PRIOR presents a vision for the modern British high street.

PRIOR presents a vision for the modern British high street.

PRIOR presents a vision for the modern British high street. Far bigger than the sum of its parts, we offer so much more than a simple bricks-and-mortar shop. I am passionate about positive, sustainable and supportive experiences for the whole community, and PRIOR is at the heart. 

I am incredibly driven and determined to bring opportunities to sustainable designers whilst challenging the mass consumption of frivolous purchasing and fast fashion. We are an anomaly within an area of corporate shopping, bringing responsibly made products to the masses whilst elbowing the work of local makers permanently between huge high street chains. Rather than staying on the outskirts of the city, we created a fanfare and are continually breaking boundaries: bringing our unique not-for-profit shopping experience right to the heart of a traditionally commercial shipping district. Post-Covid, people are searching for guilt-free purchases and are craving transparency and autonomy within their purchasing decisions - we are all desperate for new, real experiences, and locally purchased one-of-a-kind products we can connect with. This is what PRIOR offers.  

We are a haven for artists and designers, and in being so, a haven for customers. When local artists, designers and makers are supported, given opportunities, and their voices championed, the whole community wins. PRIOR is not a space to be underestimated, and this, the public can sense. Customers regularly comment about the feeling in the space: a warmth and glow of the craftsmanship and the attention to detail. I carefully curated the shop so it didn’t look like a market or pop-up, and the care and intent radiates into the space, which shows that we are not a flash in the pan and are here for the community for as long as possible. The staff are happy and proud of the products - we smile all day long.

Not only that, but we also provide a workshop and gallery space for local artists/designers to hire at a very low-cost rate. Running 5 workshops a week that cover activities for all ages and abilities allows us to empower all people to learn practical skills, connect with new people, build relationships and foster self-esteem. 

The products we sell have been vetted for their sustainable credentials and circular economy. To reinforce this philosophy, we ask each designer to fill out an application form before joining the shop which contains in-depth questions about their practice which we use to create info cards for the customers to read - thereby empowering them to make sustainable choices, too.

I am a catalyst and bring about collaborative, supportive and innovative change. I spearhead ‘Shop Local’ poster campaigns and directories in Bristol and have written viral blogs for makers about EU shipping and how to price your work for retail. I’ve also created free ‘save a post’ graphics for makers to use to use on social media and mentor each small business that joins our team and I am usually the one rallying everyone together (fellow shops, makers and the community) for big ambitious collaborative projects. I share funding opportunities, offer guidance and am a crutch for many fledging brands. Local business shouldn't be about cutthroat competition and cutting margins - it should be about support, uplift, and regenerating local economies. This is what we do.

 

Beck Prior

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