A POP UP shop in Bexleyheath set up as a temporary showcase for three fledgling businesses has proved so popular with shoppers that its doors will remain open.
The women behind the three businesses which make up The Emporium Gift Boutique joined forces to take over a store at Broadway Shopping Centre during Christmas.
Their mix of contemporary and vintage-style furniture, gifts and jewellery has been such a hit that they will continue to trade.
Julia Smith, co-owner of The Busy Stork with her daughter Jessica Staunton, which specialises in baby gifts and keepsakes, set up the internet-based company as ‘a hobby’ only last year.
Their company shares the Broadway retail unit with Indian Rose, which offers bespoke painted and unusual gifts, and Past Times, which sells a range of handmade vintage-style picture boxes by artist Susan Ilic.
Julia, 55, a mum of two daughters and grandmother of three who lives in Welling, said: "Being a part of the store has meant the activity surrounding our business has accelerated from 0-60 in six weeks.
"The interest and enthusiasm shown by our customers has been incredible and exceeded all our expectations.
"We all knew each other from attending craft fairs with our different businesses and when the offer of taking the unit came we jumped at it.
"But we weren’t prepared for how successful it would be.
"Working together was something new and different for us but it certainly paid off for us all."
Jane Elsden, 50, who joint-owns Indian Rose with Veronica Kelly, also 50, and both have a background in sales.
The good friends, who have known each other since their school days, set up their business together once their children were grown up with their own careers and they were looking for a new project.
Indian Rose sells an mix of handmade vintage-inspired gifts based on knitting, sewing and collage, some of which use recycled materials. The gifts are sourced from all over the world.
Jane, from Eltham, said: "The unit in the Broadway has given us a much larger showcase for our range of products, which are all quite compatible."
Peter Sedge, Broadway Shopping Centre Manager, added: "It is fantastic to hear of the success which three such unique businesses have had by taking on a unit together at the shopping centre.
"It is a different retail model from the norm and the great news is that it not only works for the businesses involved but also for our loyal shoppers who have heaped praise on the interesting mix of quality items on offer at The Emporium Gift Boutique."