Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

MICRO-BUSINESSES ARE BEAUTIFUL; Recession Entrepreneurs Stay Solvent and Fresh by Thinking Small. Rose Rouse Explains

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

MICRO-BUSINESSES ARE BEAUTIFUL; Recession Entrepreneurs Stay Solvent and Fresh by Thinking Small. Rose Rouse Explains

Article excerpt

Byline: Rose Rouse

THEY don't have a website and they are not on Twitter. Moveable Feasts are more like word-of-mouth guerrilla dinner parties, and presenter and cook Andrea Oliver and art director Sandra Kane rapidly sold out tickets for their first feast at the weekend and are planning the next.

"Sandra and I have worked in big teams but we wanted something that was just the two of us," says Andrea. "We don't go out to bars, we have dinner parties, so we thought we'd get a few interesting people to come along too. We want to keep it small and personal. We're giving people what we want ourselves. That's the secret."

Big is bland and impersonal -- that's the message behind this small movement. The 21st-century business landscape is changing, and microbusinesses are seen as the way out of the recession. "They are a growth industry," says Hilary Farnworth, director of the Centre for Micro-Enterprise at London Metropolitan University. "They are easy to set up and have low overheads. It's a new philosophy of work that means you can do what you want to do. People who have been made redundant can find passionate employment in this way."

Elaine Foster-Gandey works from a farm outbuilding in East Sussex running Designer Sales UK, a sample sale that brings designer bargains to Brick Lane four times a year. "One of the main reasons I can keep making changes to my company is because I'm a micro-business. Recently, I've made sales more personal by inviting my customers to be models in our Real People catwalk shows."

Human in scale, non-corporate in outlook, run from home, a shed or a small business location -- these are all integral parts of being a microbusiness.

Sarah Bagner runs a web shop called Supermarket Sarah from her living room and has a pop-up wall at Selfridges of her one-off objects, plus new and vintage clothes. …

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