There’s something about seeing a sign for a pop up shop that tickles your fancy. The Pop Up shop has been seen as a great way to reinvigorate town centres and let new businesses test the market in an affordable, low-risk way.
Now we have Shop Share – an even cheaper and lower risk way to test the market. As the name suggests, you can trial your product or concept by renting a small space – a rail, a table or even just a shelf – in an existing shop.
Enter Factory 45 – a special kind of shop share, based at number 45 High Street in Glasgow, on the edge of the Merchant City.
Factory 45, which could be described as a quirkier, more affordable Cruise (the upmarket, designer clothes store), showcases the work of more than a dozen emerging fashion designers as well as the work of another dozen young artists, jewellers and home accessory designers, the majority of them based in Scotland.
Run as a social enterprise by the charity, Impact Arts, Factory 45 grew out of Eco-Chic Boutique, a previous Impact Arts project based at the same address which was set up to teach young people in Glasgow how to make and sell upcycled vintage clothing.
Realising there was a need to champion and support the work of local creatives and emerging artists, the shop was relaunched as Factory 45 at the end of last year and has already won the regional prize for Fashion and Accessories at the 2015 Scottish Independent Retail Awards.
As well as providing a platform to sell their work, designers are supported with merchandising, window displays, events and the chance to network and collaborate with other designers.
Said David Black, the fashion designer who manages Factory 45 with colleague Jane Mackinnon, a make up artist (a multi-talented duo whose enthusiasm for the project can’t fail to rub off on anyone they speak to):
“Factory 45 is not just a shop – it’s very much a collaborative enterprise with our participating designers supporting and promoting the Factory 45 brand while we support and promote them, particularly through social media which is a very important part of what we do.”
“Our designers don’t pay rent but we do share a percentage of the sales.”
Louise Henderson whose brand, Louise Isobel Designs, features in the store, said: “It’s great to have a bricks and mortar shop selling the work of independent designers right in the centre of Glasgow. There are so few retailers specialising in limited edition and one-off pieces. Factory 45 builds relationship with new designers and provides advice and support as well as a place to sell our work.”
Impact Arts will continue to use the Factory 45 premises as a training base for 16 – 24 year olds interested in a career in retail.
Further info about Factory 45 at: www.impactarts.co.uk