Event announcement: boxXshop

INVITATION2013

Date: Thursday November 28, 2013
Time: 6pm-9pm (Koopavond)
Place: Oostelijke Handelskade 34, Amsterdam

Fancy a quirky Xmas market with 100% handmade cute little gift?

boxXshop is a very special 180 minutes Christmas market on the Thursday Shopping Evening at Lloyd Hotel Amsterdam. During the event, Lloyd Hotel’s library will be transformed into 22 gift shops with limited edition handmade gifts for Sinterklaas and Christmas.

22 designers and makers will be selling their handmade goodies ranging from paper & print, jewelry, ceramics, crochet to yummy edible gifts presented in different box shops – after the event, all the boxes will be demolished and re-installed again as the library.

boxXshop is the place to be for you who fancy an alternative Christmas market, and who want to enjoying shopping in delightful Thursday evening in a cozy place. You can find us on Thursday November 28th at Lloyd Hotel. We will be there from 6-9pm…See you then!? Oh, and don’t forget to bring your cash!

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Below you will find more info and impressions from our past events in 2011 and 2012.
You can get an impression of boxXshop 2011 by this video or these photos.

installing the boxXshop

33 makers and designers will offer you diverse handmade gifts perfect for Sinterklaas & Xmas

You can check this post The day of boxXshop to see how boxXshop was built together in 2 hours.

boxXshop is built by these boxes, currently used as Lloyd Hotel library’s storage

*This year boxXshop is made possible by
Lloyd Hotel
& Cultural Embassy, Nest Project and Eliane Roest.

10 examples of Collaborative Store in Amsterdam

What is a Collaborative Store?
Imagine it’s like an online marketplace (e.g. etsy) translated into a bricks-and-mortar store. This is a perfect model for micro entrepreneurs – craftspeople, designers, independent musicians, inventors, food makers – who can collectively create the maximum visibility with just little investment.

Endossa is an interesting example in Sao Paulo which has defined their store as:

a shop where people choose what it sells. It´s a translation of many concepts behind web 2.0 into a bricks-and-mortar store. A platform where content (products) gets ranked and filtered by users (consumers).

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There are some basic strategies in running a Collaborative Store:

Open marketplace: rather than selecting vendors, the store is available to almost every product. It’s a user-generated selection process meaning eventually unique and creative products will be endorsed by the customers.
Micro-investment: usually a small amount of fee is charged without sales commission.
Shops-within-a-shop: micro-retail-space such as shelf / boxes are made available for rent. In some other cases, a shop space is collaboratively run by multiple tenants.
Temporary lease: leasing a shop space for a short period of time – for a day, a weekend or a month.
Mixed Use: mixing different types of activities in one space – retailing, workshops, performance, food & beverage, beauty salon…etc.

Collaborative Store is not yet very common in Amsterdam and other cities in the Netherlands, but there is certainly a growing interest in this niche. Below I’ve sampled 10 initiatives in Amsterdam based on the above mentioned strategies. Hope this list will inspire more initiatives and help micro entrepreneurs to find start-up spaces and to collaborate.

1. The New Label Project (Rozengracht 75) is probably the first initiative in Amsterdam that realized the concept of Shelf (box) Rental Store. The shop space is carefully designed with different sizes of boxes which can be rented by various types designers & makers.

2. Open Shop Amsterdam (nieuwezijds voorburgwal 291) is a shop collaboratively run by several Dutch fashion designers. Since 2003, various Dutch starter designers have joined this initiative before they become independent.

3. One Day Shop (Haarlemmerdijk 41) offers an empty retail space where various retailers can rent for 1-3 days.

4. Mini Shopping center of cool (Amstel 180) is a mini retail store that offers various sizes of spaces and temporary rental possibilities.

5. Charlie & Mary (Gerard Doustraat 84) is a cafe-in-a-retail-shop collaboratively run by Beter & Leuk café and Charlie & Mary fashion store. Actually Beter & Leuk (Eerste Oosterparkstraat 91) has another café which also offers micro spaces for rent for design and crafts.

