You may not guess it by the name, but DVD Megastore and its sister store Buttercup Bookshop are a true tale of independent enterprise for Shrewsbury. The brainchild of local entrepreneur Estaban Bridges started life as a market stall in the town’s indoor market. Since then it has gone from strength to strength and has found a new home in The Collective at Shrewsbury Shopping Centre. We caught up with Estaban for a chat about these success stories and his passion for empowering like-minded entrepreneurs to follow their dreams.
Could you tell us a little bit about the two businesses you run in The Collective and how you started them?
DVDMEGASTORE started as a simple table-top display of just 150 DVDs in the Shrewsbury indoor market, as part of The Princes Trust New Enterprise Initiative. Over the last 6 years we have constantly worked towards expanding the sizes and ranges of products available. We now boast over 10,000 DVDs, boxsets and games. We also sell official merchandise, headsets and controllers, too.
Buttercup Bookshop, my latest venture, has started with 4500 fiction paperback books, 500 children’s books and a whole DVD documentary section. I will also be offering this space for independent and local authors to hold book signings and/or promotional days, free of charge.
What inspired you to set up your two shops?
Since the age of 16, I have always been in full-time retail employment, but after an injury to my legs and some time out I decided that working for myself would give me the flexibility that I needed…so the mission to become self-employed began!
I remembered learning about The Princes Trust so approached them and I was able to join a one week crash course on how to manage being self-employed. Upon completion, I was assigned a mentor for two years and, with this knowledge and support in hand, I signed up to a stall in the market. Thus, the empire was born.
With Buttercup Bookshop — named after my tortoise — I always wanted to own a book store. I released a self-published book when I was 18 and helped inspire, set up and run the Telford and Wrekin Young Writers’ group with the region’s Library service. When I released my book I found it difficult to find support for book signings and promotional spaces and so, now that I am able, I wish to offer this service free of charge to encourage and support creativity, innovation and positivity.
Why is it important for people to support independent businesses locally?
Supporting local independent businesses is more than just giving a business owner some of your well-earned cash.
We appreciate and are thankful for every visit, every sale, every social media interaction; it all helps in providing a positivity injection to not only the owner, but also the local economy.
We take pride in ownership of our little empires and in turn this creates employment opportunities and the possibility of other benefits. For example, I have personally volunteered for The Princes Trust, I now employ four local legends, I have opened up my store allowing work experience opportunities for various local initiatives and we have donated products and raised money for charity. Now, with Buttercup Bookshop we are supporting authors.
Behind our welcome signs and window displays are owners and associates working towards making the world a better place, one customer at a time. By supporting independent businesses you support a vision, a mission and more often than not a good cause, too.
What advice would you give someone thinking about starting up a new business?
I have a Diploma in Life Coaching and a second in Business Coaching. I completed these to help empower myself with knowledge, ideas and coping mechanisms for the concept innovation and creation of DVDMEGASTORE. My suggestion would be, before you spend any money on your ideas and dreams, invest in yourself, first. Research, learn and discover. Knowledge is power and will help you side step some mistakes early on. Secondly, avoid negative people, places and habits. Lastly, believe in yourself.
Why is a regeneration project like The Collective so important?
This project is so important for many, various reasons and I am a strong believer and supporter in the creation of more of these across the country.
I will always champion a scheme that provides affordable, supportive and accessible routes to market for new and existing enterprise.
It is essential that we allow enthusiastic business creators the possibility to test the market for their concepts and products and that we are able to provide the opportunity for local independent entrepreneurs to have a positive, cost effective and progressive stepping stone to potentially, life supporting self-employment and economy boosting enterprise. Areas like The Collective allow this much needed space for new businesses, to not only be created, but; also to continue to thrive thereafter.
Do you have a favourite film and book you can share with us (and can people purchase them from you?)
One of my favourite films is American Gangster with Denzel Washington; it was this film I watched that encouraged me to ensure my business provided customer engagement, not just customer service. Also, to encourage me to ‘take pride in ownership’ and to ‘provide a product that’s better than the competition, at a price that’s less than the competition’. My original mission statement was ‘Cheaper than the best, Better than the rest’. My favourite book is Trilogy of Leon, by Estaban Bridges!
If you’re feeling inspired by Estaban’s enthusiasm for independent businesses, head over to The Collective where you can find a great selection of locally run shops.
We certainly know how much it means to the proud owners when we support them.