How working with SpaceandPeople enabled Just Bee to make the transition from online to physical retailing in 2023

By Nancy Cullen, CEO at SpaceandPeople

2023 was a landmark year for SpaceandPeople – having trialled our new pop up retail programme we reached out to hundreds of on line brands to discuss their transition from online to physical retailing  – the results have been astonishing with multiple new names taking space in our client‘s Shopping Centres. We see our Rock Up programme as a critical aspect of enabling retailers to embark on their omnichannel journey – supplying an all inclusive service incorporating the provision of space in a high footfall mid mall location, a fully designed and branded kiosk, business planning, merchandising support and assistance with staffing, installation and kiosk removal.  In this way a retailer with limited experience of physical retail can turn up with their products and take space in a major UK venue

E-commerce retailer, Just Bee, was one of the first companies to embrace our total pop up retail solution and a company with a completely unique back story.  Just Bee was inspired by Joe’s (co-founder) family, who have a long history in beekeeping. Joe’s dad is a beekeeper in Lancashire and his Grandad, Osbourne, was a beekeeper before him in Ireland. So, Joe and his family had a deep understanding of honey, beekeeping and the vital importance of bees and the threat of extinction that they are facing…

In 2015 the founders Joe and Andy spent over six months of evenings and weekends developing different concepts for Just Bee before launching their very first product; Just Bee flavoured water. They started by knocking on doors of local delis, cafes, as well as artisan markets locally around the Manchester area selling drinks door to door and doing deliveries from the boot of Joe’s car!  Then came lockdown and the business decided to focus on just the honey, infusing it with vitamins to make a powerful antioxidant product.

Demand for their Raw Vitamin Honey grew throughout 2020 as people sought out products that would naturally boost their immune system and provide a healthier way to sweeten their diets. During 2020 online sales of honey became the main focus for Just Bee – they added certified New Zealand Manuka raw vitamin honey to the range and heading into winter and the dreaded cold and flu season, they supplemented their products with a delicious lemon and ginger vitamin honey which is perfect for stirring into hot water for a natural cold and sore throat fighting drink.

Fast forward to 2023 and through a chance introduction we met Joe and Andy who had just moved production into their own facility in Trafford Park, Manchester.  We discussed the Rock Up and Pop Up concept and agreed a trial at the nearby Trafford Centre. On the 7th of July 2023 Just Bee was launched on its very own mid mall retail kiosk within The Trafford Centre, complete with a tasting station and a full range of Just Bee products. It was an immediate hit with the public with sales outstripping expectations even at a time of year when vitamins intake and colds/flu aren’t top of mind. Andy and Joe were delighted with the results but found managing the staff who manned the stand a constant challenge. 

After analysing the trial results, further meetings between SpaceandPeople and Just Bee established their joint desire to take the product further afield from its Manchester base and, to launch at a time of year when vitamins are front of mind! Kiosk spaces were secured in two more of the UK’s largest centres: Meadowhall and Westfield London, with the Trafford Centre location continuing. Staff were secured by our partners Kru Live and Kiosks were designed, built, merchandised, and installed at each location by SpaceandPeople.

The kiosks, which are currently trading until February 2024 have helped Just Bee launch a new offline marketing channel, reaching customers it might not have reached online.  “The general public have embraced Just Bee and its story” said founder Joe “and we have started a programme of national expansion without incurring any major set up costs – our partners at SpaceandPeople have enabled us to embrace physical retailing with minimal fuss, investment and have found us spaces in key Shopping Centres in the run up to Christmas. Sales are still strong in the post-Christmas period, and we are using our physical presence to research our customers, build our national database and encourage trial of our products.”

In return our partner Shopping Centres are benefitting from a truly unique product with a new to market concept by a great company who are intent on creating the best tasting and highest quality honey products that have a positive impact on bees, consumers, and the wider environment.

SpaceandPeople can provide retailers of every size with the service and expertise to create a successful pop-up shop. Visit our Rock Up and Pop Up page for more information!

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