One of the questions we get asked more than any other is ‘where did your London store go?’ or ‘why did you close it?’ I thought it might be good to explain the thinking behind that particular pop up adventure as we are on the verge of taking the mighty brave step of opening a permanent store in the city in the Spring of 2020! As a small independent company but with a lot of customers and trade clients in and around London, I have always been itching to open a store there. Once I started looking for a site though I was fairly shocked to say the least by the extortionate rents being charged in our favoured areas. Anyone who knows me will agree I’m a bit of a gambler and never fear taking the riskier decisions but even for me this step seemed too big, so the idea of a temporary pop up shop was suddenly very appealing.
The ‘all or nothing’ mentality I can’t seem to shake did kick back in though and we really lucked out with our first site – an old listed bank providing a huge store over two floors with over 5000 sq ft right on the Kings Road. Rented from the lovely folk at Cadogan Estates, the site had a permanent tenant but they weren’t due to move in for some time so we managed over 9 months there. It was the fastest re-fit in retail history I think, with family and friends all jumping in and a turn around from shell (with only a ladder to access the basement!) to store in about 2 weeks. A serious lack of sleep but all good fun at the time!
Having the pop up and the increased brand awareness this gave us has been completely transformational for our little company and I would highly recommend the experience to any retail brand thinking about taking the bigger step into bricks and mortar. Once our temporary lease ended our friends at Cadogan did everything they could to help us stay on the Kings Road so we took a further even shorter lease at the old LK Bennett store. Although it was a smaller unit, the location was much better – being that much closer to Sloane Square. I particularly loved the shopfront here and it was a great success for us.
Having pop up stores like these is definitely not for the faint hearted as a huge amount of work goes into making them look beautiful and stocking them, only to have to move out in just a few short months (it’s kind of like moving house but on a larger scale and twice in a year)! The priceless thing it has given me though is the confidence to know that we can make a success of a London store, which has meant that the decision to find a permanent home there has been far less stressful. It’s so lovely to hear many of our wonderful customers saying they can’t wait till we get back to the city as well!
So the adventure continues as our new home has been found and all being well we will sign contracts and move in the Spring! Guildford first in a couple of weeks time – giving us three stores conveniently in a line up the A3, vital when I’m still juggling family and work! Do follow us on instagram for updates and announcements and I really hope you will come and see us once we are settled in one of our new homes!