Michael joined members of the West Kent branch of the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) in Otford today to provide support and advice to their members. Among the shops he visited in the High Street were Mille Fleurs (bespoke hats) and the Bill Skinner Studio (bespoke jewellery).
Jane Cave has been a milliner since 1982 and set up the shop Mille Fleurs in 1997. The shop also hosts a workshop, where bespoke hats are made on-site using traditional millinery techniques.
The Bill Skinner Studio creates collections using traditional techniques as well as state-of-the-art technology such as 3D printing. The company employs 14 people at three different locations and exports internationally following extensive restructuring three years ago.
Michael said: “The small business rate-relief has helped many businesses. However, I am also keen to support the cutting of red tape in any way possible. Small businesses in small villages don’t get the same footfall as in the larger towns. There is strong competition from the internet so anything that we can all do to help to promote local small businesses must be worthwhile.”