WHEN Kaylie Holloway decided to start her own business a month ago she knew she would have to get the message out.
But when she began pounding the pavements around Portsmouth, what she found shocked her.
She says she was stunned by the way shops have changed over the years, and how many lie boarded up, waiting for new occupiers.
But she was also taken aback by the amount of support she received from local traders for her venture, Sweetheartgift.
The 25-year-old said: ‘I was so surprised by how many of the shops I went into as a kid had closed down.
‘I grew up in Copnor and the shops there like cake shops, butchers, boutiques – they’re all closing down with the owners saying they’re struggling because the supermarkets sell it all now.’
She added: ‘But as I was walking round with a 21-month-old baby in one hand and a bunch of leaflets in the other, everyone was being so supportive, wishing me luck with my business.
‘I feel proud to live in Portsmouth and as more than one local business owner told me on my travels, if we all did a bit we would all gain a lot – and I agree.
‘I have a great little market which I use here in Milton, and people really don’t know what they’re missing.’
Kaylie runs her business from an office at the bottom of her garden, built for her by her partner.
‘I had a baby and it’s important to spend time with babies, so I decided to start my own business working from the bottom of the garden,’ she said.
She sells sweets and hand-made bath products in traditional glass jars, and her business is based mainly online, though Kaylie does sell her wares directly at local markets and in local shops.
But she was so inspired by the new shops she found during her travels around the city, she said, that she has also launched a networking event for local traders. It will be held on Sunday, September 18, at Eastney Community Centre between 2pm and 4pm, and is free to attend.
She said: ‘We all need a helping hand, a kind word, a small gesture and a bit of luck to go with all the hard work we all do to support our families.’