Born out of an idea he had at a German trade show, UK-based entrepreneur Roger Wade opened the ‘world’s first pop-up mall’ made entirely from refitted shipping containers. After hosting an industry conference in his latest and largest site, Boxpark Wembley, Roger took time to share his thoughts on what drives him as an entrepreneur, the future of retail, and how he’s supporting young businesses in a fast-changing sector.
Boxpark was launched in 2011 with a vision to “build a home for independent brands”, and Shoreditch, once home to London’s textiles industry and now a hub for creativity and originality, was a natural place to start. “What I realised was that physical retailing was really tough, because of the threat from the internet”, Roger explains. Boxpark looks to counter this problem by supporting its tenants in “creating the right environment for them to thrive”.
A passion to create great places
Five years after opening Boxpark Shoreditch, Boxpark Croydon was opened followed by Boxpark Wembley in 2018. Over that time, the business has evolved into more than just a place to shop. “It wasn’t so much the street fashion or the sports fashion that was taking off, it was the street food...and the resolutions to those problems has led to the innovations.” Boxpark Wembley is a fine example of this change. Not only is it home to a diverse selection of food and drink vendors, but the main space also acts as an events space with capacity for 2,000 people giving them the ability to host everything from concerts and sports screenings, to markets and conferences. “I’m driven by creating great places…I want our customers to keep coming to Boxpark and being wowed by the experience.”
Building on experience
Boxpark wasn’t Roger’s first venture into the retail market. Fresh from graduating university, the budding entrepreneur started Boxfresh. The streetwear brand began life as a market stall before growing into a pioneering international brand selling in over a dozen countries. Roger sold Boxfresh in 2005 to set up his own brand consultancy before launching Boxpark. And it’s that excitement for new ideas that really comes across when speaking with Roger. “I want to keep evolving, I want to keep changing, I want to keep growing,” says this truly inspirational individual for anyone looking to join the entrepreneurial community in the UK and beyond.
A long tradition of working with entrepreneurs
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