- Who or what is The Storefront?
The Storefront is a multi-brand streetwear/skate-wear store, brand and community. It is comprised of 4 young driven entrepreneurs from all different backgrounds; but the same shared vision. The store is currently based on 33a Great James Street, adjoined to Atelier. What began as a Facebook group only 12 months ago that was designed to create a forum where like-minded individuals could come together to celebrate their interests from clothing to film, music, art and photography in a safe space, free of judgement. From the Facebook Group and Instagram, we were able to advance our brand by creating our own clothing line with entire creative control to our own preferences. As 4 individuals with a passion for clothing, we created the brand with T-Shirts on heavyweight Tee’s, to now making jackets, hoodies, jumpers and accessories. Our brand wouldn’t be where it is without our influential social media presence which we proudly created from the ground up. Our Instagram thrives from our shared ambition to curate specialized content for our target customer. As young people from different unexpected backgrounds from University to working in different trades and the retail sector, we take pride in how much we have accomplished in such a short space of time due to our incredible community that made us who we are.
- What inspired you to start The Storefront?
As young people living in Derry/L’Derry, we recognised that it can be somewhat scary or difficult to be yourself due to fear of speaking out and expressing yourself. Therefore, we wanted to be the ones to create a platform where young people can freely be who they are and share how they feel. Should that be from displaying their outfit for the day, any hobbies they may enjoy, any movements or opinions they may share or generally discussing how they feel. Through being young people ourselves, we enjoy the benefit of understanding our peers and target audience directly. In order to communicate with our core, we organised cinema screenings, coffee meetups and similar events to actively get to know and engage our community. One key element of enjoying being a young person from this beautiful city is ensuring to look after yourself both physically and mentally. We constantly advocate the simple effectiveness of communication and welcome people to talk to us both online and in-store to let us know how they feel. Therefore, we take great pride in ensuring our store is a safe space for people to simply come in and chat without pressure of making a purchase or fear of being judged. To emphasise this, we made 2 specific designs named “Storefront-Minds Matter” which benefitted local mental health charities as all proceeds went to Men’s Action Network and Foyle Women’s Aid, as we believe their support plays an integral role to the mental health of everyone in our community. This reinforces our ethos that we want to give back to society and promote being the best version of yourself that you can; inside and out.
- What does the future hold for The Storefront?
-The beauty of The Storefront is that we aren’t confined to one specific sector. Therefore, the realm of possibilities for our future success is endless. We are currently readying ourselves for the upcoming seasonal period, so we only want to ensure to stock the best new brands and quality garments for Christmas. Our unique selling point is that we stock streetwear labels that have never been available in the city before. We have curated our store to have something for everybody, from big labels like Supreme and Stussy to local and independent labels for young aspiring creatives to have an outlet for their own brands. Through starting the store, we were able to meet a young designer from Donegal with a label named “SADSAC” who uses his brand as an outlet for self-expression through creating one-off patchwork denim pieces as well as his own brand. We wish to expand our outreach as far as possible within the next 5 years by expanding to our own stand-alone unit in the city, and to franchise into Belfast and Dublin. We are constantly told that our business model would work best in a city like Dublin or London, but we want to be pioneers in our city and leave a footprint to show that if you are passionate enough about something, pursue it.
- Where can we find The Storefront?
Our premises is 33a Great James Street in The Glasswork’s Basement, adjoined to Atelier. We open from Tuesday – Sunday with our varied opening hours available on Google. Our Instagram handles are @storefront.ni & @storefront.store . If anybody has any queries , they can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We wouldn’t be where we are today without the generosity of local businesses such as Atelier for believing in us and understanding our vision. We are appreciative of any support thus far and thank anyone who has shown an interest into what we stand for, sincerely Connor McKinney, Ryan Watkins, George Griffiths & Ryan Henderson.