Like the Queen we like to have two Birthdays. 5 years ago today RAAR Emporium was officially born*. After lots of conversations around a friend’s kitchen table about possible names (and googling them to check they were not already associated with less desirable online searches) RAAR Emporium was settled upon. Everyone says RAAR a little differently; we like imagining we are monsters, whilst others often make a dinosaur or pirate sound. Occasionally we hear a very well-spoken, comedy posh version as well. Whichever it is, it nearly always it puts a smile on peoples faces.
Originally intended as a place for Angela’s monsters (made for years previously under the label RAAR), then later to add other awesome toys and goodies, with the hope of eventually finding a bricks and mortar shop. We wanted to create a place free from enforced stereotypes and restrictions for all ages. The RAAR monsters, called ‘Fiendish Grubkins’ have always been mainly aimed at adults and have gone on many adventures making grown-ups smile. As Angela had helped set up two toy shops for other people we knew how much amazing, fun stuff was out there. There are lots of smaller suppliers trying to fight against bigger mass-produced items to provide quality products.
Lots of research and planning had been going on for some time and once the name was chosen, RAAR quickly snowballed. We attended our first trade show as RAAR Emporium in September 2014. Angela had been to many before but this was the first with our own business name on and after saying the name to lots of suppliers and leaving details, RAAR Emporium started to feel very real.
An empty shop we saw in the Drill Hall back in May had started the shop plans in our heads. (we actually planned everything in two days for it! More business planning is always a good idea though and probably luckily it was already rented when we went back to check). When another shop there became available in October we were just by chance in the Drill Hall within hours of a ‘For Rent’ sign going into the window… A month later we were painting and contacting all the suppliers we had met the month before.
With high streets and businesses struggling everywhere we are very grateful to be ticking along still, and as always have so much more planned including stock we want to get one day 😉 A huge thank you to those great friends around their table helping with the initial setup, everyone else that has helped and to all our awesome customers who have supported us. RAAR has developed and grown but always with the same values of fun for all and to inspire curiosity, creativity and lots of smiles.
* Officially into the digital world, our physical shop opened later.