Six in ten Brits would consider going into business with a relative

More than half (57 per cent) of small businesses employ family members and on average 16 new family businesses open every day, research finds.

According to a study by American Express, joining forces with a partner or spouse (44 per cent) is the most popular choice for going into business with a relative, followed by mothers and brothers with 17 per cent of the vote apiece.

For customers, the personal nature of family-run businesses is an important motivator for shopping with them, with nearly a third (30 per cent) saying they are on first name terms with their local family shop keeper. 

Loyalty also extends to customers’ wallets. Six in ten claim they are more generous when it comes to spending in small, family-run businesses, with one in five prepared to pay more, even if they could find their purchase cheaper elsewhere.

American Express, principal supporter of Small Business Saturday, commissioned industry photographer and art director Dan Rubin to capture the personalities behind the counters of some of the UK’s family-run shops.

In a special photography series, exhibited at the Proud Archivist in London this week, ten shop owners are depicted alongside the relatives they work with.

The shops featured include: Poppy Pickering in Yorkshire, a newly-established chocolate and cake shop owned by a father and daughter duo; third-generation Indian restaurant Brilliant Restaurant in Middlesex; the Cuomo family in Faversham, Kent who have branched out from 170 years in farming to run Macknade Fine Foods farm shop and a mother and daughter duo who run a children’s toys and gift store, Jurnie, in Solihull.

Heather Laverne, vice president of American Express says, ‘We know from our own research that over three quarters of people in the UK feel that small, family run businesses form an important part of their local community. Dan’s photography has captured the unique spirit of these family businesses and by shining a spotlight on them, in the run up to Small Business Saturday (5th December), we hope to encourage people to support their local small businesses and shop small.”

Further reading on family businesses

Ben Lobel

Ben Lobel

Ben Lobel was the editor of from 2010 to 2018. He specialises in writing for start-up and scale-up companies in the areas of finance, marketing and HR.

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