Glassworks Studios is breaking all the retail rules

Glassworks was born from the idea to create a fashion destination for modern women. They offered up both of their retail shops as a ShopShare – one in the heart of Shoreditch and the other in Dalston – to work with other collaborators who share and fit the brand vision. They have now hosted over 12 fashion and accessories ShopShare pop ups, from the likes of Be-Snazzy, Urbiana and Suite Hazen.

We caught up with Irena Gordon and Lauren Lewis, Director of Glassworks Studios about their experience so far and why hosting a pop up works for them.

It offers something new

Hosting a pop up works well for a new brand as well as the space. It introduces new brands and concepts and at the same time, it creates buzz for the store itself. “It injects a sense of excitement and change, which customers really react well to. We learn from every brand that is in store and it can be the start of a longer partnership”.

Collaborating with new brands also helped Glassworks get to know their own customer base. “We learned more about our customers. What they like, or what they don’t like. How much they are willing to spend and adapt to changes in the store.”

Every project is different

With ShopShare, Glassworks are able to host several brands at one time. Since “every project is different”, according to Irena, “it can be completely different to the way you are used to working but it’s a great way to adapt and learn. You learn as time goes on exactly what type of collaborations work and what doesn’t. It’s also a great way to introduce new customers to the store and see a real mix of clientele.”

“We use the We Are Pop Up platform to find new brands to partner with in our London stores. It is simple to use and has introduced us to great brand partners.”

Keeping an open mind to the type of collaborations is also essential to getting the most out of the pop up experience both for landlords and tenants. Irena notes, “The best collaborations are ones that feel fitting for the brand and store integrally, even if it’s a concept that’s never been tried before.” Glassworks keeps an open mind when choosing who to work with, “anything from clothing to coffee and juice brands.”

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Be true to your own brand

The Glassworks team have some invaluable insights about ShopShare:

“While seeking out new experiences may be exciting, it’s also important to stay true to your own brand when collaborating with others. Ask yourself the following questions:
• Does it feel right or your store?
• Would your customers appreciate their presences?
• Is there scope for future projects?”

Irena’s take-home advice is to “never do anything that feels out of your comfort zone. It’s a reflection on your brand too.”

As for brands that wish to rent out a space, it’s always important to speak to the landlord about your ideas and vision for your pop up. “Be open to alternative ways of working and conditions. The landlord will always try to accommodate requests, but be respectful of what is actually possible. It’s a journey for you both.”

Glassworks Shoreditch is located at 190 Shoreditch High Street, London, E1 6HU.
Glassworks Dalston is located at 78 Stoke Newington Road, London, N16 7XB.

If you’re interested in booking your next pop up with Glassworks, click here for more information and to get started.

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A Different Take on Portraits: Parallax in London

New York-based photographer, Ricky Chapman, is in London from 6 to 9 November to launch the follow up to his portrait series, Parallax. Comprised of just two shots per subject with no retakes or retouching except for contrast, it’s a way to capture people as well showcase photography as a medium and process. We had a quick chat with Ricky on his how this project came about.

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What was the inspiration for this project?

It was half a challenge for myself and a bit of a front to the industry. I had done a ton of commercial work such as portraiture for school and other people. There was something about it that was making me crazy and I needed to do something that was for myself. In New York, I have this great group of people that I care about and I wanted to start photographing them.

At the same time, I was really frustrated in the way the photo industry works nowadays with everything that’s so quick quick quick. Everything is digital and people don’t really understand the craft.

I said, “I’m going to take two photos. I wanted to do something that had a common thread.” You have a front-on portrait and I wanted to give another aspect of each person. But the actual each set, there’s only 2 photographs taken. If I make a mistake, there’s only two recorded and kept. There’s no retouching and it is as it is.

Why did you choose London as the follow up from your first series in New York?

That would go back to George. She was kind of the inspiration to do this here in London. She was living here in London and I was living in New York. It was a way for me to put myself here for a longer period of time and to give her time.

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You were able to fund this project through Kickstarter. How was that experience for you?

It definitely raised the money that was needed to get here and it took care of aspects such as shooting, travel, post-production and the show. I was glad to do it because aside from raising the money, it was able to get the project out in front of people before it even started. It was nice.

Seeing those people who supported your campaign, even if it was just $5, come out in person and see your work is meaningful. Knowing that they can now see this thing that they were a part of and that it wasn’t something that stayed online. It’s cool to see something online but to be able to stand in front of something physically and look at it; it’s a different experience.

What’s next for Parallax or any upcoming projects?

I’d like to take the next series to a place I’ve never gone before or somewhere I don’t speak the language. Maybe someplace like Moscow or some place in Brazil. Also maybe looking into starting a whole new project, something with colour, maybe.

