Third Sector Awards 2016: Enterprise Award - Winner: The Royal British Legion for pop-up shops

Awarded to a social enterprise or charity that has significantly improved its income from its commercial activities in recent years. Examples might include through the use of charity shops, the sale of products or services, or renting out office space or land

RBL pop-up shop
RBL pop-up shop

What was the initiative?

The Poppy Shop is the retail arm of the Royal British Legion. In recent years it has started selling a broad range of poppy and RBL-branded products through its dedicate website, Items include RBL-branded sportswear for supporters taking part in fundraising efforts and petcare items such as dog cushions featuring the poppy logo.

In 2015, the charity tested pop-up shops to sell its goods in shopping centres for a limited period.

How did it work?

Two pilot pop-up shops were opened at Bluewater shopping centre in Kent and Westfield shopping centre in Stratford, east London, during the two weeks leading up to Remembrance Sunday, the charity’s busiest trading period. The shops sold 11 of the website’s best-selling items.

The pop-up shops gave the public a chance to view products up close and touch them. This helped them to make more informed decisions than buying online.

How successful was the initiative?

At the Bluewater site, there was a consistently high footfall and sales totalled £82,800. The Westfield location was quieter but still raised £28,800, bringing the collective income to £111,600.

The charity plans to test a new location in 2016 and continue its partnership with Bluewater. It is also looking into opening the pop-up shops for three weeks this year to help increase its sales revenue.

The shops helped to raise awareness of the RBL’s work and create more ways for people to get involved with the charity and show their support.

What did the judges say?

Kerrey Baker, marketing and relationships manager at the Shared Interest Society, said: "It is a fantastic example of a well-thought-through enterprise. The legion has clearly researched the project and capitalised on the current trend for pop-up shops." 


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