Appear Here: Why We Celebrate
7 Aug 2016
Three years ago, there were five of us. We’d just hosted our launch party at our law firm’s office. I remember sitting on the steps, fingers crossed, hoping that at least 20 people might show up.
Last Thursday, I stood with a team of 40, hosting our fourth summer party. We’d taken over a block on Redchurch Street for over 400 guests. This time, we were wishing we had a bigger venue.
We throw a summer party every year for two reasons. The first is for our team, because when you’ve got a long way to go, you must enjoy the journey and celebrate how far you’ve come – even if you feel that you're just at the start with a long road ahead.
The second reason is for our community. Most of you have your own ideas and ambitions and a long journey ahead of you too. Once a year, we come together to celebrate your ideas and show our pride for how far they’ve come. At Appear Here we see that there are two types of people in the world: those that have ideas and those that make them happen. Our summer parties are to celebrate and raise a glass to those who bring their ideas to life.
The journey is always tough, so it’s important you don’t lose your way. Much has changed since we celebrated our launch at our law firm’s office: a bigger team, new offices and new cities. But the five pillars of Appear Here haven’t. You need to know what you stand for, so you know you’re heading in the right direction. At Appear Here, what we do is guided by the following five things:
Ideas are gold to us – they power our business. Our aim is to inspire people to make their ideas happen, so we’re building a community of the world’s best brands, entrepreneurs and makers – and sharing their stories.
World Class Space.
Without space, our ideas have nowhere to go. That’s why we’re creating a network of the best spaces across the globe. We now list over 2,000 spaces in the UK and France in some of the most exclusive and popular retail destinations from Covent Garden boutiques to stores in the Marais.
Experiences Worth Sharing.
This is what retail is all about. Both brands and landlords need to focus on bringing the best experiences back to the high street – making our streets destinations people want to visit again and again.
We’re here to change the way things have been done before. Soon all space will be rented online, and we want Appear Here to be the de facto site, by creating the best tools for our landlord partners and brands.
We believe in doing life’s work. That’s work you never compromise on, work with your fingermarks on, work you sacrifice weekends for. That's what gets us up in the morning; we want to see people in our community bring their own passions to life.
There are enough corporations in the world so if you're building a company it should be something you’re passionate about and with people who inspire you.
Looking back on the last 12 months, here are a few things we've pushed forward on, which are driven by our five pillars...
Ideas. We’re making them travel
By standardising the process of renting space across borders, Appear Here can break down the barriers – allowing more ideas to travel. Already over 30% of our searches are from brands looking for international space.
Earlier this year, we launched in Paris and saw for the first time ideas in our community travel from one city to another. For the launch, we opened up our own little store, taking with us some of our favourite brands and the first ideas to launch with us in each city: Balibart and Suitcase Magazine. This is the first of many cities across the world that we’ll be appearing in.
Space. There’s more than ever before
Thanks to some of the biggest landlords in the UK joining Appear Here, we’ve listed more retail space in the last few months than we have in the previous three years added together. We’re also giving people access to space beyond the high streets, from markets in Westfield to our In-Residence Collection.
Our In-Residence Collection launched with 20 new spaces inside one of world’s biggest fashion stores, TOPSHOP Oxford Circus, and it now includes everything from space in London’s top gyms such as 1Rebel, best photography studios like Spring Studios and boutique hotels including The Hoxton.
Experiences. New flagship projects, appearing soon
Two years ago we reinvented retail in the underground, working with TfL to transform the reputation of Old Street station. We turned a warren of grey tunnels into one of East London’s best shopping destinations – helping hundreds of independent retailers get their ideas out there. Next up, we’re working on a list of new flagships launching in London and worldwide. Watch this space, we’ll be announcing them soon.
Disruptive innovation. Introducing Landlord Dashboards
Last month, we announced our most important product release to date: Landlord Dashboards. We know that for landlords renting space is a long process. And for brands, there’s an expectation of service that didn’t exist before. We built these new tools to make it easier for a landlord to list space online, book new ideas faster and ultimately make the whole process smoother and more enjoyable.
Already, booking a shop on Appear Here takes on average 3-6 days, in comparison to the 3-6 months it takes without Appear Here. Last month 50% of bookings closed in 48 hours – that’s exponentially faster than anything that’s been done before.
Over 90% of all bookings now happen fully online; during our first party it was 0%.
Life at Appear Here
Above all, what makes me the most proud is the culture we’ve built at Appear Here. It’s not enough to have a purpose, you need a great team to make it happen. When we say we believe in experiences and moments, we mean that not just on the high street but in our office too.
Every Friday, we gather our team together for a ‘Sunday-style’ lunch. This is where we share the highlights from the week and celebrate them. We also host regular masterclasses for the team – bringing in inspiring speakers from different industries from the founder of Klarna to the founder of Mr. and Mrs. Smith. And finally, every year our team packs their suitcases to head out on an annual retreat – take a look at what happened last year in Cannes.
In the last 12 months, we’ve doubled the team and hired some incredible industry experts from Lonely Planet’s CTO, Dave Nolan to Bonobos’ Head of Marketing, Elizabeth Layne, and our first Data Scientist and in-house creative team. What I love is that no matter how big the team grows the passion, culture and excitment for the bigger vision has stayed true.
When you’re stuck in the trenches, it’s easy to forget the big picture. Everyone who wants to launch an idea goes through tough times: when you question everything and ask yourself is it worth it? Where you always feel that you should be ahead, could have done something quicker or faster — but that's what happens when you have ambitions.
By knowing what you stand for and celebrating moments big and small, you make sure the journey is worth it. Even if its just for one moment, during one evening, once a year.
If someone had told me three years ago, I’d have a team of 40 and would be throwing a 400-man warehouse rave on Redchurch Street to celebrate launching over 3,000 shops — I would have been pleased. So Thursday night was a moment when I could look back — as our team all danced — smile and feel proud at what they've done, even if we still have a long-long-long way to go.
If this gets you excited and you want to join our motley crew then check out our latest openings. There’s always a place at our table for Friday Lunch.
Ross Bailey, CEO & Founder, Appear Here