ONE of The Gazette’s Local Business Accelerators (LBA) winners was up in London running a pop-up shop this month.
Betty Hobcraft, who runs Betty Blue’s Loungerie, from her Hartley Wintney home, set up shop at Eland House, in Bressenden Place, near London Victoria Station.
The 24-year-old entrepreneur, who designs lingerie took part in a scheme called PopUp Britain, which aims to help regenerate high street shops.
Betty was among six small businesses that were able to sell their products for two weeks.
Betty’s stint came to an end on Sunday.
“It was a mixed experience,” said Betty whose wares attracted the attention of some shoppers.
“I was surprised by the lack of shoppers and I was surprised it wasn’t in a high street location – it was a little off the beaten track.
“I didn’t get many people looking at my things, but those who did come over and spent time looking, I think are likely to become customers.
“Although I didn’t sell too much during my two weeks in London, I did find that I was getting more customers coming through on my website.”
Betty still believes in the pop-up scheme, noting that February is a difficult month for retailers in general, coming after Christmas and the January sales.
On the plus side, Betty said: “The experience has helped me refocus on where I want my business to go, which will be online.
“Also, I want to get more stockists, so I don’t have to carry so much stock myself.”
Earlier this month, Betty was one of three finalists picked as The Gazette’s LBA winners after taking part in a Dragons’ Den-style event at RSM Tenon’s office in Basingstoke.
She set the business up in 2011 after graduating from De Montfort University and spotting a gap in the market which she describes as being saturated with either unisex type tracksuits or silken slips.
The young entrepreneur has already courted national press coverage when she showcased her designs at last year’s Conservative Party conference as a finalist in an initiative called Start Up Hub UK.
Keen to support not only the British high street, she is also keen to support British manufacturing and has her designs made at factories in north London and Derby.