Why is it so important to support Small Businesses?

Did you know that over 99% of all business in the UK are small businesses? This means they have less than 49 employees, the majority of which only have 0-9 employees… it’s so important that we support our favourite small businesses, as they are so vital to the whole economy.
Although the majority of businesses in the UK are ‘Small’, only 9% of these are retail businesses and an even smaller number – just 5% - are businesses involved in the arts. These businesses contribute so much to local economies and communities and we feel so strongly about making sure these businesses survive, especially during these trying times.
Something that may not be shocking but that is close to our hearts is that as of 2018 just 17% of all 5.8 billion small businesses in the UK are led by females, but they contribute around £85 billion to the economy.
As most of you know Shibumi is a really small business, and our business is entirely female run, something that we are really proud of.
Let us introduce ourselves…
blue cashmere shawl Shibumi business owner

Of course, we have to start with Ruth who is the owner and creator of Shibumi, she started the business over 16 years ago and still gets as excited about the styles and fabrics today as she did at the beginning! Ruth is the reason Shibumi is so filled with love.



Sophie has been with Shibumi for just over two years and does a bit of everything! From seeing customers, answering emails, organising shows and the odd bit of modelling. If you contact Shibumi it’s likely it will be Sophie you speak to so please do say hello!



Kate lovingly presses and wraps all of your orders, she is a key part of the business and helps us with shows, social media and anything else she can get stuck in to! Kate has a background in designing so she’s always coming up with brilliant new ideas.



Rhiannon is our wonderful seamstress! She can do alterations on any of our pieces, copy your favourite wardrobe pieces in our fabrics and has even made the odd wedding dress or two… she will make your Shibumi sewing dreams come true!  

We love our team and Shibumi wouldn’t be the same without any of these amazing girls, it’s true what they say… whenever you buy from a small business a real person does a little happy dance! We are all so passionate about Shibumi and we truly value our supportive customers as friends for life.

We’ve shared the story of Shibumi before, but we still think it’s amazing how Ruth began Shibumi as a single mamma with nothing but an incredible idea and the drive to make it happen, all helped along by a huge dose of love and compassion for the environment and her fellow humans.

To learn more about our talented production team we invite you to watch our documentary here >

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You, as customers, are so important to small businesses, when you support a small business you really do make a difference to the lives of real people and from experience we can say that all customers of small businesses are dearly treasured… we love you all!

On that note, we also feel that we should use our platform to help to support other likeminded businesses, especially those that are local to us. We know that most of our customers come to us looking for the perfect wedding outfit, so we’ve mainly focused on other wedding-centred businesses and a few others that we think you might like to visit when you come for an appointment (why not make a weekend of it?)

We hope we can help you to find the best independent suppliers for you and your family’s dream day.

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Probably one of the questions we get asked the most during appointments is who do we recommend for hats? The perfect accessory to finish off your Mother of the Bride outfit, the right hat is so important!

 Here are some of our favourite local milliners/ hat hire companies:




Louise is known as the Cotswold Milliner and for good reason! Her modern designs are mesmerising to look at and we love her use of shapes and colour. She is based in Chipping Camden – about an hour from us so why not make an appointment to see her after you’ve visited Shibumi?

< Click here to visit Louise Pocock’s website >





The Cotswold Hat Club are a hat hire service based in Stow on the Wold, they have a fabulous range of hats from a number of different designers so there really is something for every occasion. If you have a lot of events to attend, they have a hire subscription service, or you can hire by the day.

 < Click here to visit The Cotswold Hat Club website >





A little further afield in Abergavenny, we have Alison Tod Hats, visit her treasure trove of millinery delights… there is sure to be something just right to compliment your Shibumi outfit. She also offers a trimming and dyeing service… why not have your hat trimmed with Shibumi silk to match your coat or dress perfectly?

< Click here to visit Alison Tod’s website >


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No Mother of the Bride outfit (or Mother of the Groom!) would be complete without beautiful jewellery to match. Of course, your Shibumi coat will be the statement piece so we’ve chosen designers that reflect the simple elegance that we feel compliments our outfits best.




If luxury is your thing, then you will love Ruth’s work. Designed and made in her small studio, Ruth uses ethically and sustainably sourced diamonds and other precious stones to create her unique pieces that will last a lifetime.

< Click here to visit Ruth Tomlinson’s website >





Harriet specialises in creating beautiful pearl jewellery, whether you’re looking for a classic string of pearls, or something more contemporary, Harriet is sure to offer it. She caters for all budgets and has some really lovely pieces.

< Click here to visit Harriet Whinney’s website >





For pearl jewellery with a modern twist, we love Olivia & Pearl. Really simple pieces that are elegant, and can be worn by anyone.

< Click here to visit Olivia & Pearl’s website >





For our slightly younger (or just a bit alternative!) customers we recommend Joanna Cave. Her designs are contemporary and fun, and we love the patterns that run throughout her designs. These are pieces you can wear for a special occasion and then dress down for everyday.

< Click here to visit Joanna Cave’s website >


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When visiting our showroom, a lot of our lovely clients choose to bring their daughters – the brides - along with them for the appointment. Why not have a long weekend in the Cotswolds together sourcing other suppliers for the Wedding Day?

Starting with some of our favourite small florists.




Kate’s Cutting Patch is a small local florist in Longney, Gloucestershire with one special twist… you get to pick the flowers yourself! Visit Kate’s garden to choose your flowers while they’re still growing. Kate’s focus is on creating tailor made arrangements that are exactly what you dreamed of.

< Click here to visit Kate’s Cutting Patch website >





If real flowers aren’t your thing then Fox Flowers is for you! Fox Flowers are a UK based online company providing the most realistic silk faux flowers you’ve ever seen. You can purchase pre-made arrangements which work great for table decorations at weddings, or you can by individual stems to crate your very own bouquet that you can keep forever. 