6. The Novel Swap Shop (Ernest Staesstraat 7) is a meeting place for free clothes-swap, coffee and cake. It is a part of the Bookstore project, a social initiative offering artists-in-residence with affordable living-working spaces. Want to launch an event here? Why not join their clothes-swap day, chat with the artists with free coffee and cake, and talk about future collaboration possibilities…

7. Depot BG (Tolstraat 137) is a project space initiated by several creative offices who are temporarily leasing the building of former city archives of Amsterdam. In the past, Depot BG has hosted various events including film, exhibition, pop-up dinner…and its door is always open for new ideas & collaborations.

8. Bar22 (Wolvenstraat 22-24) offers its space to host various events: for example, an online retailer ThinksILIKEThinkILOVE has launched an evening pop-up shop here, creating an interesting atmosphere of vintage shopping party.

9. One Day Shop HTNK (Wibautstraat 127) is an annual fashion event that offers a platform for designer labels, photographers, illustrators as well as accessories designers. The participants have been growing into more than 50 vendors for the last event. It takes place at Club Trouw, where music, food and fashion together create an exclusive fashion marketplace & party.

10. Ultra de la Rue (Oudekerksplein 30) is a fairly new initiative in Amsterdam’s Red Light District. A group of artists and designers are temporarily leasing the space, creating a mixed use space as gallery, café bar and store. The space is located at a fantastic central location with a little taste of history and eroticism. Why not grab a coffee chat and brainstorm collaborative events with Ultra de la Rue?

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Want to share more examples of Collaborative Store? Please feel free to leave a comment or pin your example at our Pinterest board of Collaborative Store.

Pop-up! Creative use of niche spaces #2

In 2011, I have posted an article with the same title. Together with another article Rent A Shelf and start up a collaborative pop-up shop, they were the most visited posts last year. In 2012, I’d like to look at the term Pop-up not only from the trendy retailing examples but also those improvisational, informal and temporary cases spotted in Taiwan.

////// case one ////// sharing shop spaces or occupying pedestrian area //////
In Taiwanese urban context, sharing spaces is actually triggered by many private shop renters who use the space to make extra profit. Imagine a retail shop owner who rents a space for 1000 euro/ month, and then share the shop space with other two sub-renters who pay 500 euro/ month each. In this way, they share the initial investment & risks, and could possibly attract more customers.

In Taipei: two food vendors share one storefront.

The idea to generate more income is so attractive that many shop renters even claim the pedestrian zone and rent them to other street food venders. In the picture below you can see: the shop owner has moved out to become the street vendor (where the red arrow is pointing), in order to rent the storefront to another shop. He even rents out the pedestrian zone to another street food vender.

You can see the shop owner occupies the left corner outside of the storefront, and another food vender rents the pedestrian zone in front of the shop.

Occupy the pedestrian zone.

In the picture above, you can see the owner of the convenient store (which opens 24 hours) has also rented the pedestrian zone to other vendors during the day.

The above mentioned examples actually get media attention only when they are being spotted as illegal business, and are considered as planning defect. Though on the other hand, they have created shared value by intensifying the use of the space.

////// case two ////// pop-up sales and temporary stores in vacant spaces ////////
Far before Pop-up has become a trend, there were already temporary shops filling up the vacant retail stores in the cities. This kind of pop-up stores, or temporary outlets were emerged out of an economic situation: in the time of bad economy, retailers could save money on interior decoration and quickly clear their stock; property owners could profit from short-term tenants rather than leaving the space vacant.

Picture source: urbanphoto.net, by K.Y. Cheng

One of Urbanphoto’s article, Temporary Stores Thrive as Others Fade, has looked at this kind of temporary shops in the context of Hong Kong:

“Since many retailers signed contracts at the top of the market one or two years ago, rents remain high and so does the potential for bankruptcy. When shops go out of business, landlords are faced with a few options: bide their time by keeping the space empty, slash rents, or play host to a temporary store that will help them cover costs until they find a new permanent tenant.”

