A Nation of Shopkeepers

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On 29th September, 2009, BT re-launched its BT Tradepsace platform. 

Task: Raise awareness of BT’s online business community as a destination for SME/Cottage Industries.

BT Tradespace is BT’s social commerce platform for small businesses. It’s a place where small businesses can go to network, promote & transact. It’s also a place where consumers can browse, shop, recommend companies they rate & ask advice from other consumers in a safe, secure & interactive environment.

Platform:  Get Noticed! (In phase 1. Engagement platform and editorial content not yet released)

In 2009 fashion photographer/promo director Yanni Kronenberg and I packed our bags and set out on a mammoth 2000 mile road trip throughout the UK to meet, interview and photograph BT Tradespace mavens.

We started this journey expecting to meet various owners of small businesses and cottage industries, and yet not quite knowing what to expect.  We knew we had to capture the diversity of a nation of shopkeepers.  But what we came away with was more, a lot more.

What quickly became apparent was that these individuals (and they really were) had all been on their own journey, experiencing highs, lows, triumphs and set-backs that had lead them to a single point in their life; their passion to ‘make a good go at it’.  Tradespace seemed to play a pivotal role for these people, not only a social network they had in common, but a place to lean on each other.  So and so knew thingy-me-Bob from X event.  Jack followed Jill’s blog.  Peter took inspiration from Paul.

Beyond this being our commercial project to generate content for BT’s new Get Noticed campaign, Yanni and I learned a lot about each other and the make-up of what we call the United Kingdom.  Not the other-worldly bubble we live in, love and often hate called London (actually, Yanni lives and works in New York), but the real face of Modern Britain.  The Britain gets up at the crack of dawn to slaughter cows.  The Britain that sells butt plugs from their front room.  The Britain that doesn’t have time “for any of those fancy London ways”.  The hidden world of anti-heroes that are the unsung heroes striving day in day out to make good. And they’re all on BT Tradespace.

Work @ Lost Boys

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