Inside The Dandy Lab Edit

Written by Clara Maguire


The Dandy Lab is a co-retail lab where we gather brands, technologists, entrepreneurs, researchers and makers. We work at the intersection of emerging retail technologies and future retail formats.

So far we’ve run 5 concept stores across London and are currently popping up on London’s first smart street located at Bird Street W1B 1BU.

“We believe that physical retailing is becoming a powerful advertising platform for product brands where real tactile experiences are more memorable.”

We are a bit different from most retailers – we focus on:

> building a community of brands: we’ve worked with hundreds of amazing brands. They’ve taught us that they want real world retail at the same price and ease as setting up an online shop. We’ve launched ShopShare, brands rent a rail or a shelf by the month. This year we will be ramping up our brand offer and launching a membership model – keep an eye out for updates.

> retail placemaking: every concept store is different and designed to offer something relevant to the local retail experience. By building a brand community first – we can curate each store to a unique brief. In September we’ll be launching a new retail placemaking service – ping us at if you’d like to know more.

> retail tech: for us technology is redefining retail – our focus is on 3 things:
engaging customer experiences where tech reduces friction, tells stories and is fun and easy to use.
making it easy for brands to join the community and for us to support and promote them.
engaging with our customers in a similar way to our brands – a community that we engage with even when we aren’t popping up.

We’ve called our Bird Street pop up the Edit. We’re showcasing our favourite fashion and lifestyle products transforming the retail space into a ‘physical magazine’. We’ve got a Selfie Mirror which will put your picture on the Edit’s magazine cover.

We believe that physical retailing is becoming a powerful advertising platform for product brands where real tactile experiences are more memorable, and create an emotional connection between the customer and the brand. Therefore, we are designing the shop to act as a physical advertising channel – a magazine full of engaging and fun experiences. Smart operational technologies help the brands to easily pop up in-store for a flexible amount of time, engage with customers, tell their stories, increase brand recognition, and get insights on their product performance.

Reinforcing our community values, customers are able to shop and meet the creators of the exclusive in-store products. We’ve got vintage inspired jewellery by Katie Mullally, luxurious yak wool accessories by Khunu, and innovative custom molded insoles by Podo. We show all the stories behind the brands, just like stories in a magazine.

Our launch Brands are: Charlie Howe Design, House Thirteen, Katie Mullally, Khunu, Monc, Monu, Podo, Sloane Stationery, Thomas Clipper, Sasha Tugolukova, Smith & Sinclair, Tom Smarte, The Travel Org, Wild Planet

“The collaboration between Podo and The Dandy Lab gives us the opportunity to connect, interact and inspire our customers, and build sustainable relationships through data gathered using the digital tech inside the pod.”
Christophe Champs, Founder, Podo

At the Edit we’re focusing on four main retail tech categories:
1. Experiential and fun technologies – we created a shop to act as a magazine, where customers explore the brands and are invited to be a part of the magazine by becoming the face of the magazine cover through the In-store selfie mirror by ClickSys. Customers can then share the picture on social media to get in-store discounts.
2. Smart and easy payments – we are working with MishiPay to provide a quick and easy payment solution. Customers can scan, pay and go without ever having to visit the till point..
3. Analytics and intelligence – in order to understand the customers’ demographics, likes and interests, we have partnered with Locomizer to help us better understand our visitors and improve the in-store product selection and offering.
4. Feedback technologies – to collate customer feedback we have partnered with Ksubaka and gamified a customer survey.

If you’re a customer, brand, landlord or tech business please do stop by and say hello – we’d love to discuss The Edit with you and get your feedback. We are open everyday between 11am and 7pm at Bird Street, W1U 1BU


How To Design The Perfect Interactive Retail Experience

Written by Peter Jeun Ho Tsang

aaeaaqaaaaaaaak2aaaajdcxy2m0mzq1ltqxn2ytngu3ny05nwzhlwninjywn2e0owzlnwFashion retailers are using digital technologies to create new shopping experiences. “Retail theatre” – creating exciting experiences in physical stores – has become a standard expectation for shoppers. These customers are integrating information and behaviours from a variety of new tools such as cognitive services as well as Snapchat, WhatsApp and Boomerang into their shopping experience.

I presented alongside  IBM’s Innovation team, Fluid and Design Week on designing the perfect retail experience in an exclusive online webinar. Hosted by Tom Banks, editor of Design Week, we discussed some of the findings from our Spitalfields store and also the key themes that myself and The Dandy Lab team will be taking into the next version of the co-retail lab.

The 21st century retailer cannot just be a merchandiser; they must be an orchestrator for each shopper, by helping to design the right experience at the right time and in the right place. This encourages customers to not just purchase but to return and keep purchasing.

In this Design Week webinar – in partnership with IBM – we looked at how we can:

  1. Harvest the right data at the right time in order to serve these continually connected shoppers.
  2. Design a contextually appropriate shopping environment which continually accompanies the customer.
  3. Understand not just the customer profile, but the triggers for their behaviour in real time.
  4. Anticipate and serve these needs with each customer interaction.

Follow this link to listen to the recorded session: How to Design the Perfect Interactive Retail Experience

Presented by: Tom Banks (Design Week), Mary Wallace (Senior Managing Consultant – IBM), Kent Deverall (Fluid) and Peter Jeun Ho Tsang (The Dandy Lab)

About Peter

Peter is Co-Founder & Creative Director of The Dandy Lab and has a background in fashion product development and retailing. He holds an MA in Digital Fashion from London College of Fashion, where he is also an Associate Lecturer. He is currently developing academic research looking at ‘the future of retail’, consumer behaviour in smart retail environments and innovation within fashion retail ecosystems.