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A star-studded online festival supporting UK independent businesses is being backed by a central Cardiff shopping centre.

Almost 50 per cent of the retailers in Queens Arcade are independent and now the shopping centre has become ambassadors for Indie Business Live, the UK’s first online festival of its kind. 

It will take place on Thursday, July 30, from 10am to 7pm and is being organised by TV business expert Kate Hardcastle MBE. The day will feature a wealth of entertainment, with performers, presenters and special guests such as TV favourite Eamonn Holmes. 

Small retailers urgently need cash and customers if they are to survive, says mother and daughter duo Nicola and Gemma, owners of Cardiff Creative in Queens Arcade.

Nicola said: “The reality is use us or lose us. We were a community of 60+ artists prior to lock down, but the effects of Covid 19 has meant some of our artists have had to leave Cardiff and go back to their hometowns or find different means of employment. 

“It has been tough as we’ve received no financial aid during or after lockdown. We started an online store for Cardiff Creative in March, which certainly helped, but our USP is the in-store interaction and being able to see, feel and touch unique products made with care by local artists for members of their local community and tourists.

Your local creative community needs your support. Not forgetting how important shopping local is in helping to decrease our carbon footprint. As a store we practice a zero-waste policy.”

The stats are sobering. 2 in 5 small businesses face closure because of Coronavirus and a staggering 3 million business owners, also known as ‘forgotten ltds’ have not received any financial support from the government.

Liam Jones, owner of Over Seas Apparel , worked for several big name retailers before starting his own brand. 

He said: “If I am honest, shopping local usually means you are getting a better quality product and a product that has next level passion put into it. As someone who has worked Independent and local businesses I’m sure will feel the same as me when I say - when you buy something from me you are buying a part of me.” 

“The brand is me and more than just another company trying to be all over the world. We don't want that, we want to help keep our world safe, clean and also keep everyone on it looking good in our clothes. What more could you ask for?”

Eric Heriberto de la Cruz Diaz, owner of Medusa, has been a barber for 15 year. When he finally opened up his own shop in Queens Arcade last year he says it was a dream come true after months of hard work.

He said: “We are a team of four. My three hair stylists have been with me from the very beginning and we are just group of people doing the best we can for our customers. I have spent a lot of time and money ensuring the barbers is a safe environment for our staff and customers. 

“This shop is made from the heart and I have sacrificed a lot for its success. If people do not shop local and support independent businesses, it affects a whole team.”

Cameron Ross, sales advisor at Rugby Heaven says with the massive increase of online sales, small businesses need to be kept up and running.

He said: “We need to try and retain the personal service and the character of the small businesses that can't be achieved in bigger businesses.”

Any independent business can sign up to feature on the Indie Business Live directory, free of charge at