Camden Collective opens C/159 retail space offering cheap rents for creative start-up businesses
17:00 26 March 2014
London’s deputy mayor for business and enterprise met some of Camden’s creative entrepreneurs when he joined celebrations to mark the first year of a project to bring innovative new retail spaces to the borough.
Last Thursday Kit Malthouse visited C/159 the latest outpost of the Camden Collective, a pioneering project aiming to make Camden Town one of the nation’s leading creative centres.
The group’s latest venture has seen it transform a derelict former pound shop in a prime location on Camden High Street into C/159 – 3,000sq ft of bustling retail space for new businesses.
The ground floor of C/159 includes coffee, clothes, jewellery, furniture and art shops, which take advantage of cheaper rents for the first six months of trading to get themselves established, while the upper floors have office space for upcoming creative and tech businesses.
The project was funded using part of a £700,000 grant from the Mayor of London and match funding from Camden Council and Camden Town Unlimited.
Mr Malthouse said: “The Camden Collective is a fantastic example of creative thinking, injecting new life into an old, unloved space on the high street, and I’d like to encourage all those involved for their huge achievements over the past 12 months.”
Alice Howard, the owner of In With the Old vintage gift shop, one of the businesses taking advantage of retail space in C/159, said: “It’s a one-of-a-kind retail space bustling with creative and entrepreneurial energy.
“Being a small business, I’d never be able to afford rent in such a busy high street, so it’s great to have this opportunity.
“The whole aim of my business is to work with all these London-based designer-makers who are small and independent, so it’s also a great opportunity for them to sell their stuff as well.”
Camden Collective is committed to ensuring the cultural legacy of Camden Town continues in often difficult market conditions by providing affordable workspace, boosting business opportunities and creating jobs.
In its first year it has supported 90 new start-up businesses, created 56 jobs, provided 151 young people with support and training, and hosted 95 events in pop-up retail spaces on Camden High Street.
Cllr Valerie Leach, Camden’s cabinet member for regeneration and growth, said: “We’re excited about what C/159 has to offer in giving local entrepreneurs and Camden’s creative community a space to grow and develop.
“Initiatives such as this are really helping to deliver more jobs and business opportunities to the borough.”
* Find out more at camdencollective.co.uk.