The story of I BUY LOCAL

I BUY LOCAL makes it easy and convenient for you to buy directly from local and independent businesses.

From the beginning…

I BUY LOCAL was born during the Coronavirus pandemic, in the middle of 2020.

Our founders (Paul Cranwell and Nigel Fryatt) met whilst working together on a website development project. 

They had a load of fun and quickly got talking about the impact Coronavirus was having on local and independent businesses.

Realistically, the Coronavirus pandemic has completely changed the nature of local business, seeing many independents pivoting to grow their online sales. The pandemic is taking lives, and society was – and still is – in crisis.

One afternoon, Paul and Nigel started to discuss enterprising solutions to overcome the disruption caused by the pandemic. Nigel had already developed a prototype for a localised online shopping business, and Paul had previously developed a locally focused online business back in the early 2000s. Both were very passionate about their community and recognised that they could combine their experience to help consumers and independent businesses during this difficult time. 

In short, Paul and Nigel felt that it should be easier for people to find amazing independent businesses.

They envisioned a website that would allow you to search for indie products, discover local businesses, and discover amazing local offers and sales. The featured businesses would be charged absolutely nothing, all receiving an initial three month commission-free period (which has subsequently been extended to reflect the pandemic’s continued disruption).

To this day we haven’t charged a single penny to any business, it just isn’t the right time to do so. 

Our aim? To make shopping online with local independents easier, and to improve the experience when doing so. And to encourage people to source most of the products they buy from independent businesses.

What happened next?   

Nigel quickly got to work building the website in collaboration with Paul’s research and development skills. We quickly crossed paths with Lisa Merryweather-Millard (Owner and Director of Rather Nice Design) who has been invaluable in developing I BUY LOCAL’s brand and social media presence, alongside consulting us throughout our journey. 

What is I BUY LOCAL?

It’s important to note that I BUY LOCAL isn’t a marketplace. It’s an online High Street for Bath, Bristol, Somerset and Wiltshire. The businesses we feature (who must offer home delivery) have a shop front displaying their bio, four featured products, a map and contact details. If you’re interested in purchasing something you buy directly from the seller – just like you would on the High Street. 


Taking the way we shop on the High Street (buying direct) and recreating it online, has sat at the heart of our approach from the beginning.

When purchasing directly from an independent business you get to enjoy building a relationship with them, you know who you’re buying from, and can really enjoy the experience of learning about their products.

Indies also benefit the most when you shop directly with them – it’s a complete win-win.

Our ambition is be the #1 place in the UK to find the widest selection of independent retailers to buy from online, accompanied by a values-led business model which truly benefits independent businesses and the local economy.

We’ve started with an operating area of Bath, Bristol, Somerset and Wiltshire, made several fantastic partnerships (Radio Bath, Rather Nice Design) and also received support from Bath Spa University’s EMERGE residency (thanks Bath Spa!). 

What are we up to?

Last updated: 21/07/2021.

We’re busy growing I BUY LOCAL, helped by a truly brilliant intern who is funded by Bath Spa University (Finn, thank you for all that you’ve done – you’re a legend). 

Nigel Fryatt
Author: Nigel Fryatt

Nigel is one of the co-founders of I BUY LOCAL. He's passionate about making great ideas fly - particularly ones rooted in social good and the community. He's built I BUY LOCAL's digital presence from the ground up to help local communities, people and businesses thrive. He believes that when local and independent retailers and residents work together and support one another they can strengthen and rebuild communities. He sees I BUY LOCAL as an opportunity to change the world; to not settle for boring, mass produced and unethical products, and to educate communities that buying locally is easy (and better).