop.

A big thank you to our sponsors listed below, their belief in the industry and subsequent support of the magazine has meant it is free to read for all. Another huge thank you to one of our fave Rockers: award-winning body artist Mona Turnbull and her muse Verity Millett for our cover photo and the one above, as anyone who follows Rock the Cotswolds knows, we are big fans of those two.

If you have any feedback or areas you'd like covered in future issues please don't hesitate to get in touch at


Melissa Ormiston


Retail Rocks the Cotswolds

What is Rock the Cotswolds?

Rock the Cotswolds is a not-for-profit campaign. It was launched in 2014 by Oli Christie, Nicky Godding and Melissa Ormiston to challenge popular misconceptions of the area as simply rolling vistas and pretty villages.

While great for tourism, this picture overlooks the region’s many world-leading businesses, including retailers, which offer ambitious young and skilled people a great work/life balance. We all know there’s as much going on across Gloucestershire and Oxfordshire as in London and you just need to know where to look.

Rock the Cotswolds regularly reveals new people and businesses who are making their mark across the Cotswolds. Called Rock the Cotswolds’ Rockers, over 200 are profiled and showcased every month on

Massive thanks to the supporters of Retail Rocks online magazine including: