Shaftesbury has announced the opening of a debut pop-up store in Seven Dials for Tihara Smith, the lifestyle brand named winner of its retail incubator initiative Start Up with Seven Dials.
The 579 sq ft Tihara Smith store at 37 Neal Street has been curated as a tropical oasis in the heart of the West End, stocking the brand’s range of vibrant stationery, accessories, handmade raffia designs, gifts and prints. All of the brand’s products are designed and crafted in London, inspired by the founder’s Caribbean roots.
The founder, Tihara, is a graduate of UCA Epsom and launched the eponymous label after exhibiting her original Windrush-inspired apparel collection at Graduate Fashion Week 2018. A complete outfit from her graduate fashion collection was recently acquired by the Museum of London, as part of a multi-generational exhibit on the Windrush and Tihara’s own family’s immigration experience.
As well as showcasing Tihara Smith’s extensive product range, the Seven Dials store will also house a mini Caribbean ‘food market’ serving treats such as Jamaican rum cakes and scotch bonnet chilli jam.
The Start Up with Seven Dials initiative has been implemented by Shaftesbury and Seven Dials to celebrate and support budding UK brands that either launched or developed their business amid Covid-19. Tihara Smith was selected as winner through a comprehensive judging process with a panel of experts, and has received the ‘blank canvas’ retail space rent-free, along with full support from Shaftesbury in store operations and fit-out.
Samantha Bain Mollison, Retail Director at Shaftesbury, commented: “Tihara Smith really stood out among all of the competition entrants for its original and joyful product range, meaningful brand heritage, and well-considered business structure. We are pleased such a talented new retailer applied for the Start Up with Seven Dials initiative, and it is great to have this pop-up launch coincide with the Museum of London’s showcase of her work. The Tihara Smith store enhances the life and colour of Neal Street, and it is a fantastic step forward for the brand.”
Tihara Smith, Founder of Tihara Smith added: “After so much hard work in establishing my brand, the launch of my first store is a huge milestone. I’m excited to utilise this space in Seven Dials to bring the vibrancy of Tihara Smith to more people. I have traded online with my own website and with online marketplaces such as Etsy and Jamii in the past, but this physical retail space will give me the platform to establish a stronger connection with customers and enable visitors to personally experience the spirit and story of my brand.”
Further to Tihara Smith, three female-led brands were selected as runners-up in the Start Up with Seven Dials Initiative: Olive Jennings, Billi London and KATI KAIA. Billi London is set to join Seven Dials in early September at 35-37 Monmouth Street, and will showcase her revolutionary female tights offering alongside an exclusive ‘Seven’ collection designed specially for the new Seven Dials store.
Tihara Smith’s launch on Neal Street follows the successful tenure of runner-up brand Olive Jennings, following its launch on Monmouth Street in May. The store, which showcased its eco-friendly décor and homewares in the prominent store space, was reported by Olive Jennings to have driven strong footfall and sales performance. The brand’s presence on Monmouth Street also sparked a direct increase in brand awareness, with a 109% month-on-month increase to new traffic visiting the Olive Jennings website.