Young entrepreneurs in Huddersfield are being given the chance to forge ahead with an experimental business model in a pop-up shop supported by Kirklees Council.
The innovative scheme, which will provide a group of 13 to 29-year-olds with business mentoring and experience of the marketplace, will run for 13 months selling home-made and hand-made clothing, accessories, homeware and art.
The opening this weekend of the All Good in the Hudd shop, on High Street, follows a trial run last spring when young creatives were given space in the Kingsgate centre over a weekend in May.
The new permanent shop has benefited from reduced rent and a start-up grant from the council. More than a dozen stockists have signed up.
But not everyone is happy. Elisa Etemad opened Crafty Praxis in the Byram Arcade four years ago selling work by local and national artists and designers aged 16 to 60-plus.
After being denied the opportunity to participate in All Good in the Hudd she regards the council’s pop-up shop as unfair competition.
Elisa launched her business with the help of a start-up grant from the University of Huddersfield, where she was a student, and via her own savings.
She has struggled to establish her shop and to increase footfall to Byram Arcade. She claims Kirklees Council has delivered little in the way of advertising support and that the introduction of bus gates has also had a detrimental effect on visitors.
“I initially applied to be a supplier to ‘All Good In The Hudd’ as I had been part of the pop-up shop earlier in the year. I thought that if I was part of it I could benefit in some way from its success,” she said.
“However I was informed that, because I had already ‘made it’, stocking my work could not be justified. I am not against competition but how am I expected to compete with a shop which enjoys the benefits yet with much lower overheads than I have?
Elisa added: “I’ve worked extremely hard, putting lots of money, time and energy into trying to make my little shop a success, along with the other retailers in the arcade, and had nothing like the support the council has been able to offer in the new shop.”
A 30 per cent commission is taken from all products sold at All Good in the Hudd, reduced to 20 per cent if young suppliers volunteer at the shop for half a day a week.
Those taking part will acquire real life work experience, new skills, potential income (if the shop makes a profit) and a reference from Kirklees Council.
Lucy Bye, Enterprise Project Manager at Kirklees Council, said it was a unique initiative that gave young people opportunity and the first step into business.
A spokesman for Kirklees Council said: "While we have worked with Elisa in the past and she has benefited from this kind of scheme, All Good in the Hudd is about giving young entrepreneurs their first steps in business, and this was the basis on which we applied for the funding."
The new store opens on Saturday.