Although the texture of the popular main streets in the city centre of each city is different, local shops, which are common to almost all of them, are the subtle points that reveal the magic of the city. Chain stores of popular clothing that dominate the main streets, well-known bookstores with long-established roots, and cafes that embody the dynamic structure of the city are like the heirs of the identity of the main street they are located on, as well as local shops.

However, when the economic problems, one of the biggest side effects of the COVID-19 Pandemic, began to affect the United Kingdom, the popular names of the streets had to involuntarily bow to this change, closing their shutters and disappearing into eternity by succumbing to time. As such, the Pop-Up Club, which has entered into a sustainable movement to revitalize the main streets of the United Kingdom, brings an alternative vision and puts a new artistic touch on abandoned retail spaces.

The Pop-Up Club at Dukes Lane, Brighton. Image courtesy of the Pop-Up Club.

Founded by entrepreneur Tillie Peel in 2017 and defining themselves as a forward-thinking retail collective that knows no boundaries, the Pop-Up Club provides an artistic platform by bringing together artists who are struggling to make their voices heard with their artworks, designers who have sustainability at their core, social action groups aiming to raise awareness by giving a message to the masses, and small businesses that don't have access to the high street for economic reasons.

The Pop-Up Club community, which has created a business model called Pop-Up, engages in collective work to realize its sustainable goals in this regard. This collective spirit, which emphasizes economic and social ties based on the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals for Sustainable Cities and Communities, aims to establish a close bond between all segments by implementing the Pop-Up model to revitalize the local economy.

The Pop-Up Club in London, Victoria. Image courtesy of the Pop-Up Club.

In this way, they aim to bring a new breath to art and make it accessible to everyone. In this respect, by joining forces with other small businesses in the regions where they open their pop-up shops, they pave the way for a more independent and creative environment and make the products of sustainable brands more affordable.

Going beyond the galleries and exhibitions where contemporary art meets, and preferring local venues where people from all walks of life come together, Pop-Up Club paves the way for an experience where the viewers will think about art and have the opportunity to meet with artists or designers one-on-one. While the spirit of the city is changing with this new Pop-Up model developing in city centres, artists and designers can exhibit their various artistic works from painting to printing, enamel to jewellery, while also having the opportunity to talk to the masses who come to buy their works.

The Pop-Up Club in Bluewater, Kent. Image courtesy of the Pop-Up Club.

By extending these goals over time, they drew a road map that would have a long-lasting and permanent effect. The community first worked with the council in 2017, taking over one of the U.K.'s local high streets to host a monthly producers' market, organizing pop-up marketplaces that allowed small businesses to test their products and for artists and designers to showcase their work to a wider audience.

Then, by transforming empty stores into affordable Pop-Up Clubs, they paved the way for alternative venues with high footfall, which eventually included big brands. In this way, the Pop-Up Club marketplace has enabled hundreds of successful artists, designers and sustainable brands to grow their businesses, gain recognition and generate income through pop-up shops.

The Pop-Up Club in Dukes Lane, Brighton. Image courtesy of the Pop-Up Club.

The Pop-Up Club community doesn’t have any aesthetic concerns because they use empty and dilapidated areas, but instead, following the values they advocate and their mission, they focus on taking empty areas and creatively beautifying them and making them lively and attractive. In this respect, the community seeks to interact with new target audiences and tries to reach people from all walks of life. Since they try to minimize the financial risks of businesses and aim to grow, they aim to achieve these goals by gathering the diversity of businesses in local regions.

Successfully continuing to be a supporting force in the London retail scene, the Pop-Up Club is a future-proof example of the creativity and craftsmanship of independent artists and small businesses, with stores opened in various parts of the U.K. as a result of tremendous teamwork and effort. Upon intense demand from customers and merchants over time, they had the chance to reach more people by opening pop-up stores in eight more locations, including London, Manchester, Brighton and Kent, in 2021.

The Pop-Up Club in Dukes Lane, Brighton. Image courtesy of the Pop-Up Club.

They have paved the way for the U.K.'s talented artists and designers to have the opportunity to bring a wide range of their work to wider audiences, particularly through their stores at Dukes Lane in Brighton, Bluewater Shopping Center in Kent and Westfield in London. In doing so, they have provided countless artists and designers, as well as small businesses, with the opportunity to earn over half a million in revenue.

A large selection of products from the U.K. homeware brand Rickus Ra and Nephthys Illustrated, popularised for its interesting prints and art designs, are available in these Pop-Up shops. In addition, the refillable candles and bath and body products of the Isle of Avalon, which combines style codes with sustainability, or the products of The Golden Grass Company, known for its handmade jewellery and accessories, are the most preferred products of the masses in almost all Pop-Up shops.

The Pop-Up Club in London, Victoria. Image courtesy of the Pop-Up Club.

A fantastic product of the partnership between East Sussex-based graphic designers and artists Amanda Lewis-Clements and Stefan Mucha, Sussex Art Prints is just one of the popular names at the Pop-Up Club with their artworks inspired by local Sussex and Downs landscapes. They create minimalist works of art for art lovers, based on large and small local landmarks. Caspara, one of the popular designers in almost all of the Pop-Up Club shops, continues to attract attention with the enamel mugs, bowls and jugs and the three-layer tiffins they produce for camping.

By bringing such diversity together on a collective platform, the business paves the way for an artistic language for emerging talented artists to exhibit their work in the stores on the main street or in the pop-up marketplace. In this way, the continuity of the artists in the art world gains success with this socialization work by providing a face-to-face meeting and conversation environment with the masses who come to buy the products.

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