22 Feb 2024


Founder of PAVEMENT, Janna Walker, joined Pure London x JATC for an insightful Q&A about her interactive retail store on Sunday 11 February 2024. In case you missed it, here are some of the highlights from Janna’s conversation, ‘Elevating Retail Experiences: Building a Social Hub in Your Store’:

                   Collage of Janna Walker's PAVEMENT in Walthamstow Village.                   


Q: In the vibrant landscape of Walthamstow Village, PAVEMENT stands out as a dynamic lifestyle concept store. Can you share the inspiration behind the creation of PAVEMENT and enlighten us about your journey leading up to this endeavour?


JW: Growing up in a relatively small town in NZ, I spent my teenage years making the pilgrimage to the nearest city to check out all the small independent boutiques, and it was from there really that the dream was born: to have my own little store which sold under the radar brands and cool, cult products.

I moved to London in my early twenties and started a career in interior procurement for luxury hotels – I spent 20 years working in that sector – then, with ample time to re-evaluate during lockdown, I decided that after many years of talking about ‘what if’, it was finally time to realise my dream, and from there the search for the right location began! We spent around 18 months looking at various different locations before we were able to secure our spot at 21 Orford Road – I spent that time planning, researching, mood-boarding, and cold-calling brands. I feel incredibly lucky that so many great brands were willing to take a chance on someone with a lot of tenacity, but no retail background!


Q: PAVEMENT isn't just a store; it's a multifaceted space, offering treatments, hosting events and fostering a sense of community. What motivated you to go beyond the conventional retail model and create a space that extends into the realms of events?


JW: I always knew that I wanted to host in-person events at the store – it’s such a great way to meet and engage with your customers, and also to introduce new brands in a relaxed, yet intentional way – but we didn’t realise until we took possession of the store, just how much potential there was in the upstairs space for pop-ups and workshops. Then, when I was talking with Karly from AURUM.Ldn about stocking her RTW jewellery line, she suggested a residency at the store offering piercings and the various possibilities grew from there.


Janna Walker and Joanne Spence Q&A

Q: How do you curate and select the diverse range of events at PAVEMENT? What criteria do you use to ensure that each event aligns with the ethos of the store and contributes to the overall experience for your customers?


JW: I suppose the store is very much a reflection of me, and the things I’m interested in – hence why we’ve had events showcasing vintage and preloved, piercings, and tattoos – but I really love to work collaboratively, and I’m always open to trying new things. We’ve recently been hosting jewellery workshops with Tilly Sudsbury which have been incredibly popular so we will be incorporating a lot more creative workshops at PAVEMENT this year. We’ve already got candle painting and floral workshops locked in for March!


Q: PAVEMENT has quickly made a significant impact in just over a year. For other small businesses looking to break out of their comfort zones, what advice would you offer based on your own experiences and successes? How do you stay innovative and resilient in an ever-evolving retail landscape?


JW: For me, collaboration is important; supporting and being a part of the local community; showing up for your fellow small business owners, even if that’s just a shout out on social media or attending their events. Negotiating a sale-or-return partnership can give you a bit more freedom to trial new up and coming brands – this is particularly helpful with small independent brands that are unlikely to be working to the same margins as the more established brands. Working closely with your brands and passing along customer feedback. Being clear on your objectives from the outset but leaving a little wiggle room for new opportunities as and when they arise. And most importantly: Authenticity is key, you can only be yourself!


To shop some truly unique pieces and to be in the know about PAVEMENT's next in-store event, visit their website.



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