Episode 3: Shops
In which the remaining eight contestants were divided into four pairs, with each team given an independent shop in Nottingham to re-design. The shops sold wool, vintage clothing, skateboards and ladies clothing – with each pair both pitching their design briefs to the shop owner, who chose the one they liked best.
Head Judge Michelle Ogundehin stressed that this task would test the designer’s abilities to work together, and also to serve the needs of two clients – the shop owner, and ultimately the shop’s customers. The designers should ‘seduce someone to get in, make them stay, and ultimately make them pay’. Guest Judge was – obviously – retail guru Mary Portas. Who else?
Nikki and Cassie were given the knitting shop, with Nikki’s design favoured by the shop owner. Out went the boring shelves full of wool - to be replaced with large cardboard tubes – and a new desk/till area was built.
Nikki's design included cardboard display tubes and seagrass baskets (we obviously approve of the latter as we sell them here!)
Jerome and Frank were tasked with overhauling a skateboard shop – Frank’s confident pitch being chosen over hesitant Jerome’s mumbled attempts, but even Frank could not persuade the owner to edit their stock and not cram hundreds of items onto the crowed racks. Frank chose to make the clothing rails out of scaffold poles, and to put a geometric-patterned lino on the wall.
The skateboard shop re-vamp, featuring lino on the walls
Kyle and Ju had the vintage clothing store to re-design. Ju’s winning pitch included bright colours and terracotta pots with faux plants, but the owner also liked Kyle’s lighting and display stands so their task was to bring the two together in a cohesive scheme.
Ju and Kyle's vintage shop - we absolutely loved the idea of using wall mounted chairs as display items
Verity and Terrian were the least out of their comfort zone, being handed a ladies fashion store to make over. The owner liked Terrian’s colourful fabric choices, but ultimately chose Verity’s design – possibly swayed by her promises to highlight the jeans area of the shop. Again, the task would be for elements of the two schemes to work together.
The shop owner chose Verity's design, but requested that Terrian's choice of bright fabric be used for the changing room curtains
How would the differing pairs work as a team? ‘I’m not going to be bossing Terrian around’ said Verity before proceeding to do just that. ‘I have every faith in Verity’ said Terrian, convincing no-one (not least herself). Frank was asked ‘are you a team player?’, to which he honestly replied ‘It’s not my strength’, whilst Jerome complained that ‘I feel like trades and not designer this week’.
Could the shop owner's insistence on displaying every item of stock be Frank and Jerome's downfall?
Meanwhile Teams Ju & Kyle and Nikki & Cassie worked in harmony throughout the task. Not great telly though, so they weren’t featured as much.
Skateboard queens and Tony Hawks fans Mary and Michelle
After two days, the results were scrutinised by Michelle and Mary – who loved the knitting shop, adored the vintage clothing store, were underwhelmed by the unfinished ladies clothing re-design, and asked of Frank’s skateboard shop ‘skate culture? Do they really get it?’. I was most impressed, not knowing that Michelle and Mary spend more time hanging around their local skate parks than I would have guessed.
Verity ignored the request to use brightly coloured fabric for the changing room, replacing it with these grey curtains: 'The client liked the fabric, but I felt it wasn't right'
Ultimately it was Verity and Terrian who were eliminated from the programme, leaving Frank and Jerome to fight another day.
Verity's jeans display left a lot to be desired
The right decision? I thought so – Verity’s belief that she knew best would be her downfall, ignoring the client’s preference for Terrian’s brightly coloured fabrics and replacing them with the dullest of dull grey changing room curtains; and instead of highlighting the various styles of jeans offered decided to roll them up and shove them into cube shelving. Oh – and she insisted on wearing a dreadful apron embroidered with her name. Heinous!