Disruptive payments provider Klarna has unveiled the eight SME retailers in the running to land its Smooth Stores prize.
The competition was closed in January after applicants were invited to submit their entries and were whittled down to the final shortlist by a judging panel including personalities and retail experts Hugo Taylor and Millie Mackintosh.
Among the finalists are interiors retailers, along with a childrenswear, footwear, fashion and jewellery store. The winner will receive a prize of £10,000 to spend on the growth of their business, along with mentoring and free use of Klarna’s Pay Later service for 12-months.
Luke Griffiths, General Manager at Klarna UK, explained: “The ‘start-up’ mentality is in our blood here at Klarna. We love to see businesses being successful, and doing things differently, whether that’s in their marketing, the products they sell or just the passions and personalities of the people fronting them.
“The competition so far has been an amazing exploration into the UK’s thriving SME retail scene. With mentoring, funding, financial advice and free use of our Buy now, Pay later product we can’t wait to find our winner, and make their path to success a little bit ‘smooother’.”
The shortlisted businesses are:
Britannical is a luxury children’s outerwear brand that handcrafts all of its pieces ethically in the heart of London, using the finest natural materials.
Where fashion meets art, Carloe London creates quality leather bags in a range of colours, with colour combined purses and interchangeable straps allowing the customer to curate their own look.
Built on the ethos of bringing the beautiful natural world indoors, Charlotte Jade’s hand drawn plant, floral and animal themed designs are available on luxury wallpaper, cushions, upholstery fabrics, ceramic tiles and many more.
Setting out to demystify jargon around bedding and towels, Dip & Doze deliver products that don’t cost the earth, either figuratively and literally, by balancing price with beauty, function and sustainability.
Born from scrap leather in the furniture industry, the Hand Dyed Shoe Co is changing the way the world buys shoes by offering a unique experience and service from start to finish.
Mikaela Lyons launched her first collection – featuring the symbol of a lioness – in November 2017 and continues to create ethical and sustainable jewellery, all handmade and hallmarked in the UK.
Founded by two sisters living on opposite sides of the world, Mustard Made creates powder coated steel storage lockers that bring a touch of soft industrial, practical storage to real homes.
Unique printed and plain silk dresses which mix elements of traditional Scandinavian design with a contemporary urban vibe, Valle & Vik draws on the founder’s background in fine art, fashion and her Norwegian heritage.
The next step for the successful retailers will be meeting one of Klarna’s brand ambassadors and creating a short video about their business. These videos will launch in March on klarna.com/uk where voting will be open for the general public.
Millie Mackintosh, commented: “I love the variety of different businesses that were uncovered in the submission phase and now I’m excited to head out and get to know the owners, their inspiration and understand the businesses that bit better. I can’t wait to see who the public vote as their favourite when the next stage of the competition opens up – I’m hoping that you’ll make one of my brands the winner!”
Hugo Taylor, added: “The eight shortlisted brands are all exciting in their own way and are getting off to a great start. I am looking forward to discussing the challenges that my businesses are facing at the moment, and understanding how the Smoooth Stores prize would really support them.”