Aviva Life and Pensions Ireland DAC (Aviva) came on board Champion Green for the first time in August 2020, working to support small local businesses and start-ups, and to encourage consumer support for local producers and services providers. The Champion Green initiative was created by Kilkenny Design, and is sponsored by Visa, with a view to helping thousands of small businesses across the country that form the backbone of the Irish economy. Consumers, large organisations, financial institutions, administrators and State bodies all recognise the need to get behind smaller local brands and businesses, and to buy locally and use local services.
The property team at Aviva has committed to providing short-term, vacant retail space in prime locations to start-ups and local producers who are looking to establish a retail presence for their brand or business.
Award-winning Irish design brand, Jill & Gill was the first to be allocated a short-term licence for a pop-up shop in Dublin city centre. Located at 5 St. Stephen's Green, at the junction of St. Stephens Green and Grafton Street, the 399 sq.m. retail unit allowed the design duo to showcase and sell their bold and colourful fashion and homeware collection.
Their hand-printed range of organic cotton t-shirts and sweaters in a fresh eclectic style has won the creative design duo, illustrator Jill Deering and printmaker Gillian Henderson, legions of fans. Their fashion and prints collection were already stocked by Kilkenny Design and the new St. Stephen’s Green retail pop-up saw even more city centre shoppers able to browse the brand’s latest collection.
The short-term licence arrangements are a ‘win win’ for everyone; not least shoppers and the city centre retail community. We are enabling up-and-coming businesses to showcase their products in a physical and high-profile location which is expected to drive additional footfall to these locations.Suzie Nolan, Head of Property Fund Management at Aviva
Suzie Nolan, Head of Property Fund Management at Aviva, said: “In the case of Jill & Gill, we were delighted to provide a complimentary short-term licence on the property so that the business could explore the high street retail potential and extend its consumer reach. Not only does this support local creative talent, but it also strengthens the city centre retail offering with new and exciting Irish brands as well.
“The property fund will also benefit from this initiative as, having the shops occupied by interesting and attractive tenants such as Jill & Gill, will assist in promoting the currently vacant units to prospective new tenants. While the vacancy rate in the Fund is only 4%, it is made up of small units in well located properties that would be an ideal fit for the Champion Green initiative.”
Pop Up Potential
The brand’s very own pop-up store on St. Stephen's Green is an incredible and exciting opportunity for our business. We are very grateful to Aviva and to all the organisations and consumers that have bought into Champion Green so wholeheartedly. We are delighted to bring our creative offering right into the heart of Dublin’s shopping district for visitors to enjoy.Jill Deering of Jill & Gill
The fine art, fashion and design creatives already operate their studio on Francis Street in Dublin. Opening a retail outlet was always an ambition for them, but the impact of Covid-19 on business had made that an unlikely prospect until Aviva joined forces with Champion Green.
Given the closure of non-essential retail outlets due to the outbreak of the pandemic, Aviva extended the short-term licence to Jill & Gill up to the end of June 2021.
Aviva is currently in discussion with Champion Green on another exciting retail opportunity for a small business and hope to make a further announcement on this shortly.