What’s next after boxXshop 2013?

BoxXshop 2013 by onahazymorning.com

BIG THANKS to all the boxxshoppers, especially for those who helped to build it up and down!
I couldn’t imagine that boxxshop would happen again this year, until Eliane jumped out to help organizing the event. This year, all the boxes looked really beautiful and charming, and I hope you all had a good time meeting people besides selling.

Every year after the event, I always had lots of reflections. When boxxshop was first launched in 2011, this small scale, handmade xmas market was still quite unique, offering products that people can’t find in the normal markets (you can also watch this short video about our original idea). In shortly two years, ‘creative markets’ have become a hype and online shops were also fast growing stimulated by the online marketplaces, such as Etsy. With so many xmas markets popping up every year, what else can we offer to people then just selling products?

I think these days people don’t want to be ‘the consumers’ only. Facts show that more and more people are actively involving in the production process; it happened in the food industry as well as in the design industry. If I may fantasize about the next event, it would focus more on the ‘process of making’ rather than the ‘end product’. This is what interests me most in all my projects, to connect people back to the production process so we can together shape the future economy!!

And you? What is your say about boxxshop? Tell me more about your idea, or simply leave a comment here.

(Thank you On a Hazy Morning for your lovely photos!)

(Thank you Marieke van den Boogaard for your lovely iphone photos!)

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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! Temporary use of niche spaces

In the last post Pop-up! Creative use of niche spaces #2 I have shared some cases of shared storefronts, collaborative shops and temporary use spotted in Taiwan. Those urban happenings are interesting though often motivated by short term profits. Here I’d like to share some international cases that have more longer-term impacts on the use of urban niche spaces:

////// Restaurant Day, Helsinki ////// A day for anyone to start up a guerrilla restaurant

Image by jonnatammisto

Restaurant Day is a food carnival in Helsinki when anyone can open a restaurant for a day, and the best of all is – no permits needed! Imagine that you can order a sandwich that is served in a basket, lowering down from a 3rd floor apartment window?

Image by jonnatammisto

The 4th pop-up restaurant day was just celebrated on February 4th 2012. It has been a success because it encouraged everyone to be creative in making food (which most people like to do), making a one day business (with lots of fun) and turning a home or a street into a restaurant (like a carnival). As described in The Pop-up City:

…a Forager Baker kitchen where everyone could make their own pizza from fresh picked ingredients in a stone oven and a Soup King serving soup and advising its customers to buy plates in the nearby flea. Restaurant Day was organised through a Facebook event and food was literally popping everywhere; in the streets, parks, clothing shops as well as Helsinki homes.

It’s interesting to see how this experiment keeps encouraging more fresh restaurant concepts, and how the urban regulation will react to this informal initiative. To get more impressions of Restaurant Day you can check this Flickr album

////// Meanwhile Space ////// Connecting temporary users to vacant properties

Meanwhile Space connects temporary users (e.g. artists, start-up entrepreneurs or charities) to landlords with available spaces, in which temporary leases are organized. As described Meanwhile Space’s mission:

Meanwhile Space works with landlords, landowners, developers and local authorities to relieve them temporarily of liabilities (insurance, rates, security etc.) associated with holding redundant shops, offices, cleared land etc. whilst an appropriate commercial solution is being sought. By working with local communities and other stakeholders, interim or ‘Meanwhile,’ uses are deployed to reanimate the space and provide opportunities for community benefit and social enterprise.

This creates mutual benefit for both the vacant property owners and the temporary users who, on the one side can finally release their frozen properties, and on the other side can finally afford spaces to start up. On Meanwhile space’s website you can find practical resources / handbooks that describe how Meanwhile Lease works for both the landlords & users.

One of their initiatives is using a former Subway shop in Exmouth Market in London, which has already hosted many projects from an exhibition space (The Pallet Project during Clerkenwell Design Week), a vintage clothing shop (Harry’s smile) to a cake shop (Roving Chef).

The former Subway shop has been vacant for two years before Meanwhile Space re-activate it.

Launch of The Pallet Project. Images by Robyn-Louise Simms, New Deal of the Mind

Roving Chef - a one-week cake shop at the end of August, 2011.

Click this Meanwhile Space Forum to see more images of these projects.

////// REC, Igualada ////// 3-days event that turns a village into a fashion outlet

Preparation of the pop-up shop Desigual at REC store. Image source: http://www.recstores.com

REC claims itself as ‘experimental store’ by transforming old factories in the village Igualada into pop-up shops, where the emerging design brands offer their stock at incredible (affordable) prices. What makes this initiative exciting is the choice of location – a decaying town that has a long tradition of tanning and textile industries. This event thus connects the locals, physically and mentally, back to their industrial heritage & tradition.

The following video shows the first edition of REC.01, giving an impression of Igualada and the process of reviving abandoned buildings:

The REC.05 is going to celebrate its 5th edition during June 6-8, 2012. Click this google map to browse the route of this year.

The day of boxXshop

December 1, 2011, Amsterdam

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

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?

why boxXshop?

How can we create maximum benefit by using limited resources of space and investment? boxXshop is created for starter designers and makers who need affordable niche spaces to kick off their new business. boxXshop is also intended to bring together designers and makers who are enthusiastic about creating a community for like-minded people.

>> This picture shows a typical box shop in Taipei, Taiwan.

Today online platform has made selling rather easy, such as Etsy, DaWanda & Craftori & Shopify. ‘If you have a skill, you have an economy.’ At the same time, people are showing an increasing interest to handmade-locally produced produces. This has enhanced the need to meet people in person, thus more and more platforms are based on the neighborhood, helps people to exchange skills or properties and above all, help people to meet each other.

Locally handmade products are limited and unique items; these are usually online-small business which needs only a temporary and small space to promote and to sell. A one-day-shop is thus a perfect platform for these artists, designers and makers to showcase their work and to interact with each others and the potential clients. boxXshop seeks the possibilities to nest in existing spaces and to create temporary shop-in-a-shop.

Another example of box shop