This is Sophie, the founder of The Borrow Shop, a library of things, based in the Jewellery Quarter.
Sophie had the idea to create The Borrow Shop during lockdown, when she wanted to get stuck in and do some DIY and deep clean her house, but didn’t want to buy all the items herself, especially because most of them she would only use once, then would gather dust in the cupboard. So, she set out to create her own library of things that the community can borrow, without the need to spend a lot of money, store or maintain the items. Borrowing rather than buying also reduces our overall environmental footprint.
You can hire a whole range of items from the library by becoming a member (for £20 a year), and then paying to hire the item for your required period of time. She has electrical tools (for cleaning or DIY), household items (like crockery or chairs), and even a blow-up bed (which is incidentally one of the most popular items!) and will be adding gardening tools to the library this Spring. You can also suggest items if you think something is missing.
The Borrow Shop also has a coffee and an eco-friendly gift shop – I can confirm that the vegan cookies she stocks are delicious!
The business operates as a social enterprise, so that 50% of their profits are donated to local charities and organisations and reinvested back into The Borrow Shop.
What did you need to consider when setting up The Borrow Shop?
- Sourcing items that are hard-waring and would survive heavy-use
- Sourcing from suppliers that can repair or offer spare parts, preventing us having to re-buy items
What do you love about running your business?
I love the regulars, and the lovely community I have met since starting the business.
And finally, what do you love about Birmingham?
I love the wonderful independent feel that we have in the city!