Retail start-ups invited to apply for John Lewis’ latest ‘PitchUp’ initiative

PopUp Britain-backed campaign offers entrepreneurs chance to get products stocked with leading retailer

Retail chain John Lewis has today opened applications for its ‘PitchUp’ initiative; giving “exciting new” British retail start-ups the chance to win a programme of mentoring and have their products stocked on its shelves.

Running in partnership with pop-up shop enterprise campaign PopUp Britain, 12 early-stage retail businesses will be selected to pitch their products to a panel of buyers at John Lewis’ London headquarters in a day-long event on Friday August 1.

Open to entrants with products in home ware, beauty, clothing and electricals, the competition is keen to find the “high street entrepreneurs of the future”.

Now in its third year, the initiative has helped several retailers secure supply contracts with John Lewis including Suffolk-based waterproof outdoor cushion start-up Oily Rag, Brighton-based toddler balance bike Toddlebike, and Berkshire ‘sock sharing’ social enterprise Jollies Socks.

Matthew Hully, head of brand innovation at John Lewis, said: “We’re always looking for the latest unique and innovative products for our customers.

“PitchUp allows us to see the newest entrepreneurial talent whilst supporting start-up businesses through our buyers sharing their retail experience and expertise.”

PopUp Britain’s Becky Jones added:

“Gaining a contract with a big retailer like John Lewis is a fantastic opportunity to develop any micro or small business. It not only helps them to scale and grow, it also gives them an insight into the way the commercial world works, and see them negotiating and competing at the same level as big, established brands”.

Entries for PitchUp close at midnight on Wednesday June 18, to apply click here.

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