Catalog is going to be an independent mobile bookstore that operates out of a transformed Christiania Bike.
We want to become a platform for the people of Manchester to connect with their interests, to flick through our independent print, and to find all kind of curiosities.
We are hoping that our carefully curated selection of 'zines and books will value innovative and emerging writers and presses, as well as established authors in the literary community.
What do we believe?
We believe in a thriving community; one where people are engaged, involved, and actively playing their part. We want to be part of a greater movement across the city of Manchester, of people doing a great little thing, and thus becoming part of an encouraging movement towards a better place for everyone to live.
What will we do?
We want to promote diversity throughout our stock, give opportunities to independent authors and makers, help you discover new periodicals and books, new ideas, and encourage interdisciplinary thinking. We are aiming to select the most interesting, beautiful, obscure, and inspiring publications.
Social and Environmental
Today, a spell has been cast on humanity that the purpose of business is to solely make profits above all else, and it is this notion which causes businesses to churn through people and the planet which is destroying us all. So, we need to change, we need to treat the environment with respect, we need to prove that businesses can work for the benefit of society, for all of us.
Catalog aims to carry out its activities in a way that minimizes environmental impact on a whole lifecycle analysis basis. Additionally, our approach extends to the use of materials within the business, packaging, transport, etc.
Our business model is designed to do good. It’s circular and sustainable and we believe in making a positive impact in the world and in building a better business that helps us to do more good. Hence why within our first year in operation we will apply to become a certified B Corp.
Certified B Corporations (B Corps ™) are for-profit companies that use the power of business to build a more inclusive and sustainable economy. They are businesses that meet the highest standards of verified social and environmental performance, public transparency, and legal accountability to balance profit and purpose. In short, we care about people and the planet.
Catalog will work hard and take bold actions in order to lead on sustainability, reduce our environmental impacts, and protect the low-carbon economy. Therefore:
- The relationship with our suppliers will be based on a commitment to communities and our planet: clean materials from low-impact or recycled resources, and companies that invest in their people and communities.
- We will engage with local networks, collaborating with our waste and packaging suppliers.
- We will nurture diversity and inclusion throughout our stock.
- We will ensure that we take actions on a daily basis to reduce our carbon footprint.
- We will work to reduce and remove all plastic, introducing more paper-based alternatives.
Catalog operates within the following values:
Inclusive – We are committed to helping create a strong and prosperous community in which individuals from all cultures, backgrounds, and beliefs are able to develop mutual understanding and respect.
Environmentally Sustainable – We realize the publishing industry is very resource-intensive hence why we will try to minimize waste by a) stocking products that are FSC-certified, b) using 100% recycled paper stocks for our own use. Additionally, our approach extends to the use of materials within the shop, packaging, transport, energy, etc.
Curious – We are committed to satisfying the needs of our open-minded readers by offering curious publications. Other than the ones we will select to stock, we want to encourage people to come and present their self-published work to us.
Our vision is to develop a bookshop that brings the recent renaissance in independent print alive for the people of Manchester, a place that helps to maintain the relationship between people and the printed word.
Our mission is to nurture creativity and promote diversity by stocking a contemporary selection of periodicals, very much tailored towards the demands of our customers.
Working with a local designer, we are hoping to develop a mobile bookstore on a Christiania bike frame that would allow for indie periodicals to infiltrate the streets of Manchester. We are trying to blend the practicality of industrial design with the sustainability of the Nordic minimalism.
Our objectives are simple: to design something friendly and appealing that would attract people, allow customers to browse and explore content, as well as facilitate the selection and purchase portion of the retail cycle.
The completed design features:
- An adaptable bookshelf system that allows for displaying books with various dimensions and in different orientations (spine out, face out)
- Modular shelves that disassemble for easy storage or can be added or removed for an increase or decrease in book inventory.
- A storage drawer to hold extra inventory or which can also be used as a retail bin.
- Removable and repositionable retail pegs to hang shopping bags or to display books.
- Detachable waterproofed canvas covers to protect books from Manchester's glorious weather.
- Custom steel bookends that also serve as a stand for featuring books.
- A matching chalkboard sign that can be stored on the bicycle during transportation and used on location to help attract customers.
Below are some of the design ideas we have in mind for our project.
Catalog will be located on Oxford Road Corridor near the All Saint Campus (see Exhibit). Just minutes from downtown and close to the student end of Manchester.
The location is very favourable, providing high visibility, high traffic, and a high flow of customers. Other advantages of the chosen location include - High flow of pedestrians – Located at the student end of Manchester university traffic, between MMU, RNCM, and the UoM. – Short commute to Manchester Oxford Road train station.
The Oxford Road Corridor is economically the most important area within Greater Manchester. Populated with a unique and eclectic mix of education providers, museums, and galleries, the area is home to nearly 80,000 jobs (17% of City’s workforce), generating over 3.6 billion GVA per annum, consistently accounting for 20% of Manchester’s economic output. The area is also one of UK’s largest concentration of higher education students with nearly 70,000 undergraduates and postgraduates, a population that underpins a large residential market and a vibrant social and cultural scene.
