Your browser is no longer supported. For the best experience of this website, please upgrade to a newer version or another browser.

Your browser appears to have cookies disabled. For the best experience of this website, please enable cookies in your browser

We'll assume we have your consent to use cookies, for example so you won't need to log in each time you visit our site.
Learn more

Non-profit Fashion Enter in business rate dispute

Croydon independent Enter, which sells product from 20 up-and-coming designers, is refusing to pay its full business rate charges on its shop after the local council refused to give it rate relief.

The store in the Centrale Shopping Centre is owned by non-profit organisation Fashion Enter, which supports small fashion firms through training and