< Click here to visit Fox Flowers website >


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If you haven’t yet found a wedding venue why not visit our favourites while you’re near us… The Gloucestershire countryside is the perfect idyllic setting for a wedding, and these are our top venues.




Elmore Court is a beautiful stately home that focuses on sustainability and are well known for their fantastic in house catering using local produce, a lot of which is grown in the Estate itself! Stunning bedrooms and grounds, and an added bonus… most of the beds feature Shibumi’s cashmere bed throws.

(Elmore also happens to belong to Ruth’s brother Anselm…how exciting!)

< Click here to visit Elmore Court’s website >





The Matara Centre is just five minutes down the road from us and is such a unique wedding venue. Say your vows at the waterside in this amazingly magical place.

< Click here to visit The Matara Centre website >





Can you believe this incredible place is in Chippenham? About 40 minutes from our showroom, The Lost Orangery is the luxury wedding venue most people dream of. Astounding views and incredible architecture, this venue is attached to the stately home Euridge Manor, and you can hire the whole estate for soul use for up to four days…dreamy!

< Click here to visit The Lost Oragngery website >


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To capture your perfect day, you need the perfect photographer… here are our top picks!




Voyteck Photography is the brainchild of Wojteck Chrapek, his photographs have such great atmosphere and we love how they really tell a story. Based in London, but able to travel within the UK, Wojteck often does the photography for weddings at Elmore Court.

< Click here to visit Voyteck Photography’s website >





James Fear is based in Cheltenham and also is a regular photographer at Elmore Court… stunning classic wedding photography that will endure the test of time.

< Click here to visit James Fear’s website >




florence and charles wedding photography

Florence & Charles specialise in photographing destination weddings, and are the perfect choice for slightly out of the ordinary weddings! For example, they photographed this amazing wedding of one of our customers which took place on the remote island of Tiree in Scotland…amazing!

< Click here to visit Florence & Charles’ website >


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If you need to find a caterer for your wedding in the Gloucestershire area, look no further than Birch Catering. They can even cater for marquee weddings, and their food is delicious!

< Click here to visit Birch Catering website >


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If planning your own wedding seems far too daunting, then maybe you need a wedding planner! Jennifer has over 20 years of experience and covers the Cotswolds, Oxfordshire and the South West.

< Click here to visit Jennifer Louise’s website >


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Cotswold Animal Services is run by the lovely Jess. If you’ve ever dreamt of having your dog (or any pet!) at your wedding, Jess is your lady. She can get your pet ready for your big day- including a bath and flower collar, bring them to your wedding, take care of your pet whilst there and then take them home with her for some pampering while you enjoy your wedding evening without worrying about your pet being home alone.

< Click here to visit the Cotswold Animal Services website >


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If you would like to book your Shibumi appointment for a Friday or Monday to make a long weekend trip to the Cotswolds then you’ll need a place to stay! Here are some of our favourite Air BnBs in the area…




This peaceful rural retreat is set in our local vineyard in Woodchester, just 10 minutes from us and perfect for exploring the local area.

< Click here for more information >




A Cotswold stone Summerhouse set in the beautiful countryside of France Lynch, about a 15 minute drive from Shibumi. Ideal if you’d like a weekend of walks and country pubs.

< Click here for more information >




This traditional thatched cottage is a slice of chocolate box perfection and the perfect place to stay if you’d like to explore the historic town of Cirencester. Close enough to us and a great stepping stone if you want to head from us in Horsley towards the traditional Cotswold towns of Stow-on-the-Wold and Bourton-On-The-Water.

< Click here for more information >

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There are so many great things to do near us, here are some of our favourite small businesses we recommend you pay a visit to.




Stroud Farmers Market runs every Saturday from 9am to 2pm, find local produce, gifts, fresh flowers, amazing street food and a lovely bubbly atmosphere!

< Click here for more information >




Thistledown Farm is great place to pop for lunch after your appointment, only 10 minutes from us with a menu full of local produce and beautiful views. You can even camp here if you fancy it!

< Click here to visit Thistledown Farm’s website >





The Nursery at Miserden is such a lovely place for an afternoon visit, lots of beautiful plants… great for those who are green-fingered.

< Click here to visit Miserden Nursery’s website >


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After your appointment with us you might like to head down into the town of Nailsworth, a lovely little town full of small independent shops, two of our favourites for buying gifts are:




Our favourite independent sweet shop is Coco… full of old fashioned jars of sweets, and lots of yummy chocolates, they also do the BEST hot chocolate you’ll ever have. A must- visit. Its Ruth’s daughter Coco’s favourite… obviously.

< Click here to visit Coco’s website > 




Armed and Gorgeous is the perfect place to find unusual gifts for your loved ones, or even to pick up something special for yourself! They also have a fantastic range of greetings cards from independent artists.

< Click here to visit Armed and Gorgeous website >


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Last but not least we have MAKE Beauty, not strictly a ‘small business’ but this company was started by Ariana Mouyiaris and her father, their philosophy centres around creating simple and natural beauty products for all skin tones and they donate 10% of all profits to the We See Beauty Foundation, and we wanted to mention them as charitable responsibility is something very close to our hearts.

A US based brand, but available to purchase in the UK through Net a Porter.

< Click here to visit MAKE Beauty’s website >

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We really hope you’ve found this blog helpful for finding some fantastic small business to supply your wedding, and has provided some insight into why it means so much when you support small businesses such as ourselves.


Please do let us know if you have any questions, we are always happy to help.


With Love as Always,




(All statistics taken from the House of Commons Briefing Paper Number 06152 16.12.19 Business Statistics by Chris Rhodes.)