Cover Story Food Retail

Four blueprints for starting a spirits company

How four independent distilleries with very different formats launched. There are easy ways to set up an urban spirits startup, and then there’s East London Liquor Company, an ambitious vodka, gin and whisky distillery established in 2014. Its site also hosts a bar and the company runs a small distribution business, too. Founder Alex Wolpert brought years of experience in …

Food Retail Workshop

Timing the supermarket sweep

Pasta sauce maker Mr Organic is part of a wave of startup food and drink brands biding their time before they agree on a supermarket deal. ‘The plan is to make organic food more accessible,’ says Kostas Papakostas, co-founder of grocery brand Mr Organic. He says supermarkets are an inevitable step towards reaching that goal. The only question for Papakostas …

Cover Story Featured Stories Food Retail

Distilling the details

The tactics small-scale producers used to change the landscape of the spirits industry.  It takes some guts to enter an industry dominated by global players with very strong brands, in a category that was decidedly uncool, and with an obstructive and seemingly impenetrable licensing regime in place. It’s remarkable that a handful of entrepreneurs were able to make their mark …

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Retail Workshop

Will chatbots take over customer service?

The benefits and limitations of chatbots are a major talking point in retail. Retailers have been using rudimentary artificial intelligence software to replicate the kind of human interactions that people are used to having over the phone to a call centre. Facebook in particular has been shouting about how chatbots are a game-changer for customer service, and is already integrating …

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Retail Workshop

Online glasses brands are ditching chatbots for social media

Ace and Tate’s flirtation with Facebook, Snapchat and Skype is emblematic of how companies everywhere are turning to social media for customer service and sales. Selling glasses in shops isn’t easy. People get overwhelmed by the choice, and frustrated by trying on lots of frames. Doing it online is even harder. Amsterdam-based Ace and Tate has thrown the digital kitchen …

Cover Story Fashion Featured Stories Lifestyle Retail

Black-owned, British-made and worth a fortune

The epic transformation of the black hair and beauty industry. Black hair is a big deal – culturally and economically. Black women are estimated to spend around six times more on haircare than other women, typically change their hairstyle far more often and spend hundreds of hours in hair salons. And yet, barely any mainstream UK retailers stock hair extensions, …