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Shaunna Latchman works in media communications, writes her own successful blog, and is a regular contributor to several websites.

Made in Oxfordshire

Shaunna Latchman

Name: Rosie Jacobs

DOB: 23 August 1983

Born: Winchester

Lives: University of Sussex

They say two heads are better than one, and in the same breath it’s also said that too many cooks can spoil the broth. Somehow, however, dynamic duo Anna Munday and Rosie Jacobs have managed to strike a creative balance and, in the process, produce a punchy platform for Oxford’s independent businesses.

The pair met while they were both manning stands at Wilderness Festival in 2014. Anna was marketing manager for the Old Fire Station at the time, and Rosie had set up Kinship of Oxford – a craft focused, online gift shop to support local and UK businesses. A few minutes into their polite chit-chat they stumbled upon a mutual gripe: that while Oxford boasts more budding independent businesses than most cities, they remain by and large the unsung heroes on our local high streets. Thus, utilising their professional relationships the pair began curating cafés, restaurants, bakeries, florists and all manner of independent outlets and in March of 2015, their brainchild ‘Independent Oxford’ was launched at a pop-up market hosted at Annie Sloan’s shop in Cowley.

Now, via Independentoxford.com they regularly blog about the goings-on in our beautiful city, highlighting the rich diversity of Oxford’s independent business community. In an age when vloggers have taken over the web and social media feeds are overflowing with selfies galore, Anna and Rosie have created a page that oozes class and celebrates the creativity of local entrepreneurs.

The premise of their partnership is to encourage an alliance amongst businesses, because as Rosie pointedly remarks: “Being an indie is lonely.” Consequently, following the success of their launch party, the ladies then went on to arrange their first Christmas market in the city which more than 2,000 people attended. As Anna works for the University of Oxford and Rosie, an original indie, runs her own business A Rosie Life, just how do they find time to manage the website too?

Well, their weekends are spent engaging with business owners, trying out new menus and catching up on the latest crafts, and as a result, they last year collaborated with Bitten Oxford – Oxford’s food and drink guide – to create the Indie Oxford Compendium, “a carefully curated A5 book featuring some of the best indie businesses in the city”.

Created by people who know and love the city, the compendium is a compact bite of Oxford’s finest.

These are two young women who, with an eye for the quirky and an appreciation for the unique, have begun to carve out a niche for themselves as Oxford’s most savvy facilitators. From organising all manner of new initiatives to ensuring our independent traders need no longer feel alone, they have created an ever-growing, ever-busier community for Oxford’s indies.

 - Shaunna Latchman