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Ricky’s book will be available for sale. Orders of portraits and posters are also available.

Connect with Ricky:

Ricky Chapman Photography
Website
Facebook
Twitter

Visit the Parallax: London exhibition at 70 Paul Street, London EC2A 4NA.
Open from 6 to 9 November from 10 am to 6 pm.

To have your next pop up at this location, click here for more information.

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“Don’t be scared, and start slowly” – Chef Perez Cocina’s Esteban Perez brings us behind the scenes at Colombian Street Food

With small markets, pubs, and cafes lined up among Camden High Street, you’ll find the Colombian Street Kitchen at no. 11. This is a new concept by Chef Pérez Cocina owner Esteban Pérez.

Chef Pérez Cocina is a catering business specialising in modern Colombian cuisine, with its focus on introducing the unique flavour and taste to the British market.

The story behind the Colombian Street Kitchen name

Having operated two successful pop ups before, Esteban wanted to focus on an entirely new experience. “My pop ups before were for sit down meals. The idea with this time around was to create food that people can take away.”

“When working on my business plan, I identified the type of people that would come and try my food,” Esteban says. “I knew that my customers were between 24 to 40 and were usually festival goers who like good on the go.” Knowing who his customers were helped Esteban develop a specific type of food that is new and will be known for its quality.

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Location. Location. Location.

Location definitely helps the footfall and reception of a pop up. After reading about a shop that popped up in the same location in Camden, Esteban knew that it would be a good fit for the Colombian Street Kitchen. “People would come in and tell me, ‘there’s nothing like this in Camden.’” He recounts a time a customer told him he had gotten down off the bus after seeing the shop’s sign while passing by.

Having a place that is known for heavy footfall, it was a good opportunity to also introduce new products. Since people were not familiar with Colombian cuisine, Esteban promoted his pickles that he designed specifically for this pop up. “People would be curious and ask about it. They were able to try it here and we receive a lot of good feedback.”

Insider tip: find out how to reach new customers with our Ask the experts blog post.

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Be proactive

Social media was a key tool in promoting the Colombian Street Kitchen. “I used my Facebook page to let people know about what’s going on,” says Esteban. Instagram and Twitter were also important in getting the word out. Find out how to make the most of Twitter for your pop up from our experts.

Taking advantage of the situation such as location is also vital to running a successful pop up. “I knew people want to try new things, so we did a lot of sampling,” says Esteban. “I’m noisy during the afternoon, so I’d be outside telling people to ‘come inside and try our food’. People I was talking to during the first week were the ones that kept returning.” It’s important to remain consistent in order to have a steady flow of people coming in to visit the shop.

Don’t be scared and start slowly

For those who are thinking of launching their own pop up, Esteban advises to take the chance. “Don’t be scared. When you want to do a pop up, usually it’s because you know what you have is good.”

Another tip he has is to start slowly. When he first started, Esteban only booked for 9 days. “I didn’t want to spend a lot of money because I wasn’t sure. But after 9 days and the feedback I received, I knew that it worked. I ended up extending it to a month.”

If you would like your pop up held at 11 Camden High Street, check out the space or discover more for yourself here.

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“5 reasons for giving back” by Stuart Langley from Disappearing Dining Club

Disappearing Dining Club was launched by Stuart Langley in October 2010 “after too many years working for other people in bars, restaurants and members’ clubs in London, Melbourne and Ibiza, and innumerable music festivals across the UK”. Currently he runs numerous gastronomical experiences such as back in 5 Minutes, a restaurant inside a clothes shop on Brick Lane, dinner parties in unusual and surprising spaces in London and food holidays in Devon and Ibiza. Although it is a business with a focus on profit, Disappearing Dining Club is committed to more than just food and drinks. They recently started using their dinner parties to raise money for Teenage Cancer Trust. Stuart Langley explains why this community initiative is a part of the Disappearing Dining Club philosophy.

 Stuart Langley, Dissapearing Dining Club
Stuart Langley, Dissapearing Dining Club

Here are Stuart Langley’s Top 5 reasons for giving back:

1. It’s Your Business – so why not make it a really good business?

Disappearing Dining Club is a for profit enterprise.  We want to make money.  We want to make good money.  But we want to make that money in ways that we think are ‘right’.  This includes how we look after our guests, how we price our food, how we train our staff, but also why we raise money for Teenage Cancer Trust along the way.  We do it because we can, because it’s a good thing to do, and because I think it’s my responsibility to try and make DDC the best kind of business it can be.  

