PopUp Britain, the retail arm of national enterprise campaign StartUp Britain, has announced it is to open a flagship pop-up shop on London’s King’s Road on May 9th aimed at helping to support the high street entrepreneurs of the future.
StartUp Britain co-founder Emma Jones said: “Most online retail start-ups are beginning to realise that in order to build a solid brand that will stand the test of time, they need to be offline in bricks and mortar as well as creating a good online presence.
“Around 60 per cent of new businesses are now started at home, often by one person. They need to meet their customers, find out what people think about their products face-to-face and work with fellow entrepreneurs to get a physical feel for the retail landscape. They need to effectively ‘showroom’ their own online brand in order to take it to the next level.
“Our shop in King’s Road is designed to give start-ups from around the country a low cost opportunity to test their products in an area that has famously played a key role in supporting independent British brands for decades.”
The outlet will offer short-term opportunities to start-ups and micro businesses, which will travel from all over the country to share the space over the next 12 months.
It is part of a pioneering initiative aimed at matching online retail start-ups with empty high street shops. The scheme, which is backed by private sector funding, was piloted by the not-for-profit campaign last year. A former estate agent shop in Richmond, Surrey, which had been empty for a year, played host to more than 60 start-ups in five months, with 91% reporting the experience was good for business.
A working shop installation in the Department for Communities and Local Government is currently showcasing the PopUp Britain model to local Town Teams, with a view to helping them recreate the scheme across British high streets. The first of these is set to open in Surrey next month.
The new shop in London’s King’s Road is a former electronics showroom which has been empty for three months. It has the capacity to house twelve start-ups at a time, each paying £200 for a two week stint to cover costs.
Emma added: “As more big brands exit the high street, it’s becoming clear that they are not going to come back. We want to use these empty shops to give local businesses a boost, as well as offering the British shopper a new experience and a chance to support the British economy.”
Mark Little, UK managing director of PopUp Britain sponsor Intuit, said: “PopUp Britain has clearly found a model for regenerating the high street that benefits landlords, retailers and customers alike and it is great to see the project going from strength to strength. We’re proud to have been supporting pop-up retailers from the start of the project by providing a low cost way for them to take card payments and never miss a sale with Intuit Pay and we look forward to seeing even more small businesses given the opportunity to thrive in this prestigious retail destination.”
The scheme has won the backing of retail expert George Davies, the man behind the success of Next and George at Asda.
He said: “We all know the High Street is struggling, from the competition of out of town and online shopping, with record numbers of empty shops. The PopUp Britain concept is an excellent project, not only in getting rid of the unsightly hoardings, but most importantly giving an opportunity to small entrepreneurial businesses to experience working on the high street. In the past these small businesses would have been precluded by the onerous terms of the landlord and tenants act.”
People interested in becoming part of the shop, should apply at [ilink url=”http://www.popupbritain.com/apply”]www.popupbritain.com/apply[/ilink]