While the high-octane excitement of Tent London is always seductive, designers still have to connect with their customers for the other 365 days in a year. This obvious need got the organisers of Tent London thinking and in a light bulb moment came up with Shop Tent, a new online retail platform for past and present exhibitors.
This new project recognises that, despite impressive growth in e-commerce sales in the design sector, a lot of independent designers’ original work just isn’t getting the exposure it deserves. The new Shop Tent site will give these designers the aggregated pull of the Tent London brand and its 37,000 e-newsletter subscribers. When online, these visitors can become shoppers, which is good news for everyone.
As a leading UK trade show and London Design Festival hub, Tent London’s primary role has always been to source a carefully curated mix of designers who in turn launch successful products into the industry, supported by press and promotion. Shop Tent will become the show’s consumer element. This will help differentiate the show from the shop, and help keep show days trade and press focused.
Designers are personally sourced internationally by the Tent London team from their trips around the world including Milan, Taiwan, New York, Tokyo, Stockholm and Paris as well as the cream of the crop from the UK. Response from brands and designers has already been overwhelmingly positive. Confirmed Shop Tent exhibitors include Mineheart, Handmade Industrials, Sonya Winner, Kristjana S Williams and Duffy London, among others.
Tent London organisers were adamant that Shop Tent would not be just another boring curated area on another annoying flash website. “We wanted instead to create a bona fide site exclusively for our exhibitors and we are the only show to offer this,” says Tent London show founder, Jimmy MacDonald.
So the layout all about simplicity; no flash selling or passwords, no hidden content or daily marketing bombardments. Instead, the regularly refreshed content will be led by the sellers and curated by Tent London in an easy to navigate format listed by straightforward design disciplines. Visually the new site will be closely linked to Tent London with the same signature graphics and easy to use navigation tools. Care has been taken not to blend the categories and to keep different price points clear.
Plans are also in place to offer an iPad version of Shop Tent to exhibitors so orders can be placed through the website from the stands during the show. There will be an opportunity to shop by country showcases and designers within affiliated groups as seen at the show, with a ‘Stores’ function where country groups and collectives can retail together, for example 100% Norway. And the new Shop Tent is already attracting designers who haven’t even shown at Tent yet! Look out for Joanna Tammsalu, ByJalmari and Fred & Juul when the site goes live.
“All too often, visitors see designers at Tent London, then they disappear for the rest of the year. Shop Tent enables us to establish a strong community, connecting designers with design lovers and a platform on which our designers can build their businesses,” says MacDonald.