Camden Collective is a great institution who support emerging designers, makers and businesses. Nothing pleases us more than coming across a good solid hub of creativity, where traders can bounce off each other whilst being able to find a firm establishment for their own wares or brands. No surprise, then, that we are currently LOVING the recently rejuvenated C/159 from Camden Collective, an indoor market space that gives creative businesses/individuals the chance to showcase their products or ideas, in the footfalltastic location of Camden High Street.
We were pretty delighted to see that two gorgeous ILM members, East End Prints and Garite, recently occupied (or are occupying - Garite are still there!) an area of the market and can safely say these two distinctly different brands put their lovely stamps on the space in both effective and aesthetic ways. "It was one of the easiest spaces we’ve ever had!" says Emily of East End Prints. "There was a large wall given to us to hang on and each stall got a plinth to display stock on. Because the space is so open it made it easy to move your stock around until you found what works best... people love going through it as it is different to anything else around [Camden]."
We know what a wonderfully eclectic range that East End Prints has to offer so we thought the equally diverse range of traders that shared the market with them was beautifully appropriate. "The energy between each stall was amazing," Emily says. "We could really feed off of each others' sales. It was great to be surrounded by people who do the same thing as you in order to share ideas and help out when needed. We all had the same objective - which made the atmosphere of the space welcoming and warm for the customers."
We couldn't help asking how at home a brand who is based in the East End felt in the North of London. Camden Collective is in the perfect location. "The hustle and bustle of Camden really helped with sales and connecting with our customers. We were able to reach a group of people that we had never come across before – taking our business out of the East End and reaching the rest of London". We are positive that those Londoners were ecstatic at the branching out!
We were really interested to see what Garite made of their shop as we had been to seen them not so very long ago at the same postcode, but in a completely different space. The vintage brand had occupied 69 Camden High Street through Camden Collective, which provided them with an individual shop as opposed to a shared space.
"We had a really good week at 69 so were really eager to try 159," says Yasmine, one of Garite's founders. "Collective are superb at helping out and supporting you, so in all it's been nothing but amazing!"
"I really like the new setup at C159," Yasmine continues. "It looks super cool and funky which is a perfect fit for GARITE! I love that there is such a diversity amongst the different brands in the space, and because of the design it all works really well together." We thought the juxtaposition of their colourful pieces against the varying products in the rest of the market confirmed that differing brands really can bounce off each other.
Whilst sipping 'homemade champagne' at Garite's launch party for the pop-up, we asked what benefits they found in sharing the space, in comparison to single-brandedly. "Everything from sharing ideas and learning from each other to getting to know new, likeminded people," Yasmine tells us. "The customers also love the space and the fact that there are small creative brands sharing it - I think more or less everyone who lives in the area has said 'This is just what Camden needs!' But beware the dangers: everyone has so much nice stuff, it's hard to go one day without buying something..."As true market advocates, we will always salute those that go it alone in a new shop but do think the sense of community that can be so clearly felt in places like these are unbeatable... although we can affirm the 'dangers' that Yasmine mentions!
We know Garite and East End Prints are just two example of the kinds of creative people you might see in Camden Collective, or any market with a concept like it. One thing we really wanted to know from them was what advice they'd give to anyone considering popping up in a similar environment.
"My only advice would be to contact the press and sort out your marketing before-hand," Emily says. "While you are there you tend to get caught up in the sales and forget about letting people know that you are actually there. Facebook, Twitter, Blogger etc are all key." Yasmine adds, "it's not all about selling at the end of the day, but also showcasing your brand. Organise at least one or two small events, take your customer's contact details to keep in touch, be creative, and make the most of it!"
So - whether you're a regular market trader, an up and coming new brand or a lucky, lucky customer, we highly recommend swinging by number 159 next time you're in Camden Town. Remember - you can also purchase the desirable products from both East End Prints and Garite on I Love Markets.
By Hollye Murphy