G: Tell us about the project? How did the idea come to life?
It first started after I found myself joining Stuart Anderson (head of retail for TfL) on stage at a conference by Google and I got got chatting with him. We talked about how we could re-invigorate retail in the London Underground. Stuart’s pretty forward thinking and it turned out we shared the same vision…
We were looking for simple but effective ways to re-imagine the London Underground experience, augmenting the everyday journey. Stuart was keen to not just have the standard brands you often see in transport hubs, this was also about creating a great experiences for London Underground users and giving small businesses and exciting brands a superb opportunity to appear in these high footfall destinations.
It soon became clear that TfL had some incredible retail opportunities across the whole of their network and many were not being utilised. Pop ups are an easy way for TFL to transform their station environments by introducing new, fresh and exciting experiences. Old Street Station was particularly interesting to us. The project supports our ambition to enable those with great ideas to showcase them before a large audience. Old Street Underground is a place to seed ideas in a crowd known for being early adopters. This is about creating an underground movement, in every sense of the word.”
G: When will you launch and how long you will be running for this project?
The project will launch at the beginning of May, and will last over a year.
G: Why did you choose Shoreditch to launch this project?
I think it just has a real energy right now, it’s a melting pot of makers, innovators, and forward thinkers. This is where you see trends start and spread. From the creative agencies, tech start ups and experimental galleries. It’s brilliantly connected and not to mention, Old Street currently has the eyeballs of the world on it, as the Tech capital of Europe. This area is full to the brim with young, innovative and exciting businesses with ideas, making things happen. These are the exact sort of ideas we want to see showcased in Old Street Station.
G: How will you select the startups? Who should apply for the space?
We want these spaces to be used by anyone with a great idea. So whether you are a big brand looking to do something different or a start up wanting to launch something new or just an entrepreneur looking to test something crazy. We want these spaces to be showcasing exciting and innovative ideas and run by people who are prepared to go the extra mile. In Old Street there are three types of spaces to chose from including market stalls, retail units (varying sizes) and tunnels.
At the cheaper end there’s the market stalls where smaller brands can set up shop immediately, brand up their stall and showcase their product. Then there are the retail units for brands who want to launch a store but want to create an engaging experience. We have larger units for brands/retailers who want to try something slightly different from the norm but need a bigger space to combine both experience and product.
In the highest price bracket are two tunnels that can be taken over for advertising and branding. Our booking process is managed online and enquires for spaces should all be submitted through appearhere.co.uk.
G: What are your future plans?
Appear Here wants to give our community more opportunities to take their ideas to new audiences, at the moment TfL and the underground network offers one of the best opportunities to do this. Ultimately, Appear Here wants to be the de facto site for renting retail space and our purpose is to help people make their ideas travel and reach new audiences. So the future? You’ll be able to find spaces across the globe to launch your idea.