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Top indies and trade experts lined up for March for Independents conference

Published:  23 January, 2015

Leading sales, buying, finance, management, legal and employment specialists have been lined up to speak at Harpers dedicated conference for independent wine merchants in London on March 3.

March for the IndiesMarch for the Indies

The one day event will be the highlight of the March for the Independents campaign that Harpers is running to put the spotlight on independent merchants in a bid to offer help, support and advice on the key trading issues that matter to local retailers in the UK.

As part of the campaign Harpers will be running a series of Action Weeks throughout February on putting the spotlight on different retailing and small business issues.

Issues covered will include:

  • how independents and suppliers can work closer together
  • how to get your MP and local media on your side and understand your business issues
  • steps independents need to take to get on top of the latest business and employment issues
  • what are the key wine and spirits trends relevant to independents that might help boost their sales and profits

The campaign then hopes to bring independent merchants together from across the UK to discuss these issues at the March for the Independents conference to be held at the St Ermin's Hotel in London on March 3.

The agenda of the day will include top level talks from leading trade specialist as well as the chance for merchants themselves to share their views and experiences in a series of seminars, panels and trade debates.

Expert advice will come from Tim Wilson of the Wilson Drinks Report who will look at how specific sales data from independents compares to mainstream off and on-trade data covering wines and spirits.

David Sables of Sentinel Management who trains top grocery companies, including drinks producers in how to negotiate with the major supermarkets, will share insights on how independents can best work with suppliers.

He will be joined by consultant Angela Mount, former head wine buyer at Somerfield, who will offer her top tips on how to negotiate with suppliers.

Alysia Wanczyk, marketing director of crowdfunding company, Seedrs, which has helped merchants such as Humble Grape raise financing, will explain how crowdfunding schemes work and the opportunities it offers for wine merchants.

Andrew Park, solicitor and director of APP Law, will examine the latest business regulations and legal issues that independent wine merchants need to be aware of.

Whilst David Richardson of the Wine & Spirit Trade Association will go through key trading and regulatory issues around wine, spirits and retailing.

Mike Greene, business entrepreneur and specialist in convenience retailing, will offer his personal insights in to what makes a good local, community retailer.

Top independent wine merchants will look at how they have been able to grow and expand their businesses with direct advice from Matt Harris of Planet of the Grapes, Ted Sandbach, Oxford Wine Company, Stephen Finch of Vagabond Wines, Borough Wines and Alexis Meszoly of D and D London and the New Street Wine Shop.

Other merchants lined up to take part include:

Ruth Yates of Corks Out and  Charlie Bennett, e-commerce director at Berry Bros & Rudd, will look at how merchants can build their online sales offer

Philip Amps of Amps Wine and Hal Wilson of Cambridge Wine Merchants will discuss the issue of bonding wine in the UK and how the use of duty deferements could help independents

They will also join Jamie Hutchinson of the Sampler to examine how merchants are increasingly joining up to buy wine directly from producers around the world.

The day is open to all independent wine merchants in the UK and if you would like to take part in any of the sessions or share your experiences then please contact Richard Siddle on

Full details of how to register are at the dedicated MarchfortheIndependents website.