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UK lockdown: Government may face legal action says entrepreneur

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Entrepreneur and CEO Tillie Peel created The Pop-Up Club in 2017 as a cost-effective way for creators to showcase their items by providing retail space for side hustlers and businesses. The nationwide business has several sites extending from Seven Dials to Manchester, and Ms Peel shared some exclusive insights with Express.co.uk looking at how now is the time for small businesses to overtake their larger competitors

“In our work and our efforts to give independent retailers their moment, we take empty spaces and make them beautiful – not just aesthetically, but through the values we champion; sustainability, diversity, uniqueness and affordability,” she began.

“Now more than ever there are opportunities for small businesses to really meet consumers’ needs and deliver what they want.

“I think that’s exciting and means it’s now one of the best times for businesses to be present physically for consumers.” 

Ms Peel continued to add that as the pandemic hit a few of the big names out of the way, now is the time for small businesses to elbow their way to the forefront and show consumers who they are.

“Big brands are disappearing and there’s now space and opportunity for small businesses to stand out.

“Big ones weren’t keeping up with what consumers want e.g. sustainability, and that has meant there is a gap that now small and independent retailers can fill.”

The pandemic has seen a sharp decrease in people travelling into physical stores and the importance of having a digital presence has never been so clear. 

However, Ms Peel argued that the easing of lockdown is the perfect opportunity to bring the crowds back in the physical shopping world.

“It’s really important to bring shoppers back to the high street and via The Pop-Up Club we give a mix of traders the chance to give shoppers a unique experience, whilst also supporting independent retailers.

“We believe in supporting the power of local small businesses, low-risk spaces to help artists, makers and emerging brands nurture and grow their businesses.

“We see lots of local high streets as central points within the community and local economy, but they’re quite often declining.”

Ms Peel added: “Having that in-store experience can be a huge boost not just for the business itself but for shoppers, the local economy and for the retail industry as a whole.”

This in-person experience has been highly sought after by many people during the pandemic, however, tight budgets and an unstable economic outlook has shoppers a bit more reluctant to indulge as they used to.

But, that’s not to say shoppers are avoiding it all together and this creates another perfect opportunity for small businesses as consumers increasingly look for products that match more than just their needs, but their values too.  

“There’s a lot to be said for having that in-person connection after months spent in lockdown last year.

“Even something as simple as an afternoon shopping will provide a much-needed boost to those who have previously struggled with lockdown anxiety,” Ms Peel commented.

“My tip for any small business or retailer wanting to stand out would be to do your research, know your consumer and know what they are looking for.

“If you can understand that need then you can have a product or something that can then meet their needs, which in turn makes your business a success.

“People also really want to build a connection with retailers and the people behind them, so showcasing that side of your business gives something tangible for your consumers to engage with,” she concluded.
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