Sook is committed to providing new businesses with a physical platform on the high street, and this month we are hosting Enterprise Nation and Launch It, who are taking over Sook Oxford Street every weekday to provide pop-up space for a group of young entrepreneurs.
The group has been studying how to start and grow a business as part of the Next Generation programme, a joint initiative between small business support platform Enterprise Nation and youth entrepreneurship charity Launch It, part-funded by the UK Government through the UK Community Renewal Fund. They will combine digital technology with fashion innovation during their time in Sook, which will also be the final chapter in their three-month studies, and help them to explore bricks and mortar retail as part of their future sales strategy.
"We are delighted to welcome these inspiring young business owners to Sook. Here at Sook, we are dedicated to supporting the Next Generation of entrepreneurs by providing them with affordable, flexible access to the high street in prime locations like Oxford Street. We look forward to seeing how they transform the space." John Hoyle, CEO of Sook
Week 1: Monday 6 June – Wednesday 9 June Seraphina, Seraphina London: A lifestyle brand which sells ancient aromatherapy and beauty products, launching on 6th June.
Muna Nour, Muna Jewelz: A women’s fashion jewellery brand where they can express their femininity and self-love through quality pieces.
Melanie Buritica, M.O.B Lashes: A beauty company providing luxury faux mink eyelashes, helping people express their individual styles and personalities.
Week 1: Thursday 10 June – Friday 11 June Joao Recife, PHACIAL: An alkaline and pH balance orientated brand where ancient remedies meet 21st-century innovative skincare.
Lucille Moffat, Lulus Décor: The leading London balloon company and party essentials.
Ellise Gordon, See Me Stationery: See Me Stationery is all about promoting diversity, and a way to allow those who are unrepresented to be seen and feel motivated.
Week 2: Monday 13 June – Wednesday 15 June Skye Richards, Alysium Beauty: A plant-based self-care product brand.
Dante Felix, The Astral Souls Dan Foster, Munch: Munch is an on-demand food delivery app with a focus on diverse and independent restaurants.
Week 2: Thursday 16 June – Friday 17 June Roshan Rehman, Tea Temple: A brand that creates tea blends that combine natural herbal ingredients to combat common ailments such as stress, indigestion, and anxiety.
Roxanne Travers, F#!% Fast Fashion: Swap not shop. Pay what you feel. An eco-friendly, anti-racist alternative to mass consumption in the fashion and charity industry.
Renee Denahy, FIITME: FiitMe is the sustainable sportswear brand you have been missing.
Week 3: Monday 20 June – Wednesday 22 June Cameron Langston, Bark + Shout: Performance gear for every dog owner. Get out of your comfort zone with performance gear that is hand-crafted in London.
Caitlin La, Boat People Sauce: A brand that puts authentic Vietnamese flavours, foods, and condiments into customers' hands.
Alexandre Monteiro, Service
Week 3: Thursday 23 June – Friday 24 June Aminat Akande, Kande Collection: A unisex brand that sells premium African-inspired clothing.
Jennifer Sills, One Stamp Away Cards: By offering a card and stamp bundle, this brand helps you get back into writing letters.
Ela-Maria Vultr, Ebelle Creations: Ela-Maria's designs are made to question the mind's limits and the way we perceive the world around us in the most creative way.
Week 4: Monday 27 June – Wednesday 29 June Yuru Guo, Hey! Food is ready: Food is Ready is an online marketplace that connects approved home cooks from different cultural backgrounds living in the UK with hungry neighbours looking for authentic, wholesome, homemade food.
Dulcie Davy Usher, Davy: Davy highlights the beauty and celebrates the diversity within the female black community of today.
Susan Wachera, Black Talanta: Black Talanta is a tech-enabled platform to help black heritage students in higher education access equitable, high-skilled employment with internship opportunities and representation mentorship support.
Jordan Hall, FORE: FORE is a multifaceted exploration of cultural themes and references.
Week 4: Thursday 20 June – 31 June Serena Bramble, Hand Made by SB: Handmade by SB created personalised unique resin pieces - made to stand out!
Daisy Riley, Monozygotics: Monozygotics is comprised of identical twin sisters taking a stand against unethical fashion, creating accessible, affordable, high-fashion clothing that is also sustainable, through the use of deadstock fabrics, custom sizing, the option to hire pieces and also through social activism and education.
Aisha Jade, Carisips: Flavours that bring joyful memories of childhood, holidays and good times with friends and family. Smooth, exotic, rich-tasting drinks that connect you to your culture, history, community and the world.
Case Studies: Salleur
Yela Alexandre Monteiro, 22, was brought to the UK by force aged two, but returned to Guinea in West Africa to live a turbulent life with his real mother and seven siblings five years later. At the age of 18 he was given an extraordinary life chance - to return to the UK and seek his fortune.
The Greenwich-based designer has set up Salleur, a clothing brand that seeks to remind young people that, like in his case, transformations are possible and real-life change can happen. His printed tracksuits, shorts and T-shirts will all feature in the shop from June 20.
Yela said: “The programme has pushed me to form my business. I already had an idea, a concept, but it was very much in the early stages. Joining the Next Generation programme has helped me to take my business to the next level. Salleur represents a snake transforming and that image is a huge part of my life. It’s a key element of the journey I’ve been on and is based on storytelling and my path to success.”
Case Studies: Kande Collection
Aminat Akande, also 23, is an economics graduate who studied at Kent University, before taking up a place to study for an MSc in Fashion Analytics and Forecasting at the London College of Fashion. And she’s also working and running her own business at the same time. She will be in the shop on June 23 and 24 with her colourful unisex range of Nigerian-inspired fashion pieces.
Kande Collection is a range that includes casual kaftan tops for men, shiny silk crop tops and custom print skirts made in Nigeria by artisan seamstresses.
Aminat said: “Working through the Next Generation course has been very useful. It’s been really useful to understand more about cash flow and the financial side, but the main thing for me has been boosting my confidence. The personal development journey has been huge.”
She plans to eventually work with stockists like Selfridges and Wolf & Badger, while using pop-ups to build a community and raise awareness of her brand.
Case Studies: Boat People Sauce
Lawyer and food producer Caitlin La’s family settled in the Abbey Wood area of South East London after fleeing from Vietnam in the 1970s. They brought with them traditional Vietnamese cookery and the recipe to a delicious local delicacy – Nước Chấm and SA TẾ – a chilli oil that is very hard to get hold of in the UK. While working as a legal adviser following a masters degree in law, Caitlin decided to set up her own company making and selling the oil and a tasty dipping sauce in honour of her family’s ordeal moving to the UK and called the company Boat People Sauce.
Caitlin, 24, said: “My family were what was referred to then as ‘boat people’, they were refugees from Vietnam.
“The idea for the business came over a family meal. Everyone loves my grandparents’ cooking and we all agreed we wish we could eat it in a restaurant. It was a lightbulb moment. I wanted the brand to reflect my grandparents’ iconic story.”
The Next Generation course helped Caitlin ‘fill in the gaps’ in her business knowledge. She said: “It was really useful to understand more about SEO for example, and just to know you’re going down the right path.”
Do you want to discover how Sook supports new entrepreneurs and early stage businesses to access space on the high street? Contact the team here.