Great design for only a Pound?

Traditionally your local poundshop is not the place you would usually think of to buy the wares of contemporary designers. But thanks to the innovative project of three Londoners: Sara Melin, George Wu and Sara Gottlieb, The Poundshop’s pop up shops, online market and blog are the place to discover and purchase exciting new design products at ridiculously reasonable prices – as the name suggests!

The Poundshop ladies were kind enough to tell me a bit about how it all came about and what’s next!

Hello! Can you please tell me a bit about what Poundshop does?
The Poundshop is a platform for designers to sell their goods under the strict brief that the product is to be sold within the affordable price bands £1, £5 and £10.  The aim of The Poundshop is to spread design to a wider audience by making it accessible through price and engagement. Working with a wide range of designers, most of whom are new to making products, The Poundshop is the perfect testing ground for them to experiment with new and interesting products. With low overheads and the minimal risk of small-scale production, participants are able to experience the market reaction to their wares first hand. The Poundshop pop-up online shop, allows users to purchase products online and our products have now been sold to all corners of the world.

Read more of the interview after the break…

The Poundshop has worked with many cultural institutions to establish itself on the design calendar working with High Street 2012, The Shoreditch Trust , Somerset House and Mother London.

How did The Poundshop came about, what gave you the idea to start it etc?
We all met at the RCA and after graduating in 2008, have been working as graphic designers and illustrators. The idea was born during a discussion about love for design shops, but as the recession had just hit so we were not in a position to set one up ourselves. An architect friend who works for Croyden council suggested we set up one in Croyden as there are many disused shops and joked we should set up a poundshop. What started as a joke turned into a real exhibition as we set ourselves the challenge to create the first design poundshop. Making design affordable to everyone!

You’ve done several pop-up poundshops, which one was the most memorable and why?
For nostalgic reasons we have to say the first one. We had no idea if it was going to work at all or what the reaction would be from the public. On opening night we had a queue going through the shop with a very basic tally till. But everyone was very positive and we had a great cover band. It was an amazing feeling.

What items tend to sell well at The Poundshop and do you know why?
It varies very much from shop to shop. The best sellers are always a surprise. Generally it’s a clever simple take on a classic item that gets shoppers attention, makes them laugh or think ‘I know someone who needs that.’  Also products that are very beautifully made often sell out as no one can resist a bargain.

What’s next for the Poundshop?
Our long-term goals are to get in to production; we would like to become a connection hub between designer, production and the industry and would love to see the whole process from start to finish.

Thanks guys! We will let you know when the next Poundshop opens its doors. In the mean time, keep an eye on their splendid blog

Images by Nick Ballon & Simon Archer Hurlstone.

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2 Responses to Great design for only a Pound?

  1. littlesister says:

    just thought I’d let you know I tried to open the poundshop blog and my antivirus blocked it saying it was an attempted attack on my computer…would of loved to have seen it don’t know if it’s working for other users!

  2. Kate says:

    Oh no! Not doing that for me. Try here:

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