2. Word of Mouth – feed the machine

We want people to talk about us and recommend us to their friends.  It’s good if people think about us as more than just a place for food and drink.  DDC is a place for music, a place for spaces, a place for discovery, a place to meet new people and make new friends.  There should always be something new and a reason to come and visit us for the first, second, third or fifteenth time.  Raising money for Teenage Cancer Trust is another thing that we and our guests can talk about.

3. Good people support good people

As a small businesses, you need ambassadors to help you grow.  People with skills, connections, resources and networks that can be shared with you, just because they like what you do.  I hope that connecting DDC with a charity at a very early stage has shown us to be a ‘good’ company run by ‘good’ people, and that other ‘good’ people will recognise that.  I have numerous helpers, advisors and mentors who have donated time and effort to help DDC become a better business.  I think the work we do with Teenage Cancer Trust has helped like-minded people to identify us as good people to work with. 

4. Align yourself with future partners

Lots of businesses support charities, and when I was looking to work with a charity I was very aware of the other businesses we might end up becoming associated with.  For me it had to be a cancer charity (my family has a longstanding and somewhat unfortunate relationship with the Big C), and I liked the idea that the money DDC raised would go to actual care – rather than just research.  It also introduced us to, or extended our relationship with other companies and brands that support TCT including Ben Sherman.  It can’t hurt to be working with people you respect towards a common goal.

5. Karma – be excellent to each other

I don’t believe in karma – but I do believe in how incredibly wrong I am about a lot of things.  So why not keep on the right side of karma eh?

To support Disappearing Dining Club, follow these links:

www.disappearingdiningclub.co.uk
Twitter: @DiningClub
Facebook: facebook.com/disappearingdining

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Pop up shops rise to the challenge

Pop ups are now a mainstay of retail life, said the Financial Times this week. They asked our CEO Nick Russell to estimate the number of pop up shops in London. Read his reply and the FT’s take on the rise of the pop ups…

Pop up stores rise to challenge of reviving retail, says Financial Times
Pop up stores rise to challenge of reviving retail, says Financial Times

Re-imagining what a pop up shop can be

Aaron Shapiro has written a great piece over on Fast Company about how larger retailers can re-imagine the role which physical stores play in their business, as customers shop more and more online. We agree with Aaron that shops are becoming venues for all sorts of exciting new activities, and the pop up movement is a big part of this. Whether you’re an online business which has never thought about going bricks and mortar, or you’re looking for new ways to energise your existing store, here are five useful twists on what a pop up can be.

Pop up as showroom
Even if your business operates mostly online, a physical shop or pop up allows customers to see your product or service in the real world, meaning they’re more likely to make that online purchase. Apple stores operate like this.

Pop up as community
Your pop up doesn’t have to sell physical products, or even anything at all. Use the space to run workshops and events, and bring people together. The School of Life and Rough Trade East both build communities around their stores.

Pop up as collection point
Perhaps you’ve run a Kickstarter campaign, and now it’s time to send out rewards. Instead of splashing cash on postage, why not set up a reward pick-up space where your funders get to connect with you instead of their postal worker?

Pop up as maker space
This is a really exciting area for pop ups, as 3D printing and other technologies are enabling design and craft types to create custom items. Best of all for customers, they get to watch their purchase being made. Tatty Devine has lasercutting machines in all its stores.

Pop up as billboard
You could buy an advertising hoarding, but a shop space is so much more effective. Your location, your signage, a peep through the windows into what’s going on inside – everything is a message to customers.

We hope this gives you some ideas for your next real world retail adventure…

CouCo launches their Pop Up Shop @ BoxPark – 24-30 July 2013

Co-founded by Tess and Lisa, two cousins from Munich who have made London their home, the idea behind CouCo is to create a platform to showcase sustainable boutique brands- all of which have an online presence- and connect them to the UK market. CouCo does this with the help of a Pop Up Shop – the first of which is happening in London in a few days!

“What’s special about CouCo is our hands on approach in selecting the brands we bring on board. We make a point of meeting the makers in person and on location to confirm that we share the same values and principles. This is the only way we can vouch for the products and all that they stand for.” Tess, CouCo Co-founder

CouCo current headliner- PLAYN- are makers of eco-friendly, handcrafted, designer eyewear. This newly hatched brand of bespoke eyewear is celebrating its UK launch and what better way to celebrate than by popping up in London’s one and only Boxpark: 24th – 30th of July?

CouCo's PLAYN eyewear pop up shop returns to BOXPARK!

“PLAYN fits perfectly within the Boxpark spirit and we look forward to showcasing the new eyewear collection and the innovative concept behind it: ordering your glasses through playn.com cuts out all middlemen, allowing a great price for a quality pair of bespoke designer eyewear. And it’s eco-friendly too! We can’t wait to share our excitement with Shoreditch and the rest of the world alike. No doubt it will catch on!” Lisa, CouCo Co- founder

Visit the PLAYN showroom at Boxpark and celebrate summer PLAYNstyle, come rain or shine!

