My company, Retail Profile Ltd, pioneered the concept now seen across Europe of leasing modern kiosks to small retailers in the common areas of shopping centres, railway stations, airports and other venues such as garden centres.
I had seen the concept working in the USA and when I came to the UK I spotted a gap in the market, and customised the American model to suit British culture and business.
It is a niche business which is perfect for pop-up shops and experiential marketing, allowing small businesses to test or promote a new product or service in a low-risk environment so they can gain a valuable first step on the retail ladder – while at the same time the venues maximise their revenues.
I founded Retail Profile Ltd in 2001, starting off with a shared computer and just one member of staff. We grew quickly and in 2003 won the Small Business of the Year Award in the London Business Awards.
The following year, the company faced financial problems and went into receivership, but I very quickly found some investors and was able to buy the company back and restart as Retail Profile Europe Ltd. We have been hugely successful, working with thousands of small businesses, the most successful of which have gone onto to expand and secure both larger and longer term rentals.
I have expanded and exported the concept to two European countries, Russia and Germany. In each case I customised the business model to suit the culture and business environment of the country. In 2008 I set up a licensed partnership, Retail Profile Russia, and in 2010 a wholly owned subsidiary, Retail Profile Europe GmbH.
Our retail clients range from Marks and Spencer to Oxfam, from Samsung to the Germany Post, and we have offices in London, Glasgow, Hamburg, Moscow and Delhi.
In 2010, Retail Profile merged with the AIM listed company, Space and People PLC and now has 110 employees across the UK, Germany, Russia and India.