The Henley Pop Up Shop returned to the Old Fire Station Gallery last week, featuring a lineup of luxury, local lifestyle brands. Now in its fifth year, the annually awaited Pop Up Shop brings together the finest local creatives in fashion, accessories, beauty, and home design, and will be open until 5pm on Tuesday 11th.
The Henley Pop Up Shop, which began its life in 2015 as the Henley Pop Up Fashion Week, was founded by fashion designer, Arzu Kara. Despite having recently had a baby, Arzu was determined for the event to return again this year. “It’s our fifth year, and it’s bigger and better I think,” she said. “Every year I’ve been either pregnant or nursing a small baby. I think it’s because the response was so phenomenal that I had to do it again and I’ll just keep doing it.” The shop opened at 10am on Thursday 6th, with an exclusive launch party sponsored by Coppa Club taking place later that evening.
The Pop Up Shop showcases the work of nine entrepreneurs — the highest number of exhibitors in the event’s history. Arzu’s own women’s clothing line, Arzu Kara, stands alongside the exquisite jewellery of Nicky Blystad, natural skincare from h by Maia, women’s nightwear brand Siân Esther, handmade leather bags and accessories by Molleé, sustainable accessories label Embellished Truth, luxury fashion & accessories brand Estée Rose, furniture and interiors company Salt & Steel, handcrafted homeware by Yellow Dot Studio, and hand poured candles from t.&toff.
The nine businesses were carefully selected by Arzu, ensuring a collection with variety as well as expertise. “I had a lot of interest this year from people messaging before we’d even started it,” she explained. “I have a vision and a style. I like to think that everyone I chose fits in with what that style is, and they’re all really talented.” Besides Arzu’s own brand, Nicky Blystad and h by Maia were the only returning exhibitors, with the remaining six businesses making their debut appearance at the Pop Up Shop. At Thursday’s launch party, Maia commented, “I’m excited because I really enjoyed it last time. It’s really nice to be invited back again because there’s only a couple of us. I like working in Henley and I love supporting small businesses. I think there’s so many gorgeous products here, so many amazing entrepreneurs trying to make a living from doing things that they feel really passionate about.”
Nightwear designer Sian Esther, whose ethical pyjama brand supports disadvantaged women through a number of charity partnerships, said, “This is my first time with Arzu and my first in Henley apart from my launch party.” She continued, “I’ve loved doing this because it’s so great meeting local people and having a bit more time to build a relationship with customers and that trust element. Everyone’s been really friendly, it’s a light and bright space, and all the brands complement each other. It’s got a good aesthetic and a good flow.”
A number of the exhibitors are also members of the Creative Duck community, including leather craftsman Graeme Yardley. Graeme, who started designing and stitching leather accessories as a hobby, founded Molleé 18 months ago. He met Arzu through Creative Duck, and is collaborating with her on a handbag for her collection in addition to his appearance at the Pop Up. “I think people see this as a bit more of an arty, better class of [products],” he observed. “This is lovely because a lot of it is hand designed and it’s more premium stuff so you get a better clientele coming in. It’s been really good and the feedback has been great.”
The Henley Pop Up Shop will be open until 5pm on Tuesday 11th June before its doors close for another year, so pop along to the Old Fire Station Gallery to support the superb local retailers making products you won’t find on the high street. And just in case you can’t make it, visit the entrepreneurs’ respective websites (linked above) to shop online, or head to Fluidity (in Bell St) to find Arzu Kara’s latest collection.