Get To Know Local Business

Shop Hartlepool Blog

Welcome to the Shop Hartlepool blog, a great place to find out more about the amazing businesses signed up to Shop Hartlepool.

We want to shout about Hartlepool’s success stories and introduce you to the new kids on the block. You’ll find behind the scenes articles about local businesses alongside regular updates and news from the Shop Hartlepool team. 

We are always looking for great stories, so if you want to to be featured, or know a business who would, get in touch using the button below.   

Small but mighty

Itsy Bitsy Gifts consider themselves the favourite place for their customers to browse and purchase gorgeous gifts they wouldn’t usually find elsewhere. They love things with personality, a sense of fun and that make you feel happy, while taking pride in being different and only stocking products they love, so they know you’ll love them too. We caught up with Louise to find out a bit more about their online store. 

What is your back story?

I’ve always wanted to own a gift shop. You know the kind of boutique gift shop where you walk in and it’s full of colour, smells divine and has quality products that are a little bit different than anywhere else you’ve been? The reality is that it’s really costly to set up a business like this. So in October 2020, in a world where we had a global pandemic and everything was a little unsettled, I decided to start small and online (Instagram initially) and see whether I’d be able to build a product base that people would like and go from there! I reached out to a number of suppliers of independent businesses and secured some stock to get me going. 

Describe your business in 3 words

Fun, unique, creative.

Did Covid impact your business and how did you respond?

We started our business during the pandemic. It was at a time when people were buying online and supporting local, so in that sense we were able to continue to operate. People were able to order lovely gifts and bespoke gift boxes from me and collect/deliver in a safe way.

What would your dream holiday be right now?

We have just returned from a couple of weeks in beautiful Cornwall and the Cotswolds, so I can’t be too greedy. I got lots of inspiration mooching around quirky gift shops in quaint villages while there!

What is your best seller?

It’s hard to choose a best seller as most people group products together into bespoke gift boxes for all kinds of occasions. The Bottled Baking kits are really popular though (which are cheaper from us than in John Lewis… just saying!!) I love all of our products but my favourite has got to be Spacemasks, which are a self-heating eye mask which can be found in high-end retailers such as Liberty’s and Selfridges etc. They are such a treat!

What do you think are the top 3 ways someone can support a small business?

1. Check out the small businesses on social media. We use Instagram ( as a great way to showcase our products and grow our customer base. Don’t underestimate how powerful a ‘like’ or a ‘comment’ can be for a small business to drive engagement and reach. We literally do a happy dance when people like our posts. So please press on the heart icon when scrolling as it means a lot!

2. Small businesses can’t afford to offer cheap prices for their products. When buying from a small business you’re helping to build their business, put food on the table and helping them to flourish, as well as supporting the local economy. One person is the CEO, fulfilment, social media person, product buyer, customer service, tea maker and floor sweeper. So that extra couple of pounds you’re paying for something from a small business goes a long way to supporting them to flourish.

3. Tell them what they do well and ideas for improvement. We all love a bit of feedback as it helps us to spot ways we can do things better. If you love what we do, tell us… and tell your friends too! Tag us in your social media posts too…it helps to grow our followers.

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