Us Brits may have once thought that veganism was reserved for neurotic LA dwellers, however, for 2018 veganism has firmly embedded itself into UK culture and spread beyond simply ‘Veganuary’ to become a fully-fledged ‘Veganyeary’ (get it?). With household names like Baileys and Superdrug opening up vegan pop-ups, it’s safe to say that veganism has never been so mainstream.
This Soho square pop-up honours the launch of a dairy and cruelty-free drink, Baileys Almande. It’s made from a blend of sweet almond oil, almond essence, cane sugar, purified water, a small amount of real vanilla, and alcohol, of course. For a drink that’s defined by its rich, indulgent creaminess, launching a vegan option is very much a sign of the times. The queue to get into the cute ‘Vegan Treat Stop’ was pretty staggering and contrary to what I thought the line would consist of – a lot of female millennial unicorns – it was actually a really mixed group with huddles of twenty-something boys, older couples and a few tourists. The 19th-century shop front was painted green and branded with gold Bailey Almande signage, a chalkboard outside listed all the available treats.
After a half hour wait, we were ushered into a bright room filled with trendy pink neon signs, crystal chandeliers and more of that iconic gold Baileys branding. Atop a retro wooden bar, marble plates were filled with free vegan treats (brownies, Eton mess and chocolate éclairs) guests were offered a complimentary glass of Almande to try with their chosen dessert. Overall this felt like a great way for Baileys to reposition itself in the vegan market, the treats perfectly enhanced the ‘wholesomeness’ of the new beverage and the interior felt suitably glamorous and special.
Setting up shop for three months in Shoreditch hotspot Boxpark is Superdrug’s first vegan pop up. The pop-up’s purpose is to alert people to the fact all Superdrug stores are now full of vegan-friendly products.
“Veganism continues to grow in popularity and for the past few years Superdrug has been focusing on changing formulations to be able to offer its biggest ever range of products which are suitable for vegans.” Says the brand on its website. The pop-up also debuts vegan beauty line, B.
Shoreditch seems a natural place for the brand’s first small-format vegan store, not only is there heavy footfall as people head to Shoreditch High Street Station, the vegan institution Cooked Daily has a restaurant practicaly next door.
At the front of the cubbyhole-like store are neon-backed graphics that stating what veganism means to the brand and how it measures what makes its products cruelty-free. The products are merchandised by concern rather than by brand and each shelf is accessorised with a very on-trend pot plant! All the items sold are only available in Superdrug, so it does feel like a bit of an exclusive edit – it was nice to get to know some brands we hadn’t seen before.
Accompanying the store is an online vegan inspiration campaign featuring makeup and skincare video tutorials, must-haves and guides on the new vegan products. This is a great way to debut a new arm of the business and it’s about time Superdrug flexed its format a bit. It would be good to see the pop-up rolled out to other cities…
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