Up the Garden Bath celebrates topping £100,000 in sales.

‘Up the Garden Bath’ Excels Again for Local Creators

An award-winning Peterborough eco-group is celebrating after seeing sales at their new high street store top more than £100,000, just in time for Christmas.

Up The Garden Bath founders, Dave Poulton and Kez Hayes-Palmer, were given the keys to their latest UNITY store after signing an initial one-year contract on November 18 at Queensgate Shopping Centre.

The inspirational project showcases 50 local creators, artists and makers who each live within a 50-mile radius of Peterborough.

Just one month on from launching, the pair say their tills haven’t stopped ringing as customers continue to shop locally ahead of the big day.

Through the ongoing support of the public, UNITY has generated a staggering £100,000 in sales on behalf of the 50 small business owners who were chosen to sell their products in-store.

“We want to thank everyone who has shopped at UNITY, your support has been overwhelming and we really appreciate how everyone has got behind the project. We are creating something very special, and it has shown that there is a massive demand for locally made products from local businesses.

“This project positively impacts on so many people and is changing lives forever. None of our vendors would be able to afford their own shop in Queensgate so to be able to give them this opportunity is incredibly important. We want to support as many people as possible and help their business grow.”

Up The Garden Bath co-founder Dave Poulton

But the shop is more than just products.

Dave added: “The shop has its own lifeforce and is more of a community shop with free crafting activities for kids and regular workshops that are accessible to everyone. We are putting UNITY into the community and the feedback from shoppers has been amazing.

“People leave the shop with a smile on their faces and the shop has a real positive vibe.

“Over 8,000 people have purchased an item and that sends a really powerful message that shoppers are prepared to ditch the high street brands and support small local businesses.”

Up The Garden Bath co-founder Dave Poulton

Constant flow of customers

It has been transformative for traders like Alaina Davies, of Alaina Creates from Hampton Vale, who now has a brick-and-mortar platform for her greetings cards and prints.

She said: “The run up to Christmas has definitely meant I’ve seen an overwhelming increase in my product sales.

“It’s so lovely to know customers have seen my products and liked them enough to buy them as gifts for friends, family and themselves. When I’ve visited the store, it’s had a constant flow of customers every time.

“It’s so incredible to see that the general public actually do love shopping small and local during the holiday season, and of course means the world to us small businesses selling our wares at the UNITY store.”

UNITY store aims to secure long-term future

UNITY’s success and positive impact has caught the eye of shopping centre bosses at Queensgate Shopping Centre who are keen to see the collaborative retail project continue beyond its initial one year contract.

Everyone is keen to see the project thrive and to help secure the financial future of the store.

Dave and Kez have created a sponsorship package, which allows organisations to support the ongoing continuation of the exciting community venture.

Kez Hayes-Palmer said “We want our UNITY project to continue growing and we will be rotating vendors throughout the year with the aim of helping as many small businesses as possible.

“Our sponsorship packages allow organisations to support our aims and we have already secured the backing from a few local businesses.

“Any revenue generated for Up The Garden Bath will be used to support our multiple community projects across Cambridgeshire and create opportunities in the community.”

Journey into retail

Up The Garden Bath’s journey into the world of retail started during lockdown in 2020 when the duo found their key markets of schools, community centres and residential care homes inaccessible due to the pandemic restrictions.

The pair had the idea to create eco-friendly, innovative fabric plant pots, made from recycled material, to maintain a revenue stream and keep the community interest company afloat.

After selling 2,000 products, and generating nearly £20,000 in sales, the idea was put forward for a prestigious Small Business Sunday award – backed by Dragons Den former panellist Theo Paphitis – which the team won.

The buzz around the zero-waste idea, which sees the product fold inside out, from envelope to plant pot, saw Up The Garden Bath approached by Queensgate Shopping Centre management and the pair were invited to fill an empty store.

Given just 24-hours to turn it round, Up The Garden Bath looked to other smaller businesses to help fill the shelves; and the UNITY project was born.

Fast-forward just two years, and four hugely successful pop-up stores later, UNITY now sits alongside major high street brands in Peterborough’s largest shopping centre.

Award-winning year

The latest success caps a record-breaking year for Up The Garden Bath which has seen them win the prestigious National Lottery – People’s Project, deliver a 26 week community gardening project and create pop up pollinator parks using their upcycled bathtubs as they regenerate areas of Peterborough.

The award-winning community project has also recently been recognised for its environmental work and celebrated winning ‘The Sustainability Award’ in the Peterborough Telegraph’s Business Excellence Awards 2023.

Dave Poulton added: “It’s been an amazing year and our community project goes from strength to strength. 2024 is already looking like it will be an even more successful year with loads of exciting projects lined up. We want to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has supported us and been part of our journey.”

UNITY is open seven days a week and can be found on the ground floor of Queensgate Shopping Centre, next to Superdry and Fat Face.

If your business wants to get involved in the UNITY project, please contact Dave and Kez at info@upthegardenbath.co.uk.

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