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!)


The nest of Ton de Boer

‘The nest of…’ is a new series of stories about the niche spaces for arts and crafts. With this series, we will explore together the exciting, surprising and inspiring stories of people and their nests in Amsterdam.

//////////// Meeting Marjoca de Greef at Ton de Boer, May 2011

Instead of a gallery, Marjoca started a shop called Ton de Boer with both high art and consumer items. I was curious about what has inspired her to create this store.

‘I think art can be more accessible to everyone. In a shop, art can become a daily object/ product instead of being unknown and superior in a gallery’, said Marjoca. ‘Besides, it is hard to survive as a sculptor artist…’

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Recycle second-hand retail spaces

I found it fantastic that there are all kinds of online/ offline marketplaces helping us to get second-hand furniture, cars, baby stuff and clothes. These platforms encourage consumers to sell, buy or swap ‘used goods’, which goes along with our sustainable life mission.

So how about recycling retail spaces? Especially those fashion stores, who usually spend much efforts on creating exclusive interior to lure the consumers. Behalf all the investments, fashion stores have usually a short life. The retailers pop-up and then disappear, leaving some furnished vacant storefronts in our city.

image source: http://www.iwan.com

I used to look into this shoe shop, Jan Jansen, an exclusive designer brand with elaborated interior. It’s a beautiful shop at a prominent location, though I don’t know how many people could afford this exclusivity and have actually stepped in. Before I made a decision to enter it, the store has already closed down leaving the interior with vacant red shelves.

What a pity. Several times I thought about contacting the owner of the space, and organizing an indoor crafty market to re-use this storefront. It’ll be so great to see this space being used and occupied by the crowds. But the task is to convince the owner with a plan that has little budget. Before I could take action all the red shelves were taken out of the wall and the red interior has turned white.


The red interior has been removed.

I am probably not the only one. There must be many entrepreneurs fantasizing to temporarily use these kind of spaces – to be the second-hand users before the new retailer comes and demolishes everything.

Would it help, I thought, to develop an online marketplace to recycle vacant retail spaces to second-hand users? This can facilitate the communication between the individual amateurish initiatives and the real estate agencies. The two parties can connect to each other more easily and come up with a win-win solution. This could help us to be more involved in a sustainable urban environment, besides recycling personal belongings.

Second-hand retail space. For our pocket and for our city.