A new initiative by Westminster City Council and New West End Company called Meanwhile On: Oxford Street is looking for fledgling brands, entrepreneurs and creatives wanting to launch their first bricks and mortar space.

As part of the council’s wider Fairer Economy agenda to invite new and exciting brands to the city’s high streets, the programme offers businesses substantial retail, mentoring and design support, provides a six-month rent-free tenancy in a fully fitted store on Oxford Street, plus a 70%-plus reduction on business rates.

“The West End has recovered quickly from the pandemic but there are still too many vacant units and poor-quality occupants,” comments Cllr Geoff Barraclough, Cabinet Member for Planning and Economic Development. “That’s why we’ve set up Meanwhile On: Oxford Street to help fill the gaps with upcoming brands showcasing their innovative new ideas. I am excited to welcome new brands to one of the most famous streets in Europe, and support them with free rent, reduced business rates and help with promoting their businesses.”

we’ve set up Meanwhile On: Oxford Street to help fill the gaps with upcoming brands showcasing their innovative new ideas

The three-year project will be delivered by retail placemaking consultancy Someday Studios which helps landlords transform underused spaces into vibrant destinations that support local start-ups and creatives. The consultancy was founded earlier this year by Aoife Byrne and Becky Jones (pictured), who have previously launched, operated and marketed some of the UK’s biggest multi-unit retail sites, activated over 500 stores and worked alongside over 2,500 entrepreneurs.

“We’re delighted to have been chosen to deliver this campaign for Westminster City Council, and to play a part in helping to shape the future of one of the world’s most iconic retail streets,” says Someday Studios. “Our passion is helping to build and nurture talented new brands; we can’t wait to see what London has to offer and are excited to help the winners make the most of this incredible opportunity to showcase their brand to millions.”

The successful applicants will need to offer ‘something unique’ to Oxford Street and bring their brand’s story to life through new experiential methods such as virtual reality, interactive exhibitions or live production demonstrations, as well demonstrating how sustainability plays a part in their business. The start-ups must also be able to fund the other associated costs of running a store for six months and show potential to launch long-term.

Meanwhile On: Oxford Street is expected to support around 35 brands over three years, with the first store opening this autumn.

Pictured L-R: Aoife Byrne and Becky Jones