Is the Royal Arcade the new hotspot for up-and-coming brands?

The Royal Arcade, Norwich

The Royal Arcade, Norwich - Credit: Chris Ball Photography

One of Norwich's most historic shopping strips has fast reinvented itself with a host of unique new brands. 

From homeware stores to expanding independent distillers, the 19th century Royal Arcade is a far cry from the emptying destination it was a few years ago. 

So has the area become a mini retail incubator? The tenants on site certainly think so.

Madeleine White is the co-director of the arcade's newest business, cosmetics brand Juni and Co.

Madeleine White, founder and CEO of the Norfolk cosmetics brand Juni

Madeleine White, founder and chief executive of the Norfolk cosmetics brand Juni - Credit: Kate Wolstenholme

The 25-year-old Norwich native of the family-fronted business said: "We actually didn't intend to have a shop in Norwich, the arcade got in touch with us.

"We had a look out of pure nosiness but we fell in love and three months later we got the keys.

"We wouldn't have sought out another venue. With the windows and the light, it feels like the right space - it's so beautiful."

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Juni and Co is the sister brand of Juni Cosmetics, which is co-owned by make-up artist Madeleine White and mother Suzanne who launched the business in April 2020.

Juni & Co will be working with local commercial designers, KayKew, to fully refurbish the unit.

Juni & Co was set up in April 2020 by Madeleine White and her mum Suzanne - Credit: Sonya Duncan

The brand is 100pc plastic free, vegan and organic and runs a return and refill programme, which gives customers a 10pc discount on their next purchase. 

"When we're up and running, we want to focus on events and forming a strong community," Madeleine added.

"The arcade feels homely. It's is everything that's nice about Norwich - everyone gets involved and is very supportive."

Speaking of supportive neighbours, fellow new tenant Gyre and Gimble - which opened its gin bar in the Royal Arcade in June - is making a one-of-a-kind gin especially for Juni's launch event at the end of the summer.

Boss Craig Allison said: "What we've bought into being part of the arcade is a rejuvenation under its new ownership.

Craig Allison, co-owner of Gyre and Gimble

Craig Allison, co-owner of Gyre and Gimble - Credit: White Tiger PR

"We're still very much trying to put our stamp on the city as a local brand. 

"There was quite a lot of competition for our unit and we're definitely more risky tenants. 

"We had to get an alcohol licence and asked for the arcade to be kept open later - all of these things were going against us.

Guests enjoy the new gin academy opened by Gyre and Gimble in the Royal Arcade

Guests enjoy the new gin academy opened by Gyre and Gimble in the Royal Arcade - Credit: Ella Wilkinson

"But we felt like the Royal Arcade also bought into us - as a younger and more ambitious brand with green credentials.

"We hope we're drawing tourists to the arcade. We're new blood now but we'll become the old one day with our ten-year lease."

What the arcade has to say

Simon Ashdown, director of LPC1, the property management company running the arcade on behalf of the owners, said: "We are really pleased that the first four businesses to have agreed leases in the Royal Arcade since the owners bought it are all run by young, local entrepreneurs with fresh ideas and bags of energy.

"They will be a brilliant complementary presence to the Arcade’s more established retailers and will bring their own unique and engaging propositions that I am sure the shoppers of Norwich and Norfolk will enjoy."