Absolute Beginners



Absolute Beginners is a new kind of factory for Park Royal Industrial Estate, where local young people can learn how to make some of the basic goods that used to be made on the estate – and which we might need to make again in our uncertain future.

Once our young people had made the products, the next step for a factory is to distribute them. To do this, we decided to open a Factory Shop.

A promotional gif of a factory roller shutter opening.

The Factory Shop set up before we opened.

Some of our Absolute Beginners were on hand to speak to visitors.

The Absolute Beginners Factory Shop was open for two days only, as part of the Park Royal Design District of the London Design Festival, in late September 2021. It was a chance for people to get their hands on the products our Absolute Beginners had made: to touch them, try them on, hold them up to the light – and buy them.

The Factory Shop in full swing. Has someone risk assessed that bag of shredded paper waste?

A visitor tries out writing on some Absolute Paper.

Someone tries on a pair of Royal Maki Sandals.

We also had some of the young people there to help out, and tell visitors the story of how it was all made. Thanks to Kairie, Sahara, Nafisa, Jana, Mariam and Maki for being brilliant.

Our amazing Absolute Beginners, prepping the packaging for our Beginners Cups.

Great hosting work from the youth.

All the products had three prices: an art price (for those able to support the project), a standard price, and a community price (for those unwaged or on zero hours contracts). It was up to the shopper to choose.

An info panel detailing the price of the sandals.

Our Beginners Cups on display, looking very lush.

A pair of Royal Maki Sandals, propped up leisurely on a brick from the kiln.

The proceeds were split 50/50 with the young people who were involved in the project, with the remainder going towards the next iteration of Absolute Beginners. (All the young people were also paid London Living Wage for the time they spent working on the products).

We had about 200 people through the doors over the weekend, and an amazing launch where most of the participants came together to meet each other, and see what each other group had produced (thanks to Little Beirut for the food and Company Drinks for the fizzy pop).

Tom James mid spiel.

Many thanks to Jass Dooa and Ravi Dooa for hosting us, and to Johnny Brewin from The Republic of Park Royal for organising the space.

Making a sale. Thank you, come again.

Some of our beautiful posters, by Jon Cannon.

We’re now working on Absolute Beginners 2. We want to open the factory again, to make more products, and find new ways to get them out into the community. (We might even do an online shop too). Stay tuned for more details.

A photo of our heras enclosure, inside the empty factory. The banner reads 'IT'S THE BEGINNING OF A NEW AGE'.

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