Planet Thanet (PT) is a collaboration-based creative digital publication, celebrating small businesses on the South East coast. PT is a concept that takes a practical approach to limit the effects of the current economic climate on independent retailers. Described as England’s ‘Creative Coast’, the idyllic scenery of the South East is home to a thriving arts and culture scene. Giving prominence to Margate, Broadstairs and Ramsgate, whereupon refreshing sea air, grand skies and spectacular beaches and bays sparkle with vigour, feeding the mind, body and soul. Famous painter JMW Turner lived in Margate and declared that ‘the loveliest skies are in the Isle of Thanet’. The beautiful Isle is bursting with small independent businesses, where boldness and innovation have inherently revitalised classic seaside heritage.
The pandemic, cost of living crisis and inflation have had a perpetual negative impact on small business owners and their trade. PT aims to redefine the essence of retail in an overwhelmed industry that lacks compassion for the environment, by prioritising entities that matter the most: people and the planet. The persistent drive of fast fashion produces a staggering amount of discarded textile waste every day which primarily ends up in landfill. Thoughtful research on consumer behaviour identified that people’s love and enthusiasm to shop locally at independent businesses is essential when considering a sustainable future. The concept of ‘positive retailing’ invites people to make more pragmatic and considered purchases when investing in their homes or wardrobe; thus, encouraging a circular economy and in turn, a circular community.
PT is part of a mission to change the way we shop. The primary outcome is a screen-based publication in the form of a coded website (www.planetthanet.site), featuring an embedded manifesto and a page per town: Broadstairs, Margate and Ramsgate. The user is encouraged to explore the plethora of small businesses using an interactive and clickable map. The digital publication is also supported by original photography, interviews and insider tips accompanied by print deliverables: postcards with QR codes and a seaside ‘souvenir’ pocketbook documenting the beauty and importance of community life on the coast.
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