The East End Trades Guild (EETG) represents a diverse and growing community of 130 self-employed people, SMEs, and social enterprises rooted in East London. These vary from independent brewery 'The Five Points Brewing Company', to designer 'Ally Capellino', tech enterprise 'Newspeak House' and Brick Lane curry houses 'Masala' and 'Gandhi's' pus many more.
A group from the Guild got together in April to explore ideas about a new map and a day to celebrate the small enterprises that give East London its famous character. The following June they successfully lauched a crowdfunding campaign - and the East End Independents' Day was born. Their aim is to encourage local spend, attract visitors and create traction on the common issues that matter to Guild members.
Like the Mayor, the Guild is keen to see London’s small businesses thrive and buck the economic uncertainty of Brexit. So rather than feel gloomy, they’re rolling up their sleeves by taking collective action and putting on a wide variety of events - from jellied eel tasting at F.Cooke to Ukulele workshops from the Duke of Uke, just in time to catch the seasonal trade.
Until last Thursday 3rd November the members had not heard from the Mayor. So a delegation of them and their Director, RSA Fellow Krissie Nicolson went to meet him in person at the People’s Question Time in Brent. They took with them a printed invitation made by members Baddeley Brothers, one of their new maps designed by James Brown and a Tatty Devine EETG brooch inside inside a Gardners’ Bags tote to present to Sadiq Khan.
In the nick of time they managed to get their question in just before the event closed. Four of them raised to their feet with Krissie Nicolson who praised the Mayor saying;
"We’re pleased to hear that your priorities are arts, culture and social integration because all three are what our members do on a day-to-day basis. You may have seen our wonderful digital invitation starring Anna and Nevio Pellicci that we sent to you via Twitter. It’s not always understood, the social and cultural as well as the economic contribution that small businesses bring to London. Our members have helped to make the East End the diverse cultural and creative hub of our City. So our question Mayor Khan, is - will you celebrate this with us and accept our invitation to take breakfast at E. Pellicci on Small Business Saturday?".
After a round of applause the Mayor responded - “This is a lesson to you all, make a brilliant short speech first, have three handsome men standing next to you, have a prop and the answer is yes!”
After a year of planning, organising, building relationships and being politely persistent, finally their collective and strategic action won the result. The delegation was delighted. Although, all four of the members were left wondering which of them was not handsome!
The EETG hopes that their breakfast with the Mayor will create a constructive and lasting working relationship with Sadiq Khan and the Greater London Authority, for effective action on the critical issues to affect small businesses in East London.