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Life on Easy Street

Step into Barclaycard's Northampton HQ, head past Perry at reception, and you’ll find yourself on 'The Street' – a wide, airy atrium that runs the length of the building.

Two or three times a year, this thoroughfare is home to Easy Street, when we invite small local businesses to set out their stall and sell directly to our team in Northampton.

With an instant audience of around 2,500 people, Easy Street can mean easy sales for the traders.

'Welcome to Easy Street' banner

"Marketing is all about meeting people," says Julie Hensman of Hensmans Salons. At an Easy Street in July 2014, she's come to the Barclaycard office with her team – Alice, Rebecca and Mitchell – to sell hair products and styling tools, and to give consultations.

"It’s been amazing," she says. "We’ve had a great day and done really, really well."

Over at Jeweleeze, owner Julie McDonnell is selling scarves, costume jewellery and handbags. One bag, a particular favourite, had been bought by one Barclaycard employee and then ordered by six more.

True to the grassroots spirit of Easy Street, McDonnell heard about the opportunity when her husband was talking about her business in the pub. A man behind him leaned over and said, "You know where your wife should go? Into Barclaycard."

Lady making payment on Easy Street

Carmela Blackman tells a similar story. She runs Vintage French Lifestyle with her daughters Samantha and Gemma, and first heard of Easy Street when a Barclaycard employee came into her shop on Kingsley Park Terrace, Northampton.

"About six months ago, a gentleman that works at Barclaycard came into the shop," she remembers. "He loved the shop, and he said, 'We do this thing called Easy Street. Would we come if we invited you?'"

Vintage French Lifestyle sells a variety of finds from the family's trips to France, including clothes, jewellery, glassware and furniture. It’s only their first time on Easy Street, but Carmella is impressed.

Carmela Blackman of Vintage French Lifestyle at Barclaycard's Easy Street

"When you're a small business, things like this are great, because you haven't got the budget to spend tens of thousands on major advertising campaigns."

"It's tough getting people to know you exist."

In addition to bringing the businesses to Easy Street, Barclaycard provides the stalls, signage, and terminals for taking card payments.

At July's Easy Street, sales for the merchants increased by 200% compared to an average day's trading, with the promise of more to come.

Barclaycard employees, meanwhile, got to support small traders on their way to lunch – and buy something a lot more special than a sandwich.

Vintage French Lifestyle at Barclaycard's Easy Street

Thanks to all the businesses who took part in the July 2014 Easy Street, including Hensmans Salons, Jeweleeze, Vintage French Lifestyle, Asha's, Animals in Need, Janis Allyn, Popsy & Peanut, and Whilton Mill.