After dealing with the “frustration of not being able to find a pop-up service for hand makers in Newham,” Bianca Frimpong took matters into her own hands and founded The Community Shop Newham.
The Community Shop is a social enterprise seeking to empower local artisans in Newham by giving them a space to sell and share their handcrafted goods and grow their small businesses. The hand-makers are provided with a space to sell in person and online and the space needed to offer workshops on their crafts to the public.
The Community Shop provides a physical and virtual platform for hand-makers and a venue for public workshops. Having this space serves as an invaluable experience for these hand makers. Bianca claims her favourite part is watching these small businesses and young people grow in the Community Shop’s environment. At the Community Shop, you can see the true creativity these local artists are displaying through their unique artistic innovations and one-of-a-kind creations.
Bianca established the shop in July 2022. This journey has been anything except linear. She dealt with challenges along the way, including struggling to find a space for the shop. After being unable to find an actual unit to have the shop, Bianca had to detour from her original plan. Originally, Bianca set out for a three month project, and this debacle set her back to making this a one month project.
Bianca showcased her creativity, resourcefulness and passion by taking “a shipping container and converting that into a shop front.” Bianca explains this layout proved to be handy because the business was now “convertible”. She was able to move the shop to be anywhere she wanted and expand the shop into a six month project and beyond. The Community Shop Newham has already helped twenty-two small enterprises in the first few months of its journey.
Bianca is optimistic about the shop’s future and is thrilled to continue sharing the talents of these local artisans. They have recently secured a new storefront in Canning Town. The Community Shop is moving to a brand new unit, which is being sustainably designed and built by architecture students.
When pondering the impact she wants this shop to make on the local communities, Bianca finds it “exciting.” The Community Shop will “have this new space in Canning Town, so it’ll be interesting to see how it affects that community as well as the Royal Docks community.”
There have been recent events such as the Spring Market, which was held in collaboration with the Good Hotel in Newham. Bianca was excited about this event because it was the perfect “opportunity to meet the hand makers and do some shopping.” This day was jam-packed with fun through various entertaining activities for kids, crafts, and an Easter egg hunt.The pop-up shop in Canning Town will be running from April 22nd through June 24th at Silvertown Way, Canning Town London, E16 1DH if you would like to attend!