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Shaftesbury launches ‘Soho Incubator’ pop-up competition to find retail talent

Tom Shearsmith
19 July 2022

Shaftesbury has today launched a new ‘Soho Incubator’ initiative to give UK brands with sustainability credentials across fashion, beauty, lifestyle and homeware the chance to win a free three-month pop-up shop this Autumn or Winter.

The chosen emerging brand will receive full support from Shaftesbury and This Is Soho to set up and launch for the first time in the West End, sitting alongside a host of independent and flagship brands such as RÆBURN, Oliver Spencer, Universal Works, BLEACH and Misan Fabrics.

The winner of will also win £5,000 towards internal fit out plus exclusive 1-2-1 business mentoring. There is an opportunity for more than one brand to win, depending on the quality of entrants and what are the best and most fitting brand adjacencies in Soho.

The unique retail opportunity sees Shaftesbury look for brands with “big dreams and great attitudes” who are ready to take the next step with a physical store. Entrants will be judged on their sustainability credentials, strength of business, marketing plans, creativity, design excellence and consumer appeal.

Judges on the panel include Shaftesbury Samantha Bain-Mollison - Retail Director, Emma Steele - Shaftesbury Head of Retail Activations, Matt Smith - Shaftesbury Head of Sustainability, Julia Harvey - Grazia Shopping Editor, Jolyon Bexon - Head of Retail at RÆBURN and Tom Bottomley - Contributing Editor at TheIndustry.fashion.

Emma Steele, Shaftesbury’s Head of Retail Activations, said: “Soho is home to many exciting independent and concept stores, so this initiative allows us to continue our support of UK-based brands and entrepreneurs. We are seeking creative ideas that will fit with the existing Soho retail mix. The project follows the successful Seven Dials Incubator project which saw four female entrepreneurs win pop up spaces in our Seven Dials location.”

Matt Smith, Shaftesbury Head of Sustainability, added: "We are excited to be able to offer this opportunity to UK business owners and entrepreneurs. With sustainability being at the forefront of Shaftesbury's decisions, it is intriguing to see what new concepts could come to the area and align with our already conscious retail mix. This Is Soho is all about fresh and new ideas and we are looking forward to welcoming an upcoming sustainable brand to the destination."

Launching today, entries will be open for a six-week period, with the winner announced in September.


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