From Concept to Shop Lease: Spoke & Stringer

Photo Courtesy of Spoke & Stringer

Photo Courtesy of Spoke & Stringer

Have you ever visited a retail space and thought not only could you do this, but also do it better? Yero Timi-Biu stopped by the newest, eclectic retail space in Bristol, Spoke & Stringer and got the low down on how to make the independently-owned shop dream a reality.

 Bristol’s Gloucester Road is famed for having the largest number of independently-owned traders on any one road in the UK. Subsequently, the home-grown ethos that Bristol embodies has provided independent shops to flourish in an already-claustrophobic retail marketplace.

 Sitting on the docks, adjacent to SS Britain, Spoke & Stringer is the new kid on the block. It’s a retail space and café that thrives on adventure and escapism. Spoke & Stringer’s founder, Kristian Crews (an engineer by trade) was inspired by ride culture (surfboards, motorcycles, pushbikes, skateboards), as well as food. Kristian wanted to merge two of his passions into one space.

View at Spoke & Stringer

Photo Courtesy of Kaasam Ali Aziz/Spoke & Stringer

 Tired of working on offshore oil rigs and dreaming of spending time and energy on things he is most passionate about, Kristian has put all the money that he’s ever earned into creating Spoke & Stringer. Kristian was also fortunate enough to have received an interest-free loan that wasn’t from a bank.

Spoke & Stringer Cafe Food

Photo Courtesy of Kaasam Ali Aziz/Spoke & Stringer

 If you have an amazing shop idea, but are reluctant to pursue it for reasons such as money, time or resources. Kristian explains how he started, the hurdles he faced and his top tips in getting from concept to shop lease here:


 – Although geared more towards young entrepreneurs that want to start their own online business Digital Business Academy is a provider of free business courses that will help you think strategically when it comes to finalising your idea and creating a sound business model.

– You can also book yourself on to another free training course in person by The Prince’s Trust.


 – The Prince’s Trust have an incredible programme called ‘The Enterprise Fellowship’ where they invest in and endorse young talent.

 Santander’s Universities Enterprise Portal allows young entrepreneurs to have access to business support for start-ups and also give away cash-prizes (yes, free money).


– Kristian found his space through Bristol City Council. You find out about the council’s empty spaces here.

– Pop-ups are useful because they act as practice-runs. Kristian had two pop-up shops in both Bristol and London. Appear Here post slots that are available on a regular basis.

Don’t be afraid to ask for help or create a network of people to advise and encourage you. Creative Youth Network hold forums to learn new skills and network with likeminded young entrepreneurs.

Now  that there’s absolutely no excuse — we hope we’ve inspired you to get working on your independent shop idea this summer.

Have you got any shop ideas or want to expand on Kristian’s tips to get the ball rolling? Let us know — @rifemag

Related Links:

Find out how The Prince’s Trust  can fund your business idea  and their ‘Enterprise Fellowship

More information about empty business properties at Bristol City Council

Great resources and networking tools from Creative Youth Network

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