While the COVID-19 lockdown has seen much uncertainty, 1 in 10 small businesses have launched new products or expanded their services from home. To celebrate and support budding UK businesses that have responded to adversity with enterprise, Shaftesbury is now exclusively offering start-ups the chance to secure a physical incubator space in Seven Dials and join the destination’s diverse roster of independent brands.
Available for all types of retail brands, including fitness, fashion, lifestyle and homewares, the initiative has officially launched via the Seven Dials website and will be open for entries for a two-week period. A panel of industry experts, including Krissy Turner, Shopping Editor at the Daily Telegraph; Tom Bottomley, Contributing Editor, TheIndustry.fashion, and Retail Consultant; and Retail Director at Shaftesbury, Samantha Bain-Mollison, will come together to judge all the entrants for this unique bricks-and-mortar retail opportunity.
The chosen brands will receive the support from Shaftesbury and Seven Dials to set up and launch their brand for the first time in the iconic West-End village. In the provided pop-up space, the brand will sit alongside a host of Seven Dials’ independent, designer and entrepreneurial brands such as Farah, Diesel, Coco De Mer and Tatty Devine, all of whom have opened flagships in Seven Dials.
Retail Director at Shaftesbury, Samantha Bain Mollison commented: “Seven Dials is home to many independent, flagship and concept stores so this initiative allows us to continue this support of incubating UK based brands. We recognise that 2020 has been very tough for many businesses, but it has also been a time of creativity with many start-ups harnessing the time in lockdown to evolve their brands and we want to help them take the next step with a bricks-and-mortar presence and encourage the future entrepreneurs of the area.”
Joe Kennedy, Co-Founder at Unit London, who recently announced the opening of their new permanent exhibition space, Unit-X in Seven Dials following a number of pop-ups in the area also added: “We are fortunate enough to have a seven-year long history of pop-up exhibitions in Seven Dials and have experienced first-hand the opportunities it offers to young businesses starting out. This is a fantastic opportunity for any budding business to get a foothold in the heart in one of the greatest cities in the world.”
Seven Dials has also recently implemented timed road closures until the end of the year in the area in partnership with Camden Council, between 10am – 6pm, seven days a week, to ensure safe social distancing. World-famous Neal’s Yard also benefits from a one-way system and additional cyclist parking spaces will also be available in the area.
Furthermore, many independent restaurants have extended the popular new Government Eat Out to Help Out scheme into September. These include popular Japanese restaurant, Flesh & Buns and Neapolitan specialists Rossopomodoro.
To find out more about the Start Up with Seven Dials application process, which opens on 29 September 2020, please visit https://www.sevendials.co.uk/features/start-up-with/ .