Appear Here announces ‘Space for Ideas’ competition with Warby Parker, Net-a-Porter, Soho House and AKQA judges


Appear Here (, the leading marketplace for short-term retail space, announces the launch of its second Space for Ideas competition in partnership with Square to discover the next three big retail ideas. This year’s judges panel includes fashion and commerce powerhouses Neil Blumenthal (co-founder of Warby Parker), Natalie Massenet (founder of Net-a-Porter), Nick Jones (founder of Soho House), and Ajaz Ahmed (founder of AKQA). The winning ideas will each receive a two-week flagship space in one of the world’s top retail destinations: London, Paris and New York. Plus, they’ll get the mentorship, design advice and budget to bring their idea to life.

“Space for Ideas helps talented people turn ideas into reality. As an entrepreneur, I’m inspired by the energy and innovation that bubbles up through competition,” says Blumenthal.

With Space for Ideas, Appear Here aims to give emerging brands and young designers, the leg up they need to get started. The greatest challenge many of them face is finding affordable retail space and raising the funds to bring their ideas to life.

The judges were chosen as industry leaders in their relevant fields, as well as their ability to build $250M+ businesses. With their secrets to success, the panel of judges will be offering mentorship to the winning entrepreneurs as they navigate the retail industry in an age of sky-high rents and shuttering stores.

“There is a magic in making an idea come to life. Which is why we want to give visionary designers, talented entrepreneurs, and budding creatives the chance to show the world what their ideas can do. We’re looking for people who can create something truly unique in their space,” says Appear Here founder and CEO, Ross Bailey. “At Appear Here we believe that when the right idea hits the right space, at the right time, great things can happen. When you think that brands like Paul Smith have managed to build global empires off the back of a market stall, or even Appear Here’s own conception, which was sparked off the back of a small shop for the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, it’s exciting to think what Space for Ideas can achieve by connecting these ideas to spaces in the world’s best cities”

How it works

Starting today, July 31st, through midnight on September 15th, brands can enter through the Space for Ideas website. The three winners will be announced on September 21st and will open their store doors to the public on October 18 – November 1.

Prize Package

  • A two week, rent free flagship store in the heart of London, Paris or New York City

  • $4K (£3000 or €3.5 euros) to spend and up to $10K (£7.8 or €8.7) in design services from a leading retail design agency to help execute the vision

  • Mentoring sessions from experts in the industry, competition partners and judges

  • Square POS hardware kit:

“Small businesses and entrepreneurs are the lifeblood of our high streets,” says Sarah Harvey, UK lead for Square. “We’re excited to be partnering with Appear Here on this competition and look forward to helping the winners to start, run and grow their business with Square.”

Through Appear Here, brands like Littlesmith, Away and Mr. Doodle (the latter of which saw a 3,500 percent increase in social followers after opening) have scaled fast. Previous Space for Ideas winner Porterlight Bicycles — a custom cargo bike company — secured an exclusive contract with Deliveroo and received international media attention, including a spot on Forbes 30 Under 30 list for CEO Lawrence Brand.

London, Paris and New York City were all built on the grounds of innovation and imagination, and Space for Ideas is looking to help the next big ideas emerge by providing them with the space and support to get started.