- The Created in Birmingham Bullring shop will cease trading on Sunday May 23rd.
- The market stalls at the front will continue until Saturday 29th.
- Volunteers needed to empty the shop.
- We will have a closing party of some sort on Saturday 29th.
- We’ll take a couple of months off over the summer to regroup and then maybe re-open in the Autumn.
The CiB Shop has, it seems, been a rather successful thing. So far we’ve sold about £30,000 worth of art by local people of which £22,500 has gone into their pockets.
The shop started as a fun idea but very quickly turned into something more serious and complex. It’d become apparent that this has the potential to be a viable business and and important service for the city.
We’ve let the shop evolve, reacting to what people give us to sell and what people buy, which was a good thing. But in doing so the systems we put in place to run the shop have struggled to cope with the increased volume.
On the whole we’ve been playing catchup with a shop that has taken on a life of its own. This is exciting and wonderful to watch unfold but it’s also exhausting and not sustainable in the long term.
Our current shop unit in the Bullring will be going to a paying tenant soon so we have to move out. This was always part of the deal and we’re grateful we were able to have such a fantastic spot for three months, so please don’t blame Bullring for the shop ending. Their support, not to mention incredibly hands-off approach letting us do pretty much whatever we wanted, has been invaluable.
Once we’re closed and out of the Bullring we’re going to take a few months to relax, reflect and regroup. It’s clear there’s a need for a shop in the city centre run on the CiB model, but it’s also clear it can’t be run in the way we’ve been running it. We need to figure out a long term strategy and we need some time and space to do that. Many many people have offered help and advice but we haven’t been able to act on any of it because of the shop itself. (Hell, in order to write this I’ve had to hide upstairs at the back of the stock room.)
If, and only if, we can learn from this experience and figure out a plan that prevents insanity, we’ll open another Created in Birmingham shop somewhere in the city centre in the autumn.
The next few weeks
We will continue trading as normal until Sunday May 23rd. If you’re already supplying us with stuff you’re welcome to restock for those two weeks. If you’re not then I’m sorry but we can’t take anything else. And if you’ve emailed in the last couple of weeks I’m doubly sorry I haven’t been able to get back to you. Our inability to keep on top of emails is one of the main reasons for closing for the summer.
On Monday 24th we will block off 3/4 of the shop leaving the front open for market stalls. These will be trading from Monday through Saturday 29th. Details on how to rent those stalls will follow soon.
In the rear of the shop we’ll be doing a stocktake of everything. For this we will need volunteers! Yes, I’ve finally got something for all those who want to help out to do. If you’d like to help please email firstname.lastname@example.org with ‘Volunteer’ in the subject so we know you’re coming and turn up at the shop on Monday 24th from 11am.
During that week artists need to pick up any unsold work and cash for sold work. We’ll be contacting the artists with more information but I’m hoping we’ll be able to start this process by Tuesday.
And then, on Saturday 29th, we’ll have a little party. Probably starting in the shop and then moving elsewhere.
That’s everything I think. Any questions?