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On Branching Out From Books, with Bear Bookshop


Image source: Bear Bookshop

Launching a retail store is always a leap of faith. But launching a retail store in the middle of a global pandemic? Well that’s a new kind of gutsy. 

But that’s exactly what English teacher turned children’s bookshop owner Jenny McCann did when she opened Bear Bookshop in Bearwood (UK) back in December 2020. 

We caught up with Jenny to hear all about setting up her store, why she’s so passionate about getting books into the hands of children, and how CREOATE was able to help her along the way. 



Hi Jenny! Tell us about the process of setting up Bear Bookshop

We opened in December. We were due to open in November, but then obviously non-essential retail was closed for the UK, so we were delayed in opening because of that. We managed to be open for just one month before the third UK lockdown hit! 

That said, I’m still as excited and enthusiastic about this as I was when I first came up with the idea at the start of 2019. I was an English teacher before I became a bookshop owner, and I absolutely, passionately believe that reading is the best thing that you can do for a child in so many ways, in terms of their academic readiness, their ability to do well at school, their wellbeing, their ability to switch off from the world and relax a little bit, their imagination, their creativity… The positives of reading in childhood and in adulthood are enumerate, and far too many for me to talk about here! 

I have three children of my own and that was a huge factor in me deciding to leave teaching and to set up this shop. I wanted to bring that joy of reading, and that exposure to as many high quality books as possible, to my own local community. 

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How has CREOATE helped? 

What I love most about Creoate is the ease of getting everything all in one place. When I was first starting up, that just made life so much easier for me, because finding different suppliers, and different things that I wanted to stock… I didn’t know where to look, and there’s just so much out there.

We also stock a range of small toys — PlayPress and Calafant are both brand that we’ve used with CREOATE. And it fits in with the shop’s ethos of wanting to nurture imagination and creativity. They’re all non-plastic — in fact most of them are made with paper — which fits in beautifully with the books, and they’re all encouraging of open-ended play, so they’re all really good for developing that creativity, and it’s just so easy to buy through CREOATE and have them all in one marketplace. 

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Thanks so much for sharing your story with us, Jenny! Be sure to follow @bearbookshop on Instagram, or go to to check out the online shop.

Would you like to share your experience of setting up a store with our readers? Drop us an email ( to get involved! 

CREOATE is on a mission to make wholesale work for independents. Shop Now.

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