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Christmas sparks surge in pop-up shops

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Cynthia Mayes at the holiday gift wrapping station. (Photo by Mark Tatem)

Pop-up shops are popping up throughout Hamilton.

With Christmas being the season of giving, charities and community organisations have also got into the act, following the example of PALS, whose blue and white-decorated tree towering in the foyer of the Washington Mall is now a well established Christmas tradition. It is filled with balls and birds in memory of people’s loved ones, and those who buy an ornament for the tree are also making a donation to the palliative and nursing care organisation.

A gift wrapping station on the second level of the Mall supports and promotes the work of the Bermuda Women’s Council (BWC), which is part of the Department of Human Affairs. Council programme participant Cynthia Mayers, manning the gift wrapping table, explained they are raising money to go towards the work of the BWC.

The sail training ship Spirit of Bermuda’s support foundation has opened a shop for the holiday season on Front Street, where they are selling T-shirts, caps, fleeces, among other merchandise to raise money for their work and for maintaining the sailing vessel.

At the Spirit of Bermuda shop, assistant Ke-Anne Adock-Smith said: “We literally did just pop up, on December 6 — just for the holiday. We decided to do it for the Christmas period to raise money for the Spirit’s youth development programme — it’s personal development through sail training.

“It takes quite a lot of money to run the Spirit of Bermuda,” she said, explaining that the costs include maintaining the sailing vessel as well as the courses they offer.

And the items they are selling “make a nice gifts”. She said their pop-up shop was supported by other retailers including Daisy’s, the English Sports Shop and AS Cooper & Sons, who provided items such as counters and mannequins so they could furnish the premises which is next door to the clothing store Cecile.

The majority of the pop-ups are in the Washington Mall — and those entrepreneurs who have decided to go into retail for the holiday season have come up with some innovative ideas.

Rebecca Hanson is one example — she launched The Authentic Bermuda Shorts Company (TABS) in Spring 2013 as an online business — but now it has a presence in the Mall’s Atlantic Jewellery Studio. The colourful and trendy shorts are available in several colours including red, pink, and orange, with winter colours including navy and hunter green on the way.

Atlantic Jewellery’s Jacqueline Lohan said it works well having TABS shorts for sale in her shop, as that merchandise compliments her gentleman’s collection.

Ms Lohan’s own distinctive designs are inspired by Bermuda. She says she has had a good year, but generally it has been a tough period for retailers. The challenges of the economic climate “have been good — it’s forced us to think outside the box. Our brains have been going a mile a minute!”

Ms Lohan said the move from Phase II to the main mall will give them more space. For the moment, they have two locations in the Washington Mall — her original shop, which is located next to the Beluga Bar, and her new, larger space in the mall’s main foyer.

Like the many pop-ups which have appeared in the mall this Christmas season, Ms Lohan also began in a small way, as a vendor at the very first Harbour Nights. “We sold sand and fish quirks jewellery, and wine corks!”

Susan Attride-Sterling’s shop popped up on December 10, and she sells vintage and reproduction jewellery, along with a selection of gently used designer shoes and clothing. She has called the shop Mary’s Roses Vintage Pop Up after her mother who loved roses and was known for her knowledge of them. Located at 129 Front Street, she imaginatively reuses rolling pins and icing tips to display rings and bracelets, and warming decorative touches such as old Persian carpets and a fireplace-style heater make it a welcoming environment.

With the jewellery ranging in price from under $20 to the low hundreds for pieces with precious gem stones and in gold. They come from around the world, as far a field as the Czech Republic and Mexico — and much of it is one of a kind. “I love collecting vintage jewellery and I’ve collected quite a bit over the years. I spent quite a lot of time in the United Kingdom this year and went to many vintage markets and collected more there,” she said.

In addition, her teenage daughters Morgan and Savannah have helped find jewellery for the younger generation and there is a good selection of Goth inspired pieces.

Mary’s Roses is open from 11am to 5pm Mondays through Thursdays, from 11am to 8pm on Fridays, and on Saturdays from 11am to 5pm.

Anther vendor, Naturopath Kuni Frith-Black, has just published her book Bermudian Folk Remedies, which is filled with remedies which can be made with wild

growing plants and fruits.

In the Washington Mall, she is selling her books as well as teas from her kiosk. She said her pop-up shop will come down after three weeks.

Ms Frith-Black has exotic blends including mint combinations, and another mixture of spices that makes it a good seasonal choice, which she packages festively for customers. Other teas are restorative.

She also sells tea pots and cups from her kiosk, which is located in the connecting area between the old and new Washington Mall buildings on the second floor. She added “I’m also at the City Market,” explaining she has been selling her teas there for five years.

Artist Kathleen Emmerson paints Bermuda motifs on Christmas balls from her kiosk, also in the mall. She sells miniature paintings, already framed, wrapped and tagged, as well as larger prints and photography, some lifelike and others in the multiple image, Andy Warhol-style. She is located in the main lobby, and can count the Atlantic Jewellery Studio and the PALS Christmas tree desk as her nearest neighbours.

Showing off one of her hand painted Christmas balls, Ms Emmerson explained she has a variety of Bermudian themes, including the moongate, the Bermuda onion, a buttery and turtles, which are so popular they are almost sold out. “I also personalise them on the back at no charge,” she said.

While it is her first pop-up kiosk venture, she was the artist for a Walt Disney World project, creating hand painted ornaments with the film Tangled’s logo for a tree. “So I thought I’d give it a try with a few designs,” she said. She is also selling cinch bags with a specially beach themed design on it.

In addition, she is selling hand-painted ceramic ornaments, which can be hung from a tree or over the neck of a wine bottle.

Kathleen Emmerson hand paints a custom Christmas ornament at her kiosk Emmerson Art in the Washington Mall. (Photo by Mark Tatem)
Kuni Frith-Black prepares a herbal tea from peach leaves, mint, and ginger. Photo by Mark Tatem
Cynthia Mayes at the holiday gift wrapping station. (Photo by Mark Tatem)