Last week, we were invited to the exciting launch of the first ever PopUp Britain shop in Richmond, London.
Part of StartUp Britain’s latest campaign, PopUp Britain provides young businesses with the invaluable opportunity to crowd-fund the cost of ‘setting up shop’ in unused premises on high streets across the UK.
Despite it being 9am on a Monday morning, the room was buzzing with excited chatter and discussion. It was nothing to do the pastries and cupcakes on offer either; everyone was genuinely excited about the latest addition to the local high street. As each PopUp Britain shop will host six new British retailers each fortnight, it signals the start of an important journey for at least 36 young British businesses in Richmond, potentially helping hundreds more home-grown businesses as the initiative spreads to other towns.
The potential rewards of the campaign are clear: less empty shops and more start-ups able to test the market before making long-term financial commitments. As a sponsoring partner of StartUp Britain and as part of our on-going commitment to support small businesses, Dell will also be providing laptops to the businesses while they are in-store to enable them to track sales, continue offering online activity and engage with customers via social media, all while maintaining a retail space.
In fact, one of the retailers secured the first PopUp Shop sale after a local resident read about their new premises via Twitter and decided to pop in – which goes to show that the initiative also has benefits for customers, the local community and economy – as retail expert Claire Rayner pointed out in her presentation; “A buzzing town draws more consumers than one that seems ‘closed for business’.”
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Over a hundred guests attended the event and we were treated to inspiring and insightful presentations from respected retail experts and local representatives, including Lord Young, enterprise advisor to the Prime Minister. We were also introduced to the first six young start-ups. Full of ambition, promise and excitement, it’s impossible to not want to support these entrepreneurs, ranging from jewellers and artists to high quality sock designers, specialist clothes companies and charitable bag sellers.
After the launch, we had a look in the shop and chatted with some of the new retailers. I urge you to do the same – it’s a fantastic campaign to breathe some life back into local high streets and a great chance to meet some promising entrepreneurs.
Lord Young put it best: “Personally, I’d like to see pop ups popping up all over.” Would love to hear your thoughts or questions about StartUp Britain or this event here or at @GriffithsAtDell on Twitter.