May 18, 2021
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Two more pop-up drives aim to fill empty stores with indie makers

May 18, 2021

The large number of empty stores in the UK means more initiatives are being launched to make the most of these spaces with news of two drives to plug the gaps. The latest are from Pop-Up Club and Fassion.

Pop-Up Club

Pop-up marketplace Pop-Up Club is a four-year-old company that organises artisan markets and pop-ups in empty retail units. It opened the first in a series of reopening pop-ups in Chelmsford last month and unveiled another on Monday at Seven Dials in London that will run until late August.

There will also be pop-ups in Brighton from early July and Manchester starting next month.

The pop-ups are aimed at those who’ve used used lockdown as an opportunity to “turn side hustles into businesses” and consumers increasingly looking to shop at independents to support small companies following the return to some kind of normality.

The Pop-Up Club initiative will fill empty retail units and markets and avoid the unappealing appearance of vacant shop units. The company said that in 2020, the initiative generated an income of over £140k for small businesses trading in its spaces.

It said that pitches range from just £25 per day “so are a cost-effective way for makers to showcase their items”. 

Pop-Up Club will also offer spaces for workshops and will hold events with local influencers at several of the sites to celebrate the launches.

Founder Tillie Peel said: “The company enjoyed great success pre-pandemic, but now more than ever there’s a need to attract shoppers back to the high street. Many have gotten used to shopping online so it’s essential that there are initiatives to pull them back to the shops.

“Our mission is simple: we want to provide artists, makers, designers, and small businesses, that have sustainability at their core, affordable pop up spaces, as well as drive footfall to the area.”

Only last week we reported that in a “groundbreaking” move, Lone Design Club (LDC) has linked with landlords across the UK to occupy empty retail spaces. The aim is to give small brands access to locations they wouldn't generally be able to afford.

Rather than just acting as retail spaces, the empty units are being used as shoot locations, host sites for various LFW activities, shoppable windows, dark stores (locations converted to local fulfilment centres), and physical pop-ups.


Meanwhile, the second new initiative comes next week when we’ll see a pop-up for a new online social marketplace called Fassion that has launched “with the ambition of changing the fashion landscape, by giving greater exposure and accessibility to independent brands”.

Bridging digital and physical, in late May it starts a residency at Boxpark Shoreditch. The week-long pop-up store will feature the collections of 20 “independent, slow fashion brands who are looking to positively shape the future of the industry”.

The company said that “Covid-19 has disrupted the fashion industry and given greater power to large fast fashion corporations. With the high street faltering, there has been an increased need to digitalise. Those corporations with substantial digital marketing budgets have seen sales soar, at the expense of independent brands who are struggling to be heard amongst the noise.”

While Fassion is an online platform, its founders believe “fast fashion retailers should not be the only ones benefiting from the boom”

Co-founder and CEO Billy Butt said: “While we see the pop-up store as a great chance for brands to engage with customers, we believe we can also give customers the same joy of discovery and social shopping experience that they would have in-store, online. 

“Fassion is focused on becoming the first truly social marketplace, solely for independent brands and designers to connect with their customers. We believe independent fashion is shaping the future of the industry, joining the fight against unsustainable practices, tiresome trends and corporate strongholds. Fassion's goal is to build a community where like-minded individuals can spearhead the independent fashion movement into the mainstream.”

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