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Ile la Wa - Creating a pop-up gift store inspired by African Heritage and Black British culture

Updated: Jan 11, 2019

Artists Dorcas Magbadelo (the creator and extraordinaire behind Dorcas Creates) and Chanelle Joseph, the one woman band behind Studio Nelle, have come together to create a beautiful gift store that celebrates the talents and products of the Afro-caribbean diaspora in London.

They currently have 13 different traders selling products from beauty and skin care, haircare, wall art, occasion cards, leather accessories, jewellery, homeware and lots more. We spoke to them about what it takes to put a pop-up store together and how they established and executed the concept behind it.

Courtesy of Ile La Wa

What is Ile Le Wa, and how did it get started?

Ilé La Wà means "We Are Home" in Yoruba and the concept is to create a gift shop inspired by African Heritage and Black British culture, bringing together a collection of amazing Black owned brands to provide a unique shopping experience to the local community. Ilé La Wà was created when we became disillusioned with market life and wanted a physical, interactive space we could call our own.

Why did you choose the name?

We wanted a name that was inclusive of the African Diaspora and reclaimed our right to feel at home in Britain.

Courtesy of Ile La Wa

For our readers who want to hold their own pop-up/permanent store. What was the process of getting this done?

Setting up a pop-up is a very subjective experience, that requires intensive research. We would recommend talking to everyone about your idea to set up a pop-shop/shop for opportunities that are not easily accessible. Hold on to every contact, even if the space is not suitable as they may be the lead to your new shop!

We self funded the pop up shop but we intend for Ilé La Wà to be a long term venture and therefore we needed a pop-up space that allowed us the time to test out our idea for a Black British gift shop. However if your intention is to boost sales or take advantage of a particular shopping period then a shorter tenancy may be more suited to your needs.

We know (as we're one of your vendors) that you're not taking a percentage from sales, why is this? and what's your benefit form holding the pop up?

We have both as traders been involved in ventures where we have been charged a commission and we have none seen a good enough return. This led us to feel undervalued as artists and it was clear that our best interest were not considered. At Ilé La Wà we value our traders and their craftsmanship and want them to keep as much of the profit as possible, so they can continue to grow their business.

Anything more you'd like to tell us about yourself individually or the store

You can find and support us at 6-10 Hoe Street, Walthamstow E17 4RT. Follow us @ile_la_wa for further details.


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