The committed and planned investment (undergoing a £3 billion investment programme) in Oxford Road Corridor will deliver over £4 million sq. ft. of commercial, leisure, retail and residential space by 2025. Given the important economic advantages and agglomeration opportunities associated with the Oxford Road Corridor, available land is fully utilized.
One of the most prominent developments is Circle Square. The metrics associated with the plan, highlight that more than 1 million sq. ft. of commercial floor space will accommodate 8827 FTE jobs in priority sectors such as professionals and business services, digital and creative, and health and higher education, as well as retail. Overall, it is anticipated that Circle Square will make an exceptional contribution to Manchester’s economy; when fully developed, companies are expected to generate more than £0.5bn of GVA per annum.
In addition to Circle Square grand development, the soon to arrive School of Digital Arts (SODA) will support the ever-growing demand in the digital art sector.
The project will be located on Higher Chatham Street within the All Saint Campus of Manchester Metropolitan University; an interdisciplinary school that will bring together art and design with technology and computing under one roof.
Who is behind Catalog?
Hello- thanks for viewing my Crowdfunder page. My name is Peter and I was born in Athens (Greece). At the age of 22, I moved to the UK in order to continue my studies in economics and I've been here ever since. I have worked in finance, retail, and hospitality, and I believe I have acquired many and varied skills that I can apply to this project.
Having been quite the bookworm since childhood, I've always had the desire to create a space where people from all walks of life come together, communicating their ideas, needs, interests, and their quirks. A space that also serves the needs and wants of a local community.
The UK indie cultural and retail scene, as well as my love of travel, broadened my horizons. The more I travelled and met different people, the hungrier I became for more conversations around literature, art, politics, and architecture.
The idea for Catalog was born last year due to a combination of factors - my love for the printed world; inspiration taken from the independent shops that I have come across on my travels; as well as by the Scandinavian indie scene and way of living.
A lot of people might think that I am crazy to create an independent bookshop amid the Covid-19 pandemic, and when online retailers and big chains have been on the rise for almost a decade. But I am an idealist who believes that people still need personal contact and a place where you can just look around, read, and take your time.
In a world where we're constantly stuck to screens, it's refreshing and comforting to step outside into a quirky mobile bookshop, to browse through its titles, pick up a piece, sample it and scamper off with a new discovery in hand.
At a time when social bonds are fraying, I am hoping that Catalog will have the power to create a sense of community and that it will become a hive of activity for those who are passionate about independent print, arts, culture, and design. An Aladdin's Cave of independent magazines, journals, books, and stationery; an oasis for the lovers of the printed page.
What we are offering
Catalog is a mobile independent bookshop where quality is valued over quantity. A speciality magazine space with a focus on high-quality publications on both local and international magazines and books.
Our core activities would be focused around our diverse selection of vibrant and stimulating works ranging from often independent and self-published limited-edition books to a carefully curated selection of independent periodicals covering titles on architecture, art and design, music, film, photography, food and other independent titles. We will try to bring things to Manchester that can’t be found elsewhere.
The greatest amount of space will be devoted to a wide range of niche periodicals on a diverse selection of subject matters, as well as a small, yet careful curated selection of books.
In the future, we will enhance our cross-selling activities by collaborating with a number of local makers and creatives, offering a carefully considered selection of independent creations all linked by the theme of paper. While initially, this area will be relatively small, quantity and selection will grow as customer response is evaluated.
What will your pledges be used for?
We don't expect to fund the whole venture through this crowdfunding, but we hope to reduce expensive bank borrowing costs.
Raising funds through crowdfunding will provide the capital needed to bring our mobile bookshop to life. The costs of setting up a new business are big. In our case, the largest expense will be our bike as well as the design costs, building mobile pop-up bookshelves. Smaller costs include suppliers, as well as a POS system
Hence we are seeking to raise £5500. This amount will allow us to bring our project to life and run it sustainably.
We have put together a long list of wonderful and oddball rewards to thank you for your pledges. We have some exclusive thank you gifts, special sponsorships, and a number of one-off experiences.
After our Crowdfunding campaign, we will be ready to set sail (but on three wheels)! See below for a detailed breakdown of our schedule:
- July/August — Crowdfunding campaign
- Mid August — purchase & renovate the bike/order books & merchandise
- Early September — the grand opening of Catalog mobile bookstore
- Late November — rewards delivered to YOU, our amazing backers
Risks and challenges
We understand that every start-up business is always going to be risky, (especially amid a pandemic crisis) simply because it is uncharted territory. We need to find our tribe and develop a customer base, so keeping the project going while building that following up could be challenging.
For that reason, we have carried out the following risk assessment, (see table below) in order to identify the key risks to our business, their probability and likelihood, and the mitigating activities that we will need to put in place before they occur.
It is not all about money
If you cannot donate, you can still help us. You can share our story and this campaign on your social media, with your friends, family, colleagues, and whoever might be interested. Connect with us and show love on social media, phone a friend, or send a smoke signal. We need and appreciate it all. We hope you help us spread the word out in any possible way!
No matter how you choose to help us, you will have our sincere gratitude (and a cup of coffee).
Thank you all!