The Power of Positive Shopping

Matching sustainable local businesses from the UK and Ireland with great spaces to pop-up!

The Power of Positive Shopping is an initiative linking local, sustainable businesses to museums and other venues to ‘pop-up’ in. Brilliantly the campaign shortens to ‘POPS’!

the Whitworth museum contemporary glass extension and gardens, seen at dusk from outside. This is where Blue Patch has a pop up in 2019
The Whitworth, Manchester

Why is Positive Shopping important?

A consequence of the pandemic is the changed nature of shopping. Many of the activities around shopping now take place in the virtual world. As life returns to normal, some of the lessons from the pandemic experience will remain, with shopping needing to develop its own new normal – a hybrid of online and offline practices.

As such, in order to thrive, small businesses in the UK and Ireland will have to incorporate more sustainable practices into their business model. This includes introducing the idea of positive shopping to the conscious consumer.

Interior of Blue Patch's pop-up Christmas shop in Shoreditch, showing woman looking at products, wearing a black hat. More people talking and shopping in the background.
The Sustainable Department Store, Shoreditch

Positive Shopping’s progress

2016: The campaign launched with our sustainable department store popping-up for a day in Dulwich, London. There were 70 brands, a pop up cafe, cookery displays, talks on the sustainable high street hosted by local MP Helen Hayes, workshops on sustainable living and craft demonstrations.

2017: We partnered with The Collaborative Store in Marylebone. This high end, design-led store hosted our members, enabling them to reach a sophisticated customer-base.

2018: We held a week long sustainable Christmas pop-up in Shoreditch, London. There was a gloriously crowded opening party featuring the presentation of the Blue Patch Sustainable Business Awards. Events included a business hub, breakfast lectures by retrofit architects and co-active business coaching. We also organised workshops throughout the week including Christmas wreath, shoe and cocktail mixing (and drinking) workshops.

Manchester Art Gallery from the side, on a sunny day
Manchester Art Gallery. Photo by Andrew Brooks

2019: We held a three-week sustainable pop-up for the Whitworth in Manchester. The ‘Useful museum’ concept instigated by museum director Alistair Hudson enabled us to bring business and art into one space.

Online too

Our 2020 sustainable store at Manchester Art Gallery was postponed because of COVID-19. Restrictions led to our members selling their work through the museum’s online shop. This was a wonderful discovery and we now flow between physical and digital outcomes.

Happy Planet store and John Eadon in his workshop
John Eadon

Introducing our Happy Planet Store pop-up 2022

As museums spring back to life, the Positive Shopping campaign pops-up ‘for real’ at Manchester Art Gallery, where our new Happy Planet Store features 36 sustainable brands. The physical store is complimented by an online store. The pop up supports the green economy and museum at the same time!

woman looking at perfume in a store full of products
Blue Patch’s Happy Planet Store at Manchester Art Gallery, January – April 2022. Photo Helena Lee Studios.

Manchester Art Gallery is very happy to be hosting Blue Patch at the gallery, as part of our drive to support a more sustainable and ethical economy and switch to an ecologically sound way of life. The gallery has always had a role as a kind of ‘regulator valve’ as Manchester has grown from a town to a super city, championing the role of both ethics and aesthetics in the development of a healthy society. Manchester has set a zero carbon target for 2038 and this project underlines our commitment to achieving this goal, and at the same time supports the growth of community owned green energy across the land.” Alistair Hudson, Director

Later we head to Brantwood, the Cumbrian home of art critic, writer and artist John Ruskin. The house and the gardens are a secret paradise. Take the boat across Coniston Water and make a day of it. Director Howard Hull is an authority on the work of John Ruskin too.

“I visited the Blue Patch Collective’s first ‘High St’ Sustainable Department Store in Shoreditch and discovered a blueprint for a new retail experience. Blue Patch is a shining example of how a collective of UK SMEs are working together to rebuild retail, filling the gaps left by conventional models. Socially engaging with free talks and creative workshops, the store highlighted the exceptional quality of products hot from the UK’s workshops, artisans and heritage manufacturers. I wish them luck on their journey to bring life back to the high streets across the country.” Bill Grimsey is a former chief executive of Wickes and Iceland, author of The Grimsey Review and ‘Sold Out’. An astute commentator Bill is one of the UK’s leading experts on the High Street.

Community, environment and culture benefit

Our Positive Shopping pop-ups connect customers to beautiful and sustainable products made in the UK and Ireland. Buying this way supports museums and the new green economy.

For those looking to support cultural institutions and shop sustainably from local brands, we’ve got it covered!

If you would like to find out more, please contact Jane Langley on jane@bluepatch.org 02077387267 / 07792726842

Blue Patch is a social enterprise. Learn about us.

Our mission supports the sustainable, local economy. 100% of our surplus income is invested in community-owned renewable energy, see Our Commitment.

To learn about our circular business model see Guiding principles,

Blue Patch’s Positive Shopping Magazine is 100% carbon offset. Learn more about the magazine.