Written by Benjamin Mensah


The Poundshop is national chain store that sells items for £1. The concept is simple and it doesn’t seem too interesting. However, once you start to uncover the foundations of the brand in addition to seeing one of their stores in real life, you quickly come to realise that The Poundshop is no ordinary brand as it features an endless array of imaginatively created products and spaces.

Ran by George Wu and Sara Melin, The Poundshop has had a huge success in the business industry and creative industry alike. There have been many gains and losses for The Poundshop through poor business choices and through rushed decisions in addition to eureka like moments that have propelled the brand forwards and upwards.


George Wu and Sara Melin (The Poundshop founders)

George Wu and Sara Melin (The Poundshop founders)


In Sara Melin’s opening statement, she stated that the goal of The Poundshop was the “challenge to make design affordable + accessible”. This goal is made very apparent throughout the presentation. Sara Melin made several key points about the way her business was ran which made me evaluate how i myself should run my current business in the near future. For example, there are no overheads in her business, this means that there is no “middle man” that takes a share of their money for production, just visual artists. There wasn’t a great deal of explanation of what an overheard is, but one can only assume that it means that there are hardly (if any) bills to pay, such as rent and gas.

Sara Melin went on to speak about the first shop The Poundshop business invested in.



Here you can see that the first shop has a strange interior/layout. The layout was designed by a friend of Sara and George Wu. The shop had only set them back £150 as three people had all put money together to purchase the shop.


Pictured on the right here you can see that the first shop has a strange interior/layout. The layout was designed by a friend of Sara and George Wu. The shop had only set them back £150 as three people had all put money together to purchase the shop.

What does this teach me? What have i re-affirmed here? Patience. Sara continuously, throughout the entire presentation spoke about the important of patience and how you MUST be patient to make the right decisions.

This has also taught me the importance of contacts. It has been made INCREDIBLY plain to me that the power of having contacts can completely revolutionalise how a business can unfold.

To completely summarise the business aspect of The Poundshop, i will summarise the ups and downs that Sara Melin spoke about in her presentation and what she may have done to avoid them.

Firstly, it was made apparent to me that The Poundshop was making most of its profits from practical products. Pictured below you will find candle holders and business holders in the shapes of animals. Products like this have been a huge success for The Poundshop and have led them to keep financially afloat for some time.



Practical Products


Sara Melin also went on to speak about how they started to sell food in one of their stores. They worked on a form of an À la carte system whereby an inch of food was £1. This was a major success as people were able to eat and shop (which in the 21st century is a must for creatives).

There have also been technical advances in management over the past four years since launch. The Poundshop has started to assign multiple job roles. This has in itself aided the brand to broaden its horizon of expertise when their employees have been in question.

Whilst on the Topic of broadening Horizons, The Poundshop website has been the biggest success since the start of The Poundshop brand. The website has given them a larger voice to project across the world. This has seen them make great advances in the industry. This has enabled them to promote their designers’ work as well as sell products.



The Poundshop Website



The last final slides of the presentation were refreshing and positive. Sara Melin spoke about future plans of opening three stores in February. She also spoke about the inherent need to love your work as this WILL propel you to work through the tougher times in business. She also spoke about the fact that its very difficult to be nice and it can be a weakness that can be exploited if you don’t put your foot down when you need to.

After her presentation, Sara Melin and I had a short conversation about the impact of photography on her business. She did state that graphic design did have a bigger impact on her business as that is what people were purchasing. She did however say that she could not deny that photography was used a great deal to promote the brand.

This presentation has inspired me to press on forward with my photography business and have a larger audience in mind instead constant private clients. Art galleries and walk in and buy methods are starting to emerge in my mind.


1. Featured image provided from http://thepoundshop.org/about/ Retrieved 23 Oct 2014

2. All images except website screen shot were self produced on the day of presentation. Website screen shot retrieved from http://thepoundshop.org 23 Oct 2014