Fashion Finance Food Lifestyle Retail Workshop

Chasing the god squad: meet the companies targeting Muslim and Jewish consumers.

Young Muslims and Jews are emerging as a lucrative and untapped source of customers. But how exactly should a business pitch its religious creds? Trying to ‘keep kosher’ or buy halal (consuming items that are ‘permissible’ in Judaism and Islam, respectively) has so far existed outside modern mainstream consumerism. Choice has been scant, quality has been poor and products have been sold through niche …


Retail Workshop

Specialise or shut up shop: the newsagent’s dilemma

Independent newsagents have been squeezed by high street supermarkets and the declining circulations of mass-appeal magazines. We spoke to one which has thrived by getting closer to niche titles. Sandeep Shreeji is a rarity among newsagents. And not just because he’s still standing. Shreeji knows his magazines beyond merely cover prices and delivery dates. He gives customers advice and suggestions and …


Food Retail

Coffee prices to go up

Coffee shops are being stung by a triple whammy of increasing costs. London’s independent coffee scene is having to react to costs shooting up on three fronts: a hike in property rates, the introduction of the national living wage and, most notably, pricey raw green beans. Sterling’s 20% slide against the US dollar has meant coffee roasters are having to …


Retail Tech

The speccie startups taking on the giants in the glasses business

Cheaper and cleverer machines have inspired a new generation of ambitious founders to make and sell their own glasses. In a warehouse in Hackney Wick, Brian McGinn shapes a pair of spectacles from a sheet of Italian acetate using tools he says anyone could buy from B&Q. The self-taught maker has come to understand the inner workings of the eyewear industry …


Retail Workshop

Masterclass: choosing shop locations with Aesop

Thomas Buisson, general manager of Aesop, talks about how the cosmetics company has gone about building a retail estate that’s redefined how shampoo and moisturisers are sold and marketed. Courier: What’s your general approach to picking the right spot for a new Aesop store?  It’s a combination of science and gut. There’s a standard method most retailers use of taking information about people in an area: average incomes, education and …

Martin Usborne and Ann Waldvogel of Hoxton Mini Press

Arts Retail Workshop

Hoxton Mini Press: The small publisher that’s created a book-selling brand

People don’t tend to shop for books by publisher. But three years after Hoxton Mini Press released its first photobook, it has built up something of a cult following. Big publishers have long dominated the market for expensive coffee table books, but now a tiny two person book maker is edging its way into people’s living rooms. Hoxton Mini Press’ …

Agi & Sam, menswear founders

Arts Fashion Retail Workshop

Picking the right collaborators

Menswear brand Agi & Sam took off in 2012 when they collaborated with Liberty and Topman. This stimulated growth but also had significant financial and operational repercussions. Its founders give their advice on what to think about when picking company partners. When recent graduates Agape Mdumulla and Sam Cotton met while working at Alexander McQueen in 2008, it was difficult to fathom how they …

Dusty Knuckle, east London bakery

Food Retail Workshop

What do retail hirers look for in new recruits?

East London bakery Dusty Knuckle explains how personality and work ethic are more important than baking skills when judging their new recruits.   A big shift in retail recruitment in recent years has been picking personality over experience. The theory goes that learning facts about, say, mobile phone tariffs, can be easily taught but emotional intelligence and charisma can’t, and it’s these qualities that …

Culture Design Fashion Lifestyle Retail Workshop

Are family-owned businesses a good idea?

We speak to a seventh-generation milliner about the company’s experiences.   Working with your nearest and dearest might sound a hellish prospect to some, but family firms have been the lifeblood of the UK economy for centuries. The UK currently has 4.6 million registered family businesses, generating £1.3tn in turnover a year. Some of the world’s biggest firms are still family run, …