Club Workspace were very pleased to be a guest at the launch of StartUp Britain’s ‘StartUp Highstreet’ campaign. This new initiative will see shops full of startups springing up all over the country. Emma Jones, the ever-resplendent StartUp Britain cofounder, was on hand to explain the project’s intentions.
Emma Jones Explains the PopUp Britain Concept
Emma announced that Richmond will play host to the first PopUp Britain venue. Before she explained how the shop itself would work, Emma delved deeper into the StartUp Highstreet project.
The ‘StartUp Highstreet’ project was conceived to tackle two challenges that currently burden Britain’s highstreets. The first problem is this: our highstreets have taken a bit of a hammering recently. Due to the economic downturn, there are quite a few empty shops rearing their ugly heads. Empty shopfronts are troublesome not only for the displaced shopkeepers and out-of-pocket landlords, but the rest of the main-strip suffers due to the stigma of an empty shop. The second problem is that it is near-enough impossible for a startup or an early-stage business to find their way onto the highstreet at present. The rental costs scare them off from the outset.
The PopUp Britain shops - like the one on Richmond’s High Street, currently open for business! - aim to remedy both of these issues. Shops like Richmond’s little boutique enable six cohabiting startups to share the rent of one shop. By crowdfunding the rent in this manner, each startup pays only one sixth of the sum that they would usually have to face alone. Not only do the tenants benefit, but another bonus is that the landlord still ascertains one-hundred percent of the expected rent.
Another plus, is that as well as being financially viable for both the landlord and the sextet of resident startups, the PopUp Britain shops also drive footfall to other outlets on the highstreet.
Who’s In The Shop?
The first six tenants of the Richmond popup are startups who have great products to sell. Many of them are already very active online, but have been unable to secure any bona-fide shop space until now. I know a lot of our Club Workspace members are in a very similar position to the Richmond Six, and would love the opportunity to gain then sales, traction and customer-feedback that the PopUp Britain experience affords.
Vulpine - This company create cycling clothes that are also make great social-wear. The worlds of fashion and cycling don’t usually collide, as brightly coloured, skin-tight lyrca is rarely ‘the new black.’ Vulpine’s range of clothing is good for the bike and the pub. Their gear reduces that after-ride odour, too!
Elephant Branded - We first met these guys at the StartUp Loans launch. Elephant Branded create fashionable bags from discarded, ethically sourced cement bags. Each time an elephant branded product is purchased, a school-kit is sent to an African school.
Morrow’s Outfitters - This business is a resurrection of a family-run, gentleman’s outfitters that went out of business a couple of decades ago. Now Morrow’s Outfitters specialises in socks. If you need some sartorially elegant hosiery, check them out!
Tier One - Tier One are another clothing brand. Their niche is smart-casual. They create shirts that don’t look shabby at the office, and won’t appear ‘a bit too much’ if you’re on a night out. Another thing worth mentioning is their excellent strapline: seriously shrewd.
Bertie and Jack - This company was named after the co-owners’ first two children - one each! A third little-one has been added to the collective brood since the company’s naming, but the cofounding team agree that they shan’t undergo a rebrand! Bertie and Jack make original and affordable artwork.
Marie Allen Jewellery - Marie’s splendid creations have already had quite the life of their own. Her creations have appeared worldwide in carefully selected jewellers and galleries. If you take a look at her website, it’s easy to see why.
Thank you to the StartUp Britain team for organising this exceptional project and for inviting Club Workspace to the launch. Thank you also to retail expert Clare Rayner, also known as ‘The Retail Champion’, for taking the gathered crowd through some hard figures that support the ideals behind the PopUp Britain project. Lord Young was also in the building, providing his usual wit and gravitas to the occasion. Until next time, thank you all for reading our blog!