////// case 3 ////// social selling and the collaborative shop //////
A recent article in The Pop-up city has mentioned Social Selling, predicting that it will become a growing trend in 2012. In Taiwan, social selling or in another word collaborative shop, has been always a reality. Just around the corner of my parents’ apartment in Taipei, I’ve spotted a tea shop (1m x 1m space) nested in a bike store.

For a start-up business, a small-, affordable- space at a prominent location is all that it needs. For many online business, renting a small space together with others as a show point or just popping up at various locations – seem to be more effective than occupying a big high-street storefront. It’s exciting to see this happening in world-wide cities – private initiatives and non-profit organizations are starting to share retail, working or restaurant spaces. By making the spaces more shareable for multiple, mixed or temporary use, the value of spaces can thus be intensified and multiplied.

In my next post, I’ll share some international cases where collaborative shops are created with more social or non-for-profit approaches.

Ending note: I’d like to thank Boundary Unlimited who has inspired me a lot about Asian informal urban development and brought my interest back to my own Taiwanese urban experience.

Pop-up shop manual by Caroline de Jager

After tweeting back and forth for an appointment, finally I met Caroline de Jager via Skype. Caroline is a very active entrepreneur who has been one of the earliest temporary shop (pop-up shop) initiators in Amsterdam, and then initiator of online matchmaking service for vacant properties and popup initiatives (popupsqure).

Besides these, she is now very involved in adaptive reuse of vacant urban properties, such as the latest initiative, BetaHuis in Heerlen.

Below is the story particularly on the hands-on experience she shared with me about operating temporary shops.

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Few years back when Pop-up Shop (=temporary shop) not yet a buzz word in Amsterdam, Caroline had already the idea to start up a temporary shop. ‘I simply wanted to own a retail shop without mortgage, and to invest as little as possible. So take a vacant shop space and run a temporary store became the most logical choice’, she said. It was also the changing moment in the real estate market when the demand of retailers started to shift from larger spaces to smaller spaces.

Exterior of Gravenstraat 12

To launch a Pop-up shop is actually more about being an activist than having the idea. ‘My friend and I started to bike around the city, looking for a vacant storefront. If we found an interesting property, we would immediately approach the property owner and tried to promote our idea with a mood-board’. You also have to be blunt and stay flexible. Their strategy is: ‘We don’t want to pay you (property owner), but we would leave immediately as soon as you find your tenant’. Sometimes they spent endless calls and visits to catch the property owner, but usually the owners agreed and sometime even gave the key immediately. Caroline explained to me still with great enthusiasm about one of their Pop-up stores, located at Gravenstraat Amsterdam. ‘That was a fabulous storefront and location, where we were told to stay for 3 weeks but eventually extended to 6 months. Our temporary shop has definitely attracted more potential tenants, so the property owner was very pleased with us.’

"We don't pay you, but we will leave immediately after you find the tenant"

"Interior? Keep it simple because you don't know when you need to leave"

"Cardboard is a versatile & low-budget material to use for temporary store"

Concerning the restrictions of urban regulation, it seems that launching a Pop-up shop is much easier than we could imagine. When you are running a temporary retail store in a space that is designated as a retail space, then there’s not much to worry about. Then, I had to think about one of the events that I tried to launch in a retail space. At that time I proposed an event with cooking related activity in a forgotten Chinese shopping mall – catering in retail space – which brings up more conflicts with the urban regulations.

What makes me really interested in these temporary uses of space, is about being in between the informal model (squatting / occupying illegally vacant spaces) and the formal model (signing contract / paying legally as a tenant), being able to subvert the vacant urban properties and testing the market. But don’t forget – people still keep throwing and attending parties, markets, garage sales, auctions…besides, there are plenty of pop-ups as corporate marketing tool.

