The Hounslow high street start-up competition: what happened next…
Last week, we announced that AbayaTopia, Kidwise and DanTheBikeMan would be launching their winning start-up ideas in retail spaces across Hounslow.
Since then, we’re excited to say that all three pop-ups are now open and welcoming local customers through their brand-new doors.
But how did our winners find the challenge of turning their big ideas into a reality?
And how did the team behind Save The High Street Hounslow manage to make it all happen?
Let’s find out.
Dan Barnett of DanTheBikeMan at The Centre Feltham
Dan runs a mobile mechanic service for local cyclists in Hounslow but entered our competition to test his idea for a fixed workshop on the high street.
Here’s what he had to say about bringing this idea to life at The Centre Feltham:
“Goodness gracious me. First it was sheer excitement… then I felt slightly overwhelmed! But once the space was set up, I chilled out and went back to normal again. Having my own space is miles better and demonstrates that this is where my business needs to go. It’s invaluable. I am a doer kind of guy. I am happy and content. Everything I wanted to happen has happened and I’m chuffed!”
Zeenat Choudhury of AbayaTopia at The Treaty Centre
Zeenat entered our competition to launch her very first physical pop-up at The Treaty Centre for her leading online modest fashion brand, AbayaTopia.
How did she react when we announced her as one of our winners?
“I was very excited and surprised to find out I had won. Then it became overwhelming with all that I had to do. I was nervous the day before the opening, as so much needed to be ready, like the till system. But once we opened, I felt very happy as a lot of customers came in. There was even a queue outside! Customers have been saying that Hounslow needs a shop like this. Feedback has been really positive and that makes me feel really happy.”
Sumera Kidwai of Kidwise at Hounslow House
Sumera is a qualified science teacher and has long wanted to bring science to the high street in her vision for a kid-friendly science lab where children and their families can learn about science in a fun, interactive and hands-on way.
As one of our winners, we helped Sumera launch Kidwise at Hounslow House to put this idea to the test for the very first time.
How has she found the whole experience so far?
“This concept has been cooking in my head for a long time, and to be given the opportunity to bring this to life was not just a business idea come true but a dream come true, too. The turnaround was a whirlwind but I was given so much support and encouragement.
On the day of the announcement, my husband, who has been my support system, wrote my speech. He is going on this journey with me and I am so grateful. Seeing the space set up was a wow moment for me. To see my logo printed and displayed in prestigious Hounslow House was an emotional experience. I look forward to being part of the local children’s science journey.”
And how did we manage to launch three businesses so quickly?
Funded by the Central Government Additional Restrictions Grant, everyone here at SaveTheHighStreet.org and Hounslow Council pulled together and made the impossible possible! From Success Managers to designers, we all worked together to bring our brilliant winners’ ideas to life… all in what felt like, and very well could be, record-breaking time!
Each winner was given 1-to-1 time with The Success Team behind Jo — the unique business support platform by SaveTheHighStreet.org — which gave them the guidance and expertise they needed to launch successfully on the high street.
At the centre of this exciting project, though, was John Abbate, Customer Experience Lead here at SaveTheHighStreet.org.
John worked closely with our winners on-the-ground in Hounslow, using his years of experience as one of the UK’s leading visual merchandisers to turn three vacant units into impressive, customer-first spaces that exceeded all expectations in less than two weeks.
Here’s what John had to say about the experience:
“We didn’t want these pop ups to look like pop ups. We wanted them to look like how our winners visualised them in their dreams. We had just two weeks to come up with a concept that fit the locations, source furniture and displays, and set up each pop-up. All with limited resources, money and time.
Within just 3 days, a pile of materials and furniture that needed to be assembled was transformed, with a little bit of our help, into the brilliant visions of our three winners. Their doors are now open, they’re learning how to sell face to face to their customers and they now have a home for their business that’ll be the testing ground and launch pad for their futures.”
And now, it’s over to you…
Are you a local customer in Hounslow?
Pop into the The Treaty Centre, Hounslow House or The Centre Feltham and show your support to one (or all!) of our winners in the borough.