Gift Focus inc Attire Accessories - November/December 2022

125 RETAILER INTERVIEW Ethical living Prior is a not-for-profit independent shop and workshop space in Bristol Founded by Beck Prior. Here, she tells us about the shop’s ethos and offering Tell us a bit about your store and how you came to open the business. Prior is a not-for-profit independent shop and workshop space in Bristol. We are committed to creating a conscious and mindful shopping experience by only stocking sustainably made modern lifestyle products: homewares, accessories, clothes, jewellery and skincare. We support local brands and are a hub of information for local makers. We want to ensure everything we do creates a positive impact for our local and wider community, and of course, the planet. 100% of the profits that we make is fed back into community workshop provision, local creative projects to improve social issues, charity donations and more. Every January we announce where the profits are being spent. We opened in 2019 and our journey to this point was slightly unusual. My intention wasn’t to open a retail shop, which I know sounds ridiculous as we have a huge shop in the main shopping centre! It’s funny how things change and develop when given the opportunity isn’t it? I am the designer and owner of Priormade Ltd, a contemporary homewares brand that only uses sustainable materials and responsible design. I have been designing and making my products for over 10 years and shared a fabrication workshop space with multiple designers. An opportunity arose to take on a retail unit where I could have a bigger workshop and a window to display my products. However, when viewing the unit, I felt it was silly to keep it all to myself. Opening a shop that showcased some of the best independent eco designers seemed an opportunity not to be missed. My plan was to carefully curate a space full of exceptional craftsmanship, selling sustainable products that I can confidently vouch for. Is the location important to the success of your store? Location is incredibly important. The first shop I opened was in a brilliant area of Bristol but sadly the footfall and public use of the area wasn’t enough to keep the shop open. We tried so hard but we just couldn’t keep it going, especially after the pandemic when the use of the local area changed. We took the leap last year to take a risk and move into an enormous store that rubs shoulders with corporate brands. It was a gamble but it was the right decision. The footfall is fantastic and we are reaching customers who had never shopped with independents before! What challenges were overcome when the company was starting out? The biggest task at the start was getting the shop in Cabot Circus open. The overheads per month are enormous and we started paying them as soon as we received the keys. We had to turn the empty, dilapidated shop into a beautiful, attractive, safe and interesting store as quickly as possible so we could start generating revenue. We worked so hard from sunrise to almost sunrise! Supersizing a little shop into an almost department store was no small feat - the Prior team are fantastic and continuously help me turn my vision into a reality. What is your customer base? It is so mixed. We’ve found that a lot of people want guilt-free