Copop open for business at Pop Brixton
Written by Lydia Gardner, Manager of Communications and Partnerships at Tree Shepherd
December 4, 2015
Categories: Brixton Central, Business and enterprise, Jobs and training, Pop Brixton
Copop, the trading co-operative which grew out of the Tree Shepherd ‘Start Your Own Enterprise Programme’, will open their doors to the public from December 9. Copop are one of the 13 start up businesses who will trade from one of the 10 affordable units based in Pop Brixton. Lydia Gardner, Manager of Communications and Partnerships at Tree Shepherd, told us a bit more about Copop.
Almost a year in the planning and finally the business that truly symbolizes the commitment to local indigenous community enterprise at Brixton’s buzzing enterprise campus Pop Brixton can be realized.
This co-op comprises a dynamic collective of 10 enterprising Lambeth residents, all coming out of long-term unemployment, drawn to each other by a love for fashion, design, beauty and interiors. Seven are black British women, one is a Colombian woman and 2 are white British – with one being male.
One of the biggest challenges for any fledgling business is to be able to resource and finance premises, raw materials, marketing, selling etc. before they can become established and generate sufficient regular earning. These Tree Shepherd graduates have therefore come together to form the Copop so that they can pool their resources and help one another to develop their business. This has been prompted and accelerated by the unique proposition presented by Pop Brixton.
The traders all approached the Tree Shepherd programme when solely dependent on benefits and now have significant experience of test-trading and trading behind them. In addition to generating income and reducing state dependency, a key goal is to generate jobs for local people through employing others which forms part of their long-term vision.
All the individuals in the newly formed co-operative are being supported and mentored by myself and with volunteered support of Diarmaid O’Tuathail, retired Executive Director at Tube Lines Ltd. Project management is being overseen by Colin Crooks, CEO at Tree Shepherd. The establishment and development of trade co-operatives and social enterprises is a key part of the vision and mission of Tree Shepherd.
FOREST TRADE CO-OPERATIVE – THE BUSINESS
The Co-Operative is a ‘start-up’ business and currently has 10 members and they will sell a range of products and services that are sourced and created by its members. The product range is representative of the rich eclectic make up of Brixton and is inspired by the members’ broad cultural heritage which includes the Caribbean Islands, Ghana, Columbia, Guyana and the UK. Members are also all committed to sharing their cultural craft with the community through demonstrations, workshops and classes. This will help promote the cultures of Brixton.
The following is a short summary of the co-op members and their products and services.
1 Cloudia Vardon – bespoke design clothing and accessories trading as Emethicaluxury. Cloudia developed a ‘feel for colour’ from a young age (due to her synesthesia) and now draws on her varied cultural heritage to create luxury fashion items (kimono’s etc).
2 Dalia Aguirre – hairdresser. Dalia has been a mobile hairdresser with clients scattered across London. She is keen to have a premises in Brixton and very interested in the shared space concept. Dalia originates from Colombia and will provide hairdressing for all hair types, including afro, tailored to the local community.
3 Fari Goolab – vintage and retro clothing. Fari is of Guyana and Caribbean heritage, has previously worked as a model and singer and has travelled extensively. She is motivated by fashion, music and photography and has been sourcing beautiful vintage fashion items for a number of years which will be new to market.
4 Janet Jarrett – vintage clothing. Janet is a mature trader who has had a variety of retail roles through the years. She has experience of trading at Brixton and other retro markets and has built up a significant stock of (new) stunning one-off vintage clothing items particularly funk and disco-dress items from the 1970s.
5 Justine Jonas – imported clothing and accessories aka Just Lush. Passionate for the latest fashion trends, she sources clothing and accessories internationally, targeting the 16-25 youth market. Through her children, Justine is tuned into young Jamaican culture and keen to make sure this is not lost at Pop Brixton.
6 Karlene McFarlane – K’Diva make up and beauty services. Karlene has left behind a career in PR and now finds it much more rewarding to make up and pamper women and children. Using high quality products, she offers an instant freshener for people going out, attending events or just needing a ‘lift’.
7 Miri Shalom – With ‘Vintage Rose’ handmade jewellery, Miri has turned what used to be a hobby into a business. She targets trendy, boho-style enthusiasts and incorporates unique crochet and beading work into her designs. Her work perfectly complements the vintage and bespoke traders in the co-op.
8 Nick Slim – ‘Slim of London’ print and design merchandise. With a degree in fine art and print making, Nick has run music and live performance events and also exhibitions. In the Co-Op shop he is looking to develop and expand his own design brand starting with t-shirts, bags mugs etc.
9 Patricia Whyte – ‘Whyte Bells’ handmade beauty products. Patricia has always been fascinated by everything to do with skin and enjoys providing a multi-sensory experience around touch, look and smell. She will demonstrate the process and sell her body cream, scrub and washing products in the Co-Op shop.
10 Paulette Roberts – Emerald and Cerise concept interior pieces and floral displays. Having studied art and design and worked in theatre, Paulette both sources and makes beautiful objects for the home. She particularly targets her range toward young adults and first time home makers.
Contact: Lydia Gardner – email@example.com or 020 3697 1540 or 07985 397464
@TreeShepherdUK www.treeshepherd.org.uk @CoPopBrixton