Swedish retailers Ikea and H&M are teaming up to create an “Idea Factory” on High Street aimed at finding, advising and promoting designers and small-scale manufacturers in London.
The Atelier 100, the first joint retail venture between the world’s largest furniture retailer and one of the largest global fashion chains, will open in May in Hammersmith, west London, and launch an open call Thursday for creatives and producers within 100 kilometers of the store. To help stock her shelves.
The store is located in Ikea’s first UK shopping center, Livat, which opened in February, and is a meeting place for designers and manufacturers to help create new alliances and ideas, and to be an outlet for selling their creations. Successful applicants will receive up to 10,000 10,000 to scale their ideas into commercially available products and receive training and advice from Ikea and H&M insiders as well as other experts.
All kinds of projects will be considered, from beauty and fashion to jewelry, art and even music. The only limitation is that any end product must be small enough for buyers to carry from the Hammersmith store. The look and feel of the store is also likely to change to reflect the interests and ideas developed by those involved.
“We want to be open to ideas,” said Camilla Henrikson, H&M’s Global Brand Innovation Manager. He said the two retailers wanted to “get closer to customers” and bring ideas to locals so that they could continue to deliver what people want.
The Hammersmith outlet is a year-long pilot project, said Marcus Engman, chief creative officer of Ikea’s parent Inca Group. If it works, more venues will be created in other cities around the world in the future.
He said the concept of the Atelier100 had been under discussion for some time but was part of a search for new ideas to rehabilitate the highways that had shifted to epidemics and online shopping.
“Either you see this as a challenging time for retailers or there’s never been a greater opportunity to develop future ways of retailing. We try to keep a positive outlook and see that things get better,” Engman said.
The first 20 applicants for the Atelier100, who have until April 24 to submit themselves, will be able to start selling their existing products in Hammersmith from next month. It is hoped that the new items created with the help of the project will go on sale in October.
Atelier100 has already joined the creative community around London, listing more than 200 businesses designing and producing products such as fashion and furnishings and the materials used to make them.
The project is now trying to expand the net through posters as well as a digital campaign around London.
“Instead of taking familiar routes, we wanted to explore new ways to find existing creative, new materials and small-scale producers here in London,” Henriksen said. “We see this as the beginning of a very exciting adventure. London is bursting with brilliant ideas and creative people, we want to meet these creators wherever they are.
“Arts, recreation and recreational opportunities have been hit hardest by the epidemic. The H&M and Inca Group see this as an opportunity to get involved with creatives and manufacturers directly, give them the visibility they deserve, and support them to take their business to the next level.