Philippa Bramley has been running her own opticians, Bramley Pope, in Bristol for 20 years. We caught up with Philippa to find out what makes Bristol a little bit bonkers, but the perfect place to run a small business…
It’s a bit of a bonkers city really isn’t it? I mean, we’re the UK’s first cycling city, and yet we’re full of hills! But joking aside, Bristol definitely has a certain energy to it. And is a great place to run an independent business.
There’s a real feeling of support for local businesses in the city. This doesn’t make running your own business any less terrifying though… but for me it was absolutely the right thing to do.
Any advice for any budding small business owners?
I think you just have to bite the bullet and go for it. You definitely have to be practically-minded though, or you’ll go under fast. And you have to find out what makes you different from the rest.
For us, it’s all about great customer service. We listen, we spend time with our customers, and we believe in being nice to people. Niceness goes a long way in this business. We also do things like offering our customers repairs on their glasses for free. And you can help yourself to lens cloths too.
Why Bristol Energy?
The shop is in a listed building, in the old part of the city. And whilst we have beautiful original windows, it can be a bit chilly in here. Our bills were high, so I was looking for a better deal. I didn’t want to use a broker or comparison website this time, so I thought I’d look around directly to see what was here in Bristol.
I love the fact that Bristol Energy is on my doorstep. And that it has been set up to support the city. When you run your own independent business, it makes you even more aware of supporting businesses on your doorstep. I’m paying less too, which is the most important thing to me and my business.