TV star Mary Portas launches retail design masterclasses

Mary Portas, star of BBC TV series Mary Queen of Shops, is launching a series of masterclasses for independent retailers.

Former Harvey Nichols creative director Portas developed the classes with Skillsmart Retail, which is delivering them. She will appear in videos that will be shown at the masterclasses, but will not personally run any of them.

Among seven workshops are two that focus on design, branding and marketing.

Titled ‘creating desire’ and ‘marketing for more customers’, the classes will show retailers ‘how to stand up to the Goliaths of this world with the intention of keeping the British high street diverse’, according to a Skillsmart spokesman.

Aimed largely at retailers, the workshops will promote the use of good design. ‘If you can clearly identify your brand proposition and carry that throughout the store consistently then you will reap the results,’ says the spokesman. ‘If it is financially possibly then contracting designers would be recommended, but many smaller boutiques cannot afford that,’ he adds.

Portas will lead two launches on 1 July at Studio East Dining in Westfield Stratford and later at Sheffield’s The Source.

The workshops will run at venues across the UK from 1 July, for as long as demand allows.

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