Story behind a High Street Hero

Every year, the Small Awards celebrate the smallest and greatest firms in the UK. Maybugs, which is a family owned, independent gift and homeware retailer in East Sussex won the ‘High Street Hero’ award, sponsored by TSB, at this year’s Small Awards. Co-founder Greg Rose tells us more about the journey so far.

  1. Tell us about your business, Maybugs

Maybugs was founded in October 2018, when we opened our first shop in Hailsham, East Sussex. My co-founder John has a customer service background and I have a retail buying background. So we thought, why not open our own fabulous gift shop selling ‘beautiful things for fabulous people’? Since then, we have expanded two more stores – one store in Eastbourne and one in Bexhill on Sea. We now proudly sell some of the most popular brands on the high street, such as Jellycat and Wrendale Designs. We also employ two members of staff to maintain and develop our website, enabling us to deliver our products across the UK.

  1. What was the thinking behind setting up Maybugs?

We strongly feel that small businesses can only be successful if the town or high street around you is successful too, so our ethos revolves around investing in the communities we serve. Over the years, we have proudly sponsored numerous charities and community events, including Hailsham Hockey Club, Eastbourne Pride, and Bexhill Community Carnival. Giving back to the community is a really important aspect of what we do.

This summer, we are launching our very own Maybugs Market, which is specifically designed to support local artisans by providing them with a free space to sell their goods on our premises. We were fortunate to receive lots of opportunities when we started out, and we want to pay it forward to other people who want to start up their own businesses.

Alongside offering stall space, we will provide advice on starting a business and our own insights into what customers and retailers truly want. We’d love to see more local independent shops in our towns succeed, and believe this is the perfect springboard to help others venture into the exciting realms of starting their own company.

  1. You recently won an award at the Small Awards. Tell us about that.

Winning the ‘High Street Hero’ category at the Small Awards is something we are over the moon about! We really do work tirelessly to ensure the very best for our customers, staff and community and we are very proud to have been recognised for such a prestigious award.

  1. What advice would you give other people thinking about setting up their own business?

If we were to offer advice to anyone wanting to start up their own business, we’d say “Go for it!” Having our own business has been incredibly rewarding for us. We are part of several thriving local communities and have an amazing team who support what we do. We’ve had so many opportunities and are incredibly proud of what we have achieved.

  1. Sum up your business in three words.

Fabulous. Community. Evolutionary.

The Small Awards are organised by Small Business Britain, which champions, inspires and accelerates the nation’s 5.5 million small firms.