Shaftesbury’s incubator initiative winner Tihara Smith joins line-up at Seven Dials
Lifestyle brand Tihara Smith has launched a debut pop-up store in London’s Seven Dials after being named as winner of Shaftesbury’s retail incubator initiative, Start Up with Seven Dials.
The 579 square foot store on Neal Street has been designed to be a tropical oasis in London’s West End and sells the brand’s range of vibrant stationery, accessories, handmade raffia designs, gifts and prints.
Founded by UCA Epsom graduate Tihara Smith after she exhibited her Windrush-inspired apparel collection at Graduate Fashion Week in 2018, all of the brand’s products are designed and made in London and inspired by Smith’s Caribbean roots.
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 Smith’s own family’s immigration experience.
The shop will also house a mini Caribbean ‘food market’ serving treats such as Jamaican rum cakes and scotch bonnet chilli jam.
Smith said: “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.”
The Start Up with Seven Dials initiative was launched by Shaftesbury and Seven Dials to celebrate and support budding UK brands that either launched or developed their business amid the Covid-19 pandemic. Following her selection as winner, Smith has received a ‘blank canvas’ retail space rent-free, and has also benefited from Shaftesbury’s support with regard to in-store operations and fit-out.
Samantha Bain Mollison, retail director at Shaftesbury, said: “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.”
Runners-up in initiative included Olive Jennings, Billi London and KATI KAIA, which are all female led brands and have also won pop-up space at Seven Dials.
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