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The outside of Hatch on Oxford Road

Hatch is providing a platform for the future of independent retailers

  • Why pop-up stores are the future for independent retailers
  • Phase two in Hatch's construction see's a focus on retail, before phase three's focus on live music
  • Q+A with Robert Vance, The owner of independent retailer Suzylovesmilo, as well as Hatch operations manager Jessica Young

Hidden away in plain sight on Manchester’s Oxford Road, Hatch takes inspiration from Shoreditch box park as the city’s newest and most-hyped pop-up retail store.

Nestled away under Mancunian Way, secluded from the hustle and bustle, Hatch has recently completed phase two of its construction in an idea aiming to bring independent retailers to the forefront of Manchester’s retail empire.

With the ever-growing presence of independent online retailers, through apps such as Depop, it is becoming more important that these online presences also have a front. One retailer at the forefront of independent online selling is Suzylovesmilo, who, with nearly 500 thousand followers on Depop, has seen Hatch as the perfect place to set up a store front.

A mannequin wearing a Patta shirt
A mannequin wearing a Patta shirt

The Northern Quota sat down with Robert Vance, the owner of Suzylovesmilo, to see how he started his business, his thoughts on developments similar to this and where his passion for vintage clothes developed.

I feel people want to look at stock and try it on, that’s why we do pop-ups

Q: How did you begin selling vintage clothes?

A: I started by selling old wardrobe, about seven years ago, I had a lot of Bathing Ape stuff that I had from the 90’s, a lot of old Stussy pieces as well.

Q: Do you have a permanent shop anywhere or just the pop-up store here?

A: With the online presence slowing down a little, I feel people want to look at stock and try it on, that’s why we do pop-ups in Glasgow, Edinburgh, Dundee, London, Birmingham, Leamington spa, Shoreditch, we work every weekend really, moving around these retail pop-ups.

Q: So, in your opinion, are sellers progressing from online retail back to shop fronts?

A: Yeah they are, rent on shop units is un-attainable for normal people, you get on the high street and they are all paying thousands in rent, so it’s not really sustainable for small independents like me.

A clothing rail full of multi-coloured sweaters
A clothing rail full of multi-coloured sweaters

We take stuff that’s interesting in the UK and take it to the Japanese market

Q: Looking back at everything you’ve owned, is there any item/s which stand out as a personal favourite?

A: I wish I would have kept the Bapestars really, I had 12 pairs of Bapestars in all different colours, and they’ve just released them again last week. I sold them really cheap on the car-boot, someone bought all 12 pairs off me for about £200, I wish I would have kept hold of them. Also, this pair of black label Armani from the 90’s


We also managed to catch a word with Jessica Young, the operations manager for Hatch, on what we can expect to be seeing in the future.

Q: So what are Hatch’s plans going forward?

A: This is just the retail pop-up for Christmas. After Christmas this back wall drops down, and there will be another 18 storage containers going in there. We will have a shoe-horn effect if you like with a permanent mainstage.

We’re here to help that and fill that gap a bit by offering small spaces for independents to trade out of

Q: So there will be more music at Hatch?

A: Absolutely, this is just a small portion of what’s to come. Phase 2 focuses on food and beverages down the bottom.

Q: With places like Hatch and Shoreditch, do you think places like this are becoming more popular?

A: This is a massive retail trend. It gives these guys the opportunity to not have to spend massive amounts of money on rent. No independent retailer can afford the overheads of some of the spots in town. It also gives them an actual presence, which people like.

With the ever-growing presence of independent retailers, just like Suzylovesmilo, and shipping container-style developments such as Hatch, it seems likely we will be seeing a lot more of this type of retail in the future.

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