Monday, 06 July 2020

Designer creates website to help shops in lockdown

Designer creates website to help shops in lockdown

A WEBSITE designer is playing her part in helping businesses recover from the coronavirus pandemic.

Linda Layhe Nugent has launched the Henley Circle to give companies an online platform to trade and share experiences.

Although many high street businesses will re-open on Monday, she expects the virus will change shopping habits in the long term.

Henley Circle has grown to 26 sellers since the lockdown started in March and includes a wide range of businesses, including meat, poultry, fish, baked goods, homeware and jewellery.

Mrs Layhe Nugent, who runs her business, Pixel Vista, from her Nettlebed home, said: “I started when everyone was running around volunteering and the community was really pulling together.

“I thought, ‘how can I help and use my skillset’ and was asked to come up with a website for local producers. I couldn’t design free shopping sites for individual sellers but I could design a site for all sellers as a co-operative-style community. It is something that would normally be very expensive to do but I didn’t feel l I could charge in the current climate and I wanted to help. This made utter sense and was my way of helping the community.”

As well as being a marketplace, Henley Circle is designed to share expertise with other business owners so they may be able to start their own website in future.

There is no charge for being included on the website but the business has to have an RG9 postcode, or have a history of selling to the area, to be accepted. Sellers include Johnny HoT Stuff, Fairmile Vineyard and Candela.

Each seller has a dashboard, where they can create their brand, add products and enter preferred payment methods. Mrs Layhe Nugent, who has 15 years of experience in website and graphic design, said: “There is currently room for up to 50 sellers and at the moment they can join for free. However, at some point in the future a small monthly fee or commission will be charged to cover running and administrative costs.

“Running an online shop requires software subscriptions, regular updating, legal responsibilities and more. It has become very time-consuming. I thought there would only be about eight businesses on there and now there are a lot more.

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