Sara Melin was the speaker of our second Industry Friday talk. Sara is the co-founder of the Poundshop, a 2009 buisness idea and a 2010 reality. The Poundshop is just as it says, a shop that sells design products for one pound. The idea behind the shop was to make design accessible to a wider audience. Since its creation there has been 10 shops put up made from empty spaces. Each shop had the help of an architect to create its interior and each interior differs from its last. A couple of examples are cardboard box interior and the dust sheet interior of pop up shops 1 and 2.
The creation of a online site was initiated soon after the shop in order to again reach a wider audience however it was difficult to make it as successful due to the fact that even though the item cost £1 it cost £10 postage.
The Poundshop makes a 10p profit and the artist gets 90p, however the product cannot cost more than 50p to create.
The products have been advertised and promoted and sold by several different companies. The shop was advertised in Brick Lane as a window shopping theme, which had QR codes on a app in order to purchase items, unfortunately the idea for buying was changed last minute due to a problem with the app and they used product codes linked to the website.
Another project involved creating a shop in Manchester so not in the region of London. This interior was deisgned by “Design by Music” and the aim of the project was to branch out of the capital.
Selfridges also picked out The Poundshop to be part of the Bright Young Things. This meant they got to sell their objects in the concept store . This was a great oppurtunity for both the shop and the designers involved. However the objects had VAT added meaning that there was a loss of around £2000.
They also went to Tokyo to sell some of their products, hoping to work with some Japanese designers but sadly on a time limit that was not possible. In this project they worked with Loft, a stationary company to sell their stationary products.
Recently The Poundshop have been selling cake at £1 a CM at different events and openings.
The future is looking really positive for this company looking at opening a store in Saint Petersburg in Russia and a Christmas shop in ICA, London.
I really enjoyed this talk and I thought it was good to look more at a buisness side of the creative world rather than the work of the artists. I found Sara’s project really interesting and the process of how she got there and her motivation to turn thought into reality, inspiring. It has shown me that not all jobs in the art world have to be simply making, this is something that is creative that is a possibility too. I also find the interiors of the shop, fascinating and brilliantly alternative. The designs are always so eye-catching and nothing I have ever seen before anywhere. For that reason the design layout of the shop is something that I will remember constantly about this talk.
I may one day try and create my own design that could be sold in the shop. It is something that really interests me and I would like to pursue that and maybe gain some publicity for my work. It seems an incredibly rewarding and alternative project!