Shop Local: Stoke Newington pop-up shopping hub to support Hackney traders again once lockdown ends
PUBLISHED: 13:00 17 November 2020 | UPDATED: 14:55 18 November 2020
A Stoke Newington doll-shop owner says the support she received to help kick-start her business inspired her to help other local traders by setting up a shopping hub.
Despite her shop, Monero kids Boutique on Stoke Newington High Street, being shut due to the second coronavirus lockdown, Sandra Monero encourages customers to drop by when it reopens to check out the N16 pop-up shopping hub she created to support Hackney traders.
The businesses woman remembers how “daunting” it was setting up her own brand selling hand-crafted Black dolls and outfits.
She told the Gazette: “I always said to myself, if I could be in a better position It will be good to help others that are struggling – because I knew it wasn’t only me and there were other people out there.
“Everybody’s got their own story and everyone’s got their own journey that they are going through and it is a struggle.”
Sandra felt on her own without much support until she got help securing funding from her landlord The Guinness Partnership, a national provider of affordable housing and care in England.
She recalls going to a “lovely” place in London Fields called Fabrication and using their sewing facilities as well as visiting a friend’s place to borrow theirs until the Aspire Awards, in partnership with The Guinness Partnership, provided her with a sewing machine, a laptop and other tools to help her produce her doll clothing.
“To be honest I really do owe to The Guinness Partnership and Aspire because if it wasn’t for them I don’t think I’d be in this position now, “ Sandra added.
Before lockdown, Sandra says traders were doing very well at the hub. Customers were drawn in by the music from steel pan drums at the front of the shop and greeted by a “whole range of different things” on sale as well as food vendors selling jerk chicken, lamb burgers and vegan dishes.
“It was a good vibe,” Sandra said.
People stopping by the shop could peruse the hub for children’s toys, garden-ware, crystals, essential oils and herbs, art, clothing, masks, hand-made jewellery and furniture.
Sandra says some of the traders products were bought from suppliers while other things on sale were handmade by local residents in Stoke Newington.
She said the hub was also helping traders collaborate and learn from each other with some getting involved in the hub as a hobby and others using the experience to kick start new or struggling brands.
“The whole idea of having something like the hub is that you don’t have to be attached to a lease or business rates,” she explained.
The doll clothes-maker believes failure is an essential part of success but knows it is difficult for many to take on the risks of starting a new business.
“How would you know what is right and what is wrong, how to reflect and go back to the drawing board? In a way failure is good,” Sandra said.
She also says welcoming local traders to her pop-up has also helped her a lot too.
“Doing it this way is so much more beneficial for me because being in the shop on my own I was isolated.
This way I get to see different traders, mix with different kinds of cultures - so it’s a cool place,” Sandra said.
Now the pop-up is a quieter place with only a few food vendors selling take-away snacks but the business founder is excited for the Christmas rush in December.
“November would have been great if we’d had the opportunity because people like to look around, they like to plan in advance and get products before.
“But Christmas will be crazy which is good for us small traders and businesses because we’ve missed a whole month.”
Monero Kids Boutique can be found at 147 Stoke Newington High Street.
To buy Sandra’s dolls and outfits online or by click and collect click here
Traders selling items at the shopping hub include:
Books by Bisi Akinola-Arutoghor. Visit her e-shop here www.angelicapoems.com/shop
SwAg HaTs by Carmella Woolhead was formed during the first lockdown in May.
“I wanted to design and make handmade ready made turbans for all but with children in mind using stimulating vibrant prints.
“It was hard at first as I sourced all my fabrics online so I couldn’t actually be sure of what I was purchasing. I then set up a website & was told by one of customer’s about the N16 pop up organised by Sandra Monero herself.
“I’d heard of her stunning sassy dolls and I made contact in July ready to trade in August & it was well set up, once the word got out locals in the area would come to support and the place was buzzing with lovely vibes.
“Also networking with the other traders was good for our social media platforms.
“My 88yr old grandfather lives on Brook Road so it would have been nice for him to pop by to lift his spirits, but I’m hopeful that in 2021 this will be possible,” said Carmella.
Christmas Hampers by Mariama
JobiliActiveWear was founded by Joanne Clarke in 2019.
The CEO makes active wear made in African printed 4-way stretch Lycra but during lockdown she started making masks and ironing board covers. Shop online by clicking here.
Hackney based Yinka designs creates bespoke,handcrafted greeting cards and gifts.
Follow on Facebook @yinkadesigns or by clicking here
Mariama by Mariama Tushemeriirwe sells unique hot water bottles and covers, phone holders, scrunchies and other accessories.
Can be found at www.mariama.co.uk or Instagram @mariamabymariama
Art by Bisi Akinola
Find out more on instagram @queenbartcreations7
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