20 December 2022
Bristol not for profit sustainable lifestyle store Prior up for national award
Beck Prior set up the independent shop, workshop, gallery and community hub in 2019, and now it’s in the running to be the UK’s favourite local business
A shop that showcases work by 150 sustainable designers in Bristol city centre has been nominated in a nationwide search to find the UK’s favourite local business.
Prior, which is a registered living wage employer, an advocate for the Good Employment Charter and a Bristol Sustainable Impact Champion, is located in Cabot Circus, and was set up by Beck Prior as a result of a life changing illness.
Beck said: “I’m a maker myself, and after studying fine art and visual culture in Bristol, I started my own business in set and prop design, alongside working in art technician, education and outreach roles. However in 2010, when I was 26, I was diagnosed with leukaemia. In the three years that I was ill, I couldn’t have a regular job but started doing markets on a Sunday as a way to still work and be creative. It grew and grew.
“After having a bone marrow transplant and getting better, I developed my practice as a product designer. In 2018 an opportunity came up to take on a shop in Old Market. I thought it would be a workshop space but once I had the keys and opened the doors, I saw it as an opportunity to bring people together in a creative way.
“I’ve always been interested in merging high design with sustainable materials. Often you’ll get the high design but it’s not responsibly made, or handmade ‘eco’ products that look overtly green. I reached out to some other designers and Prior was born in 2019. Prior stocks contemporary, consciously made, sustainable products, and most are made locally. We also run workshops and hold talks, all in a city centre space.
“Because Prior is not for profit, our aim when running workshops is accessibility, for creatives and also for different segments of the community. Last year, our profits went towards an event held by Everyday Racism and we funded an artist to provide candle making workshops for vulnerable adults. Creative activities are both calming and grounding, and hugely beneficial for those suffering from trauma.
“We also funded a local photography exhibition, featuring portrait photographs of different business owners and a QR code linking to more information about them. I’m speechless at being nominated for this award. I still get goosebumps when I look around and see what our team has created. I’m so proud that others see Prior as a welcoming, comfortable community space in Bristol.”
Prior is also part of The Love Bristol Gift Card, an initiative to champion local businesses in Bristol, led by the three central Business Improvement Districts (BIDs) which launched in the summer, and can be spent with over 150 Bristol businesses. Available as a physical paper card, or as a digital card that can be uploaded to digital wallets, the card is a more sustainable gifting option.
Beck adds: “Prior is part of the Love Bristol Gift Card because it’s really important to support local businesses. The card is great for local wellbeing, because it encourages people to look locally instead of online, interacting with local businesses. Bristol is such a creative, diverse city, and that is reflected through the gift card.”
Bristol City Centre BID, Redcliffe & Temple BID and Broadmead BID are encouraging people to keep on voting for their favourite Bristol business:
Steve Bluff, Head of Redcliffe & Temple BID, said: “Prior sums up everything that is great about Bristol. Unique businesses that are the heart of the community, offering unique products and contributing to the vibrancy and welcoming feel of our city. Best of luck to Beck and the Prior team.”
Vivienne Kennedy, head of Broadmead BID, said: “There are so many amazing businesses in Bristol. I’d love to see even more nominations for our shops, restaurants, cafés and salons.”
Vicky Lee, Head of Bristol City Centre BID, adds: “Beck’s story is inspirational, an individual who has poured her passion and creativity into a shop and community hub that is a positive force in our community. Please keep on voting for our brilliant Bristol businesses.”
The Love Bristol Gift Card is part of the Town & City Gift Card initiative active across the UK and Ireland. Town & City Gift Cards is sponsoring the Help Us Find The UK’s Favourite Local Business competition.
Any local business can be nominated, with the business receiving the most votes being crowned as the UK’s favourite. The UK’s favourite business, and one person who nominated them, will receive £500 of gift cards.
Colin Munro, managing director of Miconex said: “The Help Us Find The UK’s Favourite Business competition is designed to celebrate businesses like Prior, so we can shine a light on local and all of the amazing work local businesses do, day in and day out. The winning business will be announced in December and we hope to see many more nominations coming in for local businesses in Bristol.”
Vote for Prior or any other Bristol business for free at www.lovelocalwin.co.uk.
Voting closes on the 21st December 2022.