In the heart of Birmingham City, a grand and elegant piece of Victorian architecture provides the foundation for a unique shopping experience. Small units built into the classic and charming interior host a range of exclusive retailers that you wouldn’t normally find on the high-street. It has been here since 1877, but the Great Western Arcade has just as much relevance today, and perhaps the most relevant of all sits at unit No 18.
Provide, created to promote good design and independent culture, are currently residents at No 18 with their modern and industrial pop-up. Their name is suggestive of their ethos, providing a platform for honest and practical design. The Birmingham based brand design their own minimal product range, whilst establishing a strong focus on creative collaborations.
‘The Best of Brum’
Provide’s pop-up store in the Great Western Arcade is an exciting concept for the festive period, branded as ‘The Best of Brum’ the store brings together a hand picked selection of products from emerging artists and designers working in Birmingham. Merchandised on exposed brickwork and worn timbres, the store design highlights the industrialism that influences a lot of its offering. From framed prints of Birmingham’s brutalism and knitwear celebrating anti-establishment subcultures to brand designers making honey and street artists turned sign makers, the Provide pop-up is a flourishing example of modern creativity. This multi-offering retail environment also boasts an upstairs gallery, a clean, open event space, presenting a series of exhibitions celebrating brutalism in Birmingham, as well as book signings, launch parties and more.
What is perhaps most intriguing about Provide is their unique approach to retail. Firstly, by collaborating with their growing network of brands, Provide not only continue to encourage the sense of creative community that the brand was built on, but they also gain a substantial offering that warrants a retail space. Secondly, Provide don’t have a retail space all year round, instead they have established a strong online presence and they open a showroom to the public every Friday at their creative workspace ‘212 Space’. By trading as a pop-up, Provide can avoid rent costs, yearly over-heads, and quiet periods and they escape becoming another high-street brand that consumers take for granted. Instead Provide’s online marketing and continued personal networking allows them to build an appetite and anticipation for the brand, meaning as soon as they decide to pop-up, with a store or an event, there is a real demand for the product.
In a time where brands are forced to think differently, this is perhaps a really exciting and contemporary retail model. Using a permanent digital presence to create a demand for a temporary physical presence is an innovative approach Provide have adopted. Provide’s business model is a thriving example of an ultramodern retail offering, signalling just how advantageous it can be for brands to re-consider their retail model.
Check out Provide; https://provideshop.com/
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