Pop Up Shop Story : Atomica Gallery looks forward

In a previous post, we shared the story of Finchittida Finch’sdf pop-up: a shop developed from scratch by a previously online-only business. This week we’re happy to introduce Atomica Gallery (@atomicagallery), one of the few truly pop-up art galleries which ran from December 4th – 24th this past holiday season. They’ve recently secured a long-term space in Hackney and we were eager to know what the journey has been like to go from pop-up to full shop.

We met up with Atomica Gallery founders Orla and Holly over coffee and brownies to hear more about what it is like to be a start-up gallery, and how the pop-up model has helped facilitate their goals and opened new doors. Holly is an experienced gallerist, working in both Sydney and Los Angeles with a number of the artists they currently show. And Orla’s background in promotion and events ensures that their openings generate a healthy buzz. Their penchant for the strange, retro, punk and pop combined in curious and lovely ways at their December pop-up. The relentless attention to detail both within the works themselves as well as their weird and simple curation proved that big explosions can be contained in small packages.

Orla and Holly came to their selected artists in an unconventional way, “Some of the artists we show have been close to us for a very long time. But we also love showcasing previously un-seen artists or those that may never have been shown in London before.” It was clear that a real challenge of curating a show with so many great artists to choose from – especially in a concise space – is the selection. For their pop-up, Holly and Orla printed out copies of all of their favorite artists’ work (hundreds!) and went through the process of whittling down to just a select few. But they are constantly on the hunt for yet-to-be-discovered artists in the UK and beyond, “We have a huge list of artists that we want to work with. We stumble across a lot of amazing artists through blogs and circumstance. So it’s not like we only want to work with established names, and we are always open to chance.”

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The Inside of Atomica Gallery’s Pop-up in Shoreditch

An Advisor at Hackney Business Enterprise encouraged Atomica to do pop-ups as a way to ‘test-trade.’ By launching a new project this way, fresh businesses are able to develop a strong sense of themselves and learn through experience without the risks and investment required for longer-term rentals. But sourcing a great space, for the short or long-term, is always a challenge.

Holly explained the difficulties they had locating and accessing the right spot for their pop-up, “When we were looking for our December pop-up space, it was really stressful. We thought of many potential places around East London initially, but as it was our first big showcase we wanted an area with high traffic, and that was already warm to the idea of a pop-up. Getting exposure and building a following was one of the most important things we hoped to achieve with our pop-up. Shoreditch seemed like an ideal part of town to get the kinds of visibility and interest we needed.” And so they set about with an unconventional campaign: dropping 1-page offers reading “We Would Like To Rent Your Shop,” into the mail slots of every suitable shop.

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Atomica’s Elegant Solution To Driving Footfall

Orla explained, “We got quite a few calls back, but a lot of people didn’t even know what a pop-up was, or else they expected that we would want the space over many months, and expected us to provide full fit-outs. A few weeks with minimal developments to the space was a hard sell. But we found a great place eventually.” While their pop-up was a success in terms of sales and exposure, their extensive list of artists and a growing catalogue of work meant that a longer-term space was in order.

Their new shop is part of a series of newly converted shop-spaces managed by Hackney Downs Studios. These new locations are playing host to a series of new businesses, from bikes to a bakery and all within 5 minutes from Kingsland Road – one of the busiest streets in the area. Their full-time shop will launch soon (stay tuned on the Atomica Gallery website), but future pop-ups are still a part of Orla and Holly’s future plans, “Because we’re off the beaten track in Hackney, it will give us a great opportunity to connect with a local audience. But we also want to make sure Atomica Gallery can travel to other parts of London and beyond. Some in West and South London, and we’re also thinking about Brighton. We haven’t confirmed anything yet, but doing a kind of tour would be great – a few days or weekends in new locations. We really want to make sure we have a chance to showcase our artists in places that wouldn’t see their work otherwise.”

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Atomica Gallery’s Founders: Orla and Holly

We asked where Atomica Gallery saw itself a few years down the line. Holly shared, “we have done this all on our own. We’re slightly in debt but it’s working. Our new shop is quite a small one. Our dream is to have two, so that we could have simultaneous projects on. The initial plan was to have ‘art for sale’ in one location seven days a week, and then a second with rotating exhibitions. We’re learning as we go. Every week is a learning experience. Anything can happen, really.”

We’re eager for their new shop to launch, and we’ll see you at the opening!

Follow Atomica Gallery on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.
And sign up to their Newsletter for updates on their next event!