How did Leeds Love Affair start?

Hi, I’m the founder of Leeds Love Affair. I’m Lola *waves* In 2011 I moved to the city centre and began to find out about the number of great independent places to eat, drink and visit in Leeds. I grew up here as a teenager and was amazed at the number of fabulous independent businesses thriving in a city I thought I knew.

Sprawled across the city and often lacking budget to advertise in mainstream magazines, newspapers and websites, many of these local start ups talked to me about the challenges of trying to market themselves on a tight budget and the importance of conveying the camaraderie of the indie scene in Leeds. My parents have their own businesses in Leeds and it made me wonder about the possibilities of opening marketing up for everyone, making it free and easier for independents to get their message out to the public.

Why does Leeds Love Affair only feature independent businesses?

I wanted to create a website that was a step away from the usual review magazines and blogs – presenting businesses in their own words and telling their own story to the people of Leeds. I also wanted to make sure that the writing remained independent – no influence by companies that could afford to pay for advertising, no hidden agendas in choosing the places we feature based on the need to earn revenue.

I also wanted to create a means of advertising that was totally free for indie businesses; a self-sustained project that ran off the steam of volunteers and goodwill.

With a little help from my close friend Dan Yates, I built a simple blog and my first feature on Wax Bar & Jukejoint went live on 1 February 2012. My target was 50 readers a month. This soon blossomed to over 25,000…

How is Leeds Love Affair run?

Leeds Love Affair publishes regular features about the great places and people of Leeds. I’d love to say we publish each week but that can be hard sometimes as my team is very small and we all have fulltime jobs. We write as often as we can.

I’m still the editor of the website and I am supported by a fabulous team of volunteer writers, designers, developers and photographers. They all give their time for free and they’re enthusiasm and excitement about the city of Leeds is absolutely incredible.

How can I get involved?

We accept articles, images and ideas from anyone and everyone! You don’t have to be from Leeds, you don’t have to be a professional – all that we ask is that you follow a few simple rules and that your work is submitted for free.

Similarly, if you have an independent business in the Leeds area that you would like featured on the website, please get in touch and tell us about yourself. More details on how to get hold of us are available our Contact page.

I hope that you’ll enjoy this site and visit us every so often to see how the story of independent Leeds is unfolding. We all hope that this website will encourage you to try new places and meet new faces that you might not have thought of before.

– Lola Wilson, Founder of Leeds Love Affair.