The ranges include vintage collectibles, high fashion, US imports, handmade accessories, designer T-Shirts and handmade body products. They also have an in-store salon for hair and makeup services.
Lydia Gardner recently met with Patricia Whyte to find out what’s been happening since they launched 6 months ago.
The story of the co-operative has had its ups and downs, but read on and you’ll see how ‘success’ is the only word that’s on everybody’s mind.
Fari Goolab and Patricia Whyte pictured.
LG: Tell us about the highlights so far
PW: It was brilliant that our launch night was on London Live TV 6pm headline news. They did a whole 2 hour show which was great. Famous people have also come into the shop such as Sadiq Khan just before he won the election and the gorgeous Karl Collins from Hollyoaks. We are always quick to try and get a selfie!
LG: Its June and you guys have been trading since December. Tell us about the journey.
PW: First we had the excitement of the launch and the realisation that we had actually done it. After a year of meetings we had formed a trading co-operative and were in our own shop. Not only that, we were in the centre of town, at Pop Brixton, where all the action was. But after the launch, we soon realised it wasn’t going to be plain sailing.
LG: Tell us about the difficulties you’ve experienced.
PW: There were the intial struggles over internal positioning in the space – and it’s a very tight space. Then we had the disagreements over the design, look and feel of the interiors. Trading in the winter has been difficult with the crowds kept away by poor weather. In fact bad weather has been an issue – even the temporary roof leaked! As a new business, we have had our concerns over sales and in the first quarter this was slow.
LG: With these struggles, what keeps you guys going?
PW: Each individual in Copop is so passionate about their business and we are all driven to succeed. We are realistic and know that businesses can take time to take off. The fact that we are all sharing the space means that the risk for each person is minimised and we can afford in a sense to not make a profit whilst we get established. We are really looking forward to the summer’s trading and can’t wait for the sun to shine as Pop Brixton is the perfect place to be in the sunshine.
LG: What have been the key lessons you have learned?
PW: It’s given us a chance to work out our top sellers. For instance with my company Whyte Bells, I have now refined the collection. People seem to love the shea butters, cocoa mix butters and water-based creams. I still offer my other body products, but I’m really focussing on producing these. I have also learned that people like the smaller containers, particularly tourists who want smaller products for travelling.
LG: And the other businesses?
PW: With Just Lush, Justine has certain ranges that literally fly off the hangers. For instance she introduced a line of skirts in the design of the British phone box. These sold like hot cakes and we capitalised on the publicity generated by Lorraine Kelly on her ITV programme where she wore it when interviewing Jodie Foster. Jodie said “great skirt” – a celebrity endorsement!
Makeup stylist K’Diva has worked hard to respond to the latest trends and events in town e.g. offering to glitter up people’s lips on celebratory occasions.
LG: What are the plans for Copop over the summer?
PW: We are planning some nice events. On Sunday 26th June we will be hosting an ‘Alice in Wonderland’ tea party 12 – 6pm. Everyone is welcome for iced tea and cake. We are joining in with lots of events being organised by Pop Brixton and it really pays to get involved. In fact at the 1st birthday party for Pop I made £100 in just one day selling my Whyte Bells products. We want to have a fashion show for our collections in July and will be taking our products to the Country Show this year – come and find us in the Lambeth Forest network marquee. We also want to have a “Live Shop Window”. Our stylists will be working with clients at the shop front and our makers will be making out in the sunshine. We are doing everything we can to make this a success.
LG: I can’t wait to come to the next celebration.
PW: You’re welcome any time!
To contact Copop, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
Or call: 07808 555261
Visit the store: Unit 2, Ground Floor, Back of Pop Brixton, 49 Station Rd, SW9 8PG