Oliver Webb started brewing while at university. Now he runs Dig Brew Co, which produces the tipples of choice for Birmingham’s cultural scene
On the edge of Birmingham’s city centre lies Digbeth, a partially deserted industrial landscape of former Victorian factories, warehouses and tall railway arches. For the past few decades, it has been a handy place for artists and independent businesses to set up shop and take advantage of large spaces with low rents. Dig Brew Co, founded by 27-year-old Oliver Webb, recently joined this artistic hub, its craft brewery and taproom sitting proudly in a former gun factory on River Street.
Webb studied at the Slade School of Fine Art, part of University College London, and says sky-high prices in the capital gave him the idea to start running bars. “We’d be working until 10pm but couldn’t afford to go anywhere, as all the bars and clubs in London are so expensive. So I set up a bar in my studio space and started serving cocktails and cheap beer we bought from the supermarket,” he says.
Intimate, personalised service has made Beckford Bottle Shop a favourite for first dates, long lunches and more
As you enter Beckford Bottle Shop, a new bar, restaurant and wine shop with views over Bath’s Assembly Rooms, it’s impossible to miss the huge, U-shaped sofa skirting the back wall. It’s the focal point of the room and, as it turns out, the focal point of the business. “The sofa creates this space for people to hang out,” says Dan Brod, Beckford’s co-owner. “It’s also communal, so it kind of forces people to talk to each other – which, as a nation, we’re generally terrible at. When you go to Spain everyone hangs out and chats in the village square. The sofa is our version of the square.”
The welcoming atmosphere is something the team at Beckford have considered since day one. The owners all come from a background of members’ clubs and own several other “poncey pubs with rooms, I think is the official name,” laughs Brod. As a result, customer experience is key. “We’ve come at the wine world putting wine at the bottom and service at the top. Traditionally wine shops aren’t like that – it’s wine over everything else and they’re pretty intimidating. You walk in, get scared and choose whatever’s on the middle shelf,” he says.
Flea markets are a favourite weekend pastime for many. Here’s how to turn your passion for fashion into a bustling market stall
If your ideal weekend is spent hitting up car boot sales, browsing charity shops and scouring Etsy for the perfect vintage find, then having your own stall may seem like the dream job – or at least the dream side hustle. But what are the tips and tricks to make your vintage fashion business a success? We asked successful stall owners how they went from vintage fan to thriving market trader – and how you can do the same.
1. Start small “Don’t get carried away and invest a lot of money at the start,” says Amanda Barnes, whose shop Ooh La La Vintage in Dorset began as a stall at events and vintage festivals. “Keep expectations realistic and reassess every few months before you buy more stock. Even if you’re just doing it as a hobby, it’s a good idea to write a loose business plan. Decide how much you’ll spend on stock, and think about other expenses, such as travel and the cost of the pitch. Then work out how much you need to sell to recoup costs and turn a profit.”
For young entrepreneur Ed Barry, running a business has had its ups and downs. But embracing the cashless economy has paid off
It’s no secret that the great British high street is warming to the idea of going, if not cashless, then certainly less cash. In the past 15 years, we’ve seen the introduction of contactless cards and mobile phone payments (or digital wallets).
A 2018 report by UK Finance [pdf] found that in just 10 years we’ve gone from cash making up six out of 10 payments to just three, and predicts that in another 15 years that number could go down to as low as one in 10.
Zoopla tallies income needed to buy in 20 UK cities, with London top at £84k and Liverpool lowest at £26k
First-time buyers now need an average income of £54,000 to buy a typical home in a UK city, though the good news for purchasers is that the priciest locations have become a little more affordable, according to new data.
This average income figure has risen 9% since 2016, when it stood at £49,900, largely down to higher house prices, says property website Zoopla.
NGOs say others also in breach of 1998 convention by failing to disclose details on policies
The UK and other EU governments are in breach of international obligations by failing to be open about their policies to tackle emissions from aviation, a coalition of NGOs has said.
The group is lodging a formal complaint over the secrecy surrounding regulation of emissions from international flights, which they say allows the aviation industry to be a “climate laggard”. Last year, aviation emitted 895m tonnes of carbon dioxide – 2.4% of global energy-related CO2 emissions, according to Carbon Brief. If aviation were a country it would be the sixth biggest emitter in the world.
I refused to answer a questionnaire and then my cards were blocked
My wife and I were migrated to Virgin Money credit cards last year after Virgin severed ties with MBNA which had previously been its card provider. Recently, Virgin wrote to us demanding disclosure of sensitive information such as our salaries, proof of identity and proof of source of funds that we use to pay our credit card bill.
This is the first time in 20 years a credit card provider has sought such personal data, and the fact that the demand was signed by hand led me to suspect it may be fraud. I reported it to Virgin Money and it confirmed it had sent the letter, but was unable to share from which department it had originated, nor why it required the information.