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Store 1 Officially Open
Category: Inside Rapanui
It's officially open, Number 1 High Street Sandown: The first Rapanui store.
This store has been a bit of an experiment - a concept store if you like. The plan was to take the ideas we have developed for Rapanui's online store and replicate them in the real world. Sustainability, good design, traceability and eco labelling - why should this be restricted to online shopping?
We also wanted to see if we could make it a cool place to hang out and then we thought about what we'd want to do there... and then we thought about sourcing some rad food... it all snowballed a bit until we had to rent out the place next door to make room for it all. Anyway, we're now officially open...
There are lots of great things about the Isle of Wight - not least the amazing number of local companies that create genuine locally sourced products. It ranges from local cheese makers to garlic farmers through to artists making gifts from recycled deckchairs and old sail cloth.
The aim was to create a place where people could come to try on and buy Rapanui products, but equally to see all of these other rad stuff like ours in one place. It's about finding and showcasing the best of the Island's Sustainable Lifestyle and local produce.
We also tried to make the place from reclaimed materials. Over half of the wood we used has been reclaimed, a lot from old pallets (and even more to build the miniramp out the back) plus some blocks from when Ryde pier was demolished. It gives the shop a little bit more character. It's made for some cool features too like the original 1950's double-deckchair and the changing room door that's made from an old sail.
Highlights? There's a sciency flavour to some of our solar-powered gifts to get the kids fired up about renewables. We've worked with local craftspeople like 'our Steve' who's made some rad wind-turbine clocks and a few bits and bobs out of old deckchairs. Some homeware made from the wrecked beams from old Ryde pier and the full Rapanui collection - plus some special one-offs. We even have a t-shirt press so you can design and make your own Rapanui t-shirt.
On that subject of products, now might be a good time to mention a little side project we've been working on in the Skunkworks. We have talked about how the principles of Rapanui - sustainability, traceability and B2C communication - that we feel need work and shouldn't be exclusive to clothing. We think that if they were applied to every product or purchase, it would go a long way to improving our world. So we decided to see if we could put our money where our mouth is and roll out the same principles in a totally different market for a totally different product.
We chose coffee. The results are available to try in store right now: It's called Rapanui Roast, an Organic, Fairtrade Mocha blend of espresso beans. Fairtrade, Organic farming makes our coffee tastier, better for the planet and the people involved. Also if you scan the cup, you can find out exactly where it was grown, how it got here and how it was roasted, delivered and distributed by Island companies. It's also no more expensive than a standard mass-produced coffee in the supermarket.
You can taste it in our shop - or hang in there until it's more widely available later in the year - we'll keep you updated.
So there's a coffee shop part of the Rapanui store, which means we needed a bit of a food to go with it too. Over the winter we've worked with the Islands best growers and farmers of local foods to come up with an incredible menu for the coffee shop. All our ingredients are locally sourced fresh each day. From Rew Valley milk, to Isle of Wight Cheese co. Cheddar, Garlic Farm preserves and Tomato stall ketchup and fruit from Arreton, right through to our bread, which is freshly baked each day in Lake. This is the real, fresh taste of the Isle of Wight.
So it's a store where you can shop from our latest collections, plus a load of other cool local & sustainable Isle of Wight gifts, food and fresh Organic coffee.
Throughout all this we were pleasantly surprised to find our ideas like traceability really easy to integrate. In the Rapanui store for example, you don't just buy a packet of Isle of Wight biltong. You can find out exactly where it comes from, who made it and how - from the cow to the fridge and all the people in-between. We've also made sure the prices are super affordable, after all, sustainability should be accessable to everyone, not just those that can afford it.
It's a different approach to retail perhaps, but it feels like a good way of doing things. The store covers a lot of ground and if you're ever in the area, we'd love to welcome you in for a look around. To celebrate our opening we'll be having a bit of a do soon, where we plan to invite some of our most hardcore customers over.
For now, we thought it would be fun to give away our first 1000 cups of tea for free, so if you needed an excuse to pop in...
Visit us at 1 High Street Sandown, PO36 8LX or keep up to date with shop news via twitter @rapanuistore1
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