So what are the tips and lessons to make a genuine pop-up store? Perhaps it’s important to amplify the effects – effects on the location and on the vacant property – that your shop will create. Turning vacancy into a new possibility #subverting #re-inventing #being activist

Ready to start up your own pop-up? Get Caroline de Jager’s ‘Handbook: How to open a pop-up store’ by mailing to info@popupsquare.nl

The day of boxXshop

December 1, 2011, Amsterdam

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2:30 pm Raining cats and dogs

Together with 7 volunteers who rushed to Lloyd Hotel through the rain, we began our boxXshop construction. In less than a hour, we gathered 44 boxes from here-and-there of Lloyd Hotel, clean out the books and assembled two boxXshops in two separated platforms.

boxXshop at the lower platform

boxXshop at the upper platform

boxXshop at the upper platform

3.30 pm Installing boxXshop
Participants were arriving and installing their boxes. This is a very interesting moment to see the growing diversity of shops in the boxes. One of the participants has made a special inner frame, which fit exactly into the box…great job!

The frame fit perfectly in the box; a beautiful way to display

Participants installing the boxXshop

Participants installing the boxXshop

6.00 pm Now let’s kick off!
Before we knew, people already started to flow into the two platforms where our boxXshops were located. From now on, the streams of visitors continued, even the rain outside did not stop people coming in. It was a great boxXshop experience!

First group of people came in~

Two platforms were filled with Thursday evening shoppers who came through the rain

11.00 am, December 2
Next morning another 7 volunteers came back to Lloyd Hotel with me, to demolish our boxes installation and re-assemble the boxes back to their original state. That was a bit puzzeling because the boxes were from different places and loaded with different things inside. But again, it was all done within an hour~Then we had a nice treat of apple pie to officially end our event.

See the boxes at the background? #Cradle-to-cradle

* * * * * * special thanks * * * * * *
boxXshop was created not only as a popup shop but also a social event, where participants could promote their handmade work and enjoy creating a temporary shop together.
Thanks to Lloyd Hotel who has greatly supported us – free space plus the Library boxes in which we could temporarily use for one evening.
Etsy / Dutchhandmade has also showed great interest in supporting our event, spreading the word to their community of handmade lovers and makers.
Of course, without our 30 enthusiastic participants, the event would not be realized. The fully engaged participants have made this event a memorable experience plus some new friendships.
* * * * * * final note * * * * * *
In total the event took 3 hours to install and 1 hour to demolish; all the boxes were returned to their original state, as if nothing happened…#cradle-to-cradle!
The only thing that I feel sorry about, is that it’s difficult to give every participant the same visibility. The same problem in our photo gallery – the selected photos only show some of boxes, who have better quality of lighting. Hopefully, this event will make all the participants feel like part of one collective shop…and that’s what it is about.
You can find more photos here: boxXshop, a set on Flickr.
boxXshop-FlyerboxXshop preparation - lower platformboxXshop preparationboxXshop preparation - lower platformboxXshop preparationboxXshop preparation
boxXshop preparationboxXshop preparationboxXshop preparationboxXshop preparation - upper platformboxXshop preparationboxXshop preparation
boxXshop preparation - upper platformboxXshop preparationone of the boxXshopboxXshop at lower platformupper platform of Lloyd HotelboxXshop preparation
some of the boxXshopa little workshopone of the boxXshopboxXshop at upper platformboxXshop at upper platformboxXshop at lower platform

Rent A Shelf and start up a collaborative pop-up shop

In my previous post about space sharing, I’ve mentioned the idea of flexible ownerships of a shop space; for example, anyone can sell/ promote products on a shop’s wall. It is a growing retail store concept – instead of investing a shop space by one’s own, more and more artists, designers and start-up retailers are investing together and become ‘temporary co-owners’ of a shop. This new trend of Owning a Shop Together not only helps the small, start-up retailers to invest less, but also creates great product varieties for the customers.

Onedayshop in Amsterdam. image source: popupcity.net

For example, Onedayshop is a furnished ‘vacant’ retail space open for short-term (1 day – 1 week) lease. A recent post by Pop-up city says:
For customers this initiative is great to test a brand’s products and to find out whether it would be a good idea to rent a shop on their own. Like with exhibitions, the opening party is the best moment to sell creative products, as the artist’s own network is present at that moment.

