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

Bird Street

The Dandy Lab Edit Launches on Bird Street

Bird Street

The Dandy Lab launches its newest pop-up retail experience on Bird Street, nestled in the heart of the West End, on Thursday 29 June. Bird Street is a global first, and a place where retail, fashion and lifestyle meet technology and innovation – the ultimate oasis for shoppers seeking out cutting-edge brands.

The Dandy Lab Edit showcases the team’s favourite fashion and lifestyle products in carefully curated displays, transforming the retail space into a ‘physical magazine’. Innovation and technology are central to The Dandy Lab’s concept, when you walk into the Pod, you walk into a place of inspiration and play: the shopping experience is enhanced by interactive retail technologies, such as a mobile payment app by MishiPay and a Selfie Mirror by ClickSys, which will put your picture on the Edit’s magazine front cover.

“Bird Street pushes the boundaries of the retail journey and The Dandy Lab exemplify this. They showcase the future of shopping by using pioneering technology and work with us to continue to offer visitors to the West End a world class experience’. – Jace Tyrrell, CEO, New West End Company”

Customers are able to shop and meet the creators of the exclusive in-store products, and further engage with the brands through in-store social sharing tools. Featured products include vintage inspired jewellery by Katie Mullally, luxurious yak wool accessories by Khunu, and elegant Connect Serving Boards crafted from marble and wood by the Baker Street Boys. The stories behind the brands, just like stories in a magazine, become part of the experience, enabling the consumers to make more educated shopping decisions.

The products and technologies showcased at the Pod will change every few weeks to bring in new content and draw in new crowds. The Pod is designed by independent creative agency Pollitt & Partners, which the collaboration is an exciting opportunity to explore the future of retail, rooted in innovative brand experiences. The location of the Pod could not be savvier: Bird Street – London’s first ‘smart street’ that promotes sustainable retail concepts — is the perfect home for the latest The Dandy Lab adventure.

“We’re excited to be opening our next concept on Bird Street. The Smart Street agenda fits perfectly with our retail and technology innovation values, and the synergies between the two made this the perfect opportunity for us to pop up again.’ – Peter Jeun Ho Tsang, Co-Founder, The Dandy Lab”

Brands: Baker Street Boys, Central Saint Martins, Charlie Howe Design, House Thirteen, Katie Mullally, Khunu, Monc, Monu, Podo, Sloane Stationery, Thomas Clipper, Sasha Tugolukova, Shashi, Smith & Sinclair, Tom Smarte, Wild Planet

Location: Bird Street, London, W1U 1BU

Opening Times: Mon – Sun 11am – 7pm




Pioneering London’s Retail Ecosystem

Written by Peter Jeun Ho Tsang
The Dandy Lab powered by University College London
Pop Up Concept Shop: July 2015 – February 2016

white-paper-coverThe Dandy Lab was an interactive men’s lifestyle shop. It curated and sold British brands and told stories like a real-life magazine.

The culmination of a 6 month’s worth of testing within a live-trading retail lab, myself and the team were able to support some of the UK’s newest design and technology talent; figuring out what the future of retail may look like. The shop was based at 73 Brushfield Street in London’s iconic Old Spitalfields Market and was part British fashion shop and part retail lab testing cutting edge technologies.

We’ve just released a white paper outlining the technologies and retail models that The Dandy Lab and its supporting partners explored and the key insights achieved. You can download the full report from our website, but in case you don’t have time to read the full thing then here’s a snapshot of what we learnt.

Here Are My Top 5 Takeaways:

1. The Retail Lab: TheDandyLab was designed to offer a low risk, low cost and high value testing facility for technology start-ups. Following the learnings and iterations from 6 months of live testing 30% of technology solutions trialled in-store are now ready to be rolled out into larger retail environments. The lab demonstrated the value in providing a space where innovation from companies such as Cisco can happen without the constraints of existing retail legacy systems.

2. Overcoming The Innovation Fear Factor: From the scores of retailers we engaged with 83% identified a greater need to innovate, iterate and integrate digital into their physical retail strategies, especially with the rise of the tech-savvy Generation D. Retailers must overcome the fear of innovation to really understand how holistic digital strategies can be effectively executed, and not just used as standalone solutions loosely connected together that are forced upon the customer. Retailers must in-build margin for innovation in order to differentiate their businesses in the future.

3. Physical Retail as Media: The Dandy Lab collaborated with OnePlus to launch their OnePlus X smartphone in November 2015. We tested the theory that retail is no longer simply about sales, but instead about the experience that should be tied into the media consumed everyday by customers online. The approach turns physical retail spaces into offline marketing platforms to extend their online presence. The event demonstrated how retailers could push the boundaries of traditional shopping; the sale of products is no longer strictly tied to the store itself or the traditional metric of sales per square foot, but rather is more about experience per square foot. Many stores in the future will be used for the sole purpose of experiential showrooms.

4. Flexible Retail Formats – ShopShare: Partnering with We Are Pop Up we supported 52 British brands and of those over 65% originated in London. We wanted to test not only that ShopShare is a viable retail strategy, which was proven in our Spitalfields shop, but also that in the future retailers will need to morph their retail strategies into more flexible formats. With discount culture and property rental prices at an all time high, implementing additional revenue streams will be key to surviving amongst the saturated UK high street.

5. Smart Retail Environments: Overtime, retailers will be able to utilise artificial intelligence to automate data crunching so that the physical environment can be hyper-personalised to the individual. Whereby displays and lighting units dynamically change according to the individual’s shopping habits and preferences. At present this is very difficult to scale across international chains, however at The Dandy Lab we saw that personalisation will be key. Solutions such as Hoxton Analytics and Reward Technology will become more sophisticated and machine-learning environments will be able to create personalised, seamless multi- channel journeys. In the future smart shops will be the everyday norm for the way we shop and retailers must start planning now for that change.

To download the white paper please follow here.

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.