Here I’d like to share with you three other interesting retailing stores around the world. They are not necessarily representative; but they have all tried to create marketplaces that effectively connect individual sellers & buyers together. These are emerging retail spaces that are collaboratively run by individual sellers / temporary shop owners.

1. Tokyo Pass The Baton Vintage Shop:

Shop space of Pass The Baton in Omotesando, Tokyo.

Launched with an opening party together with an online webshop, some say it’s the best second-hand store of the world with a statement:

The modern marketplace contains a vast diversity of commercial products…….creating something new is a wonderful thing, but taking good care of an object that is already there can be magical.
Pass on your personal culture.
It’s a new way of recycling.

At Pass The Baton, you’ll find Items for sale presented not only by images, but also by a brief profile of the seller. Beyond the flea markets, this is a marketplace both physical and online for buyers and sellers to exchange their ‘personal culture’.

2. Singapore CACTUS Farm:
This is a good business model of boxXshop – as I have mentioned many times in my previous posts – a concept that prevails many Asian cities including Tokyo, Shanghai, Hong Kong and Taipei. It’s slogan: ‘get a prime location for $5.00 a day!’

Cactus cubic shop in Singapore.

For young designers, Cactus Farm an affordable and fully serviced retail space in a shopping mall to showcase their ideas and products. Together with other temporary co-owners, you can rent a cubic space for a reasonable fee (and for a short time) to test the market of your product!

3. Muenster / Munich Rent-a-shelf:
I came across this article ‘Rent-a-shelf: a new way to sell and advertise – including yourself’ that tells the new trend of Rent-a-shelf in Germany which was spotted by Pop-up city (yes, again!). I’m sure that there are more examples of Rent-a-shelf around the world, since it’s a more spontaneous action and might not be properly documented. Anyway, what’s interesting in this article, is about a young man who withdrew from facebook and rented a shelf in a shop to advertise himself as an available single. Do check this article which contains some good thoughts and interviews about these space-sharing initiatives in Germany. As the article says:

A simple shelf in a small store is really all a person needs to advertise and sell their products and services…
If you have a shop and would like to generate more flows and curiosities, why not share your shelf and create a collaborative pop-up shelf shop?

My space is also Your space: Space Sharing

This morning I came across the blog collaborative consumption (manifested as ‘What’s mine is Yours’) then I have chatted with a friend about P2P sharing cars, and besides I’m busy with pop-up store by using available boxes at Lloyd Hotel.

We will borrow these boxes from Lloyd Hotel

These seem like random topics but they all shake up the way we think about ownerships.

Gradually, we are creating new values to exchange services or properties – besides money. These days, more and more new initiatives are enabling everyone to share available resources with the others, and turning My properties into Our properties: examples like share un-used cars (ex. LiftShare), share spare spaces at home (ex. AirBnB), share vacant desks in the office (ex. deskwanted) or simply share working space together (ex. The Hub).

New off-line marketplaces or on-line platforms are stimulating flexible ownerships, and creating new opportunities by sharing. One interesting reference is this infographic: the Collaborative Home, posted by FastCo Design, reporting all the spared things you can share from home:

image source: FastCo Design

This flexible ownership of properties, is one of the major inspirations behind the initiative of pop-up store boxXshop. This is also what Nest Project aims to do – mobilize individual makers of arts and crafts by connecting them to available spaces. There are plenty of spaces left vacant or available to share in our cities. With the current web technology and mobile phone applications, it’s possible to enable any individual to launch a pop-up store spontaneously. Imagine that a shop owner can tag a piece of sharable space, such as a piece of wall. So people who received this push notification can walk in this shop and say “hi I want to sell this, can I hang it on the wall??”

Further reading:
1. Pop-Up Coworking: A Way To Work Anywhere (with interesting photos), published by Shareable.
2. Home-Sharing Programs Offer Longer-Term Housing Solutions, published by Shareable.
3. I have started to collect some examples of marketplaces & platforms that enable individuals to connect their available sources (time, properties, services) to others that need them. Let me know if you know other interesting marketplaces & platforms. I’d like to keep collecting this information and share with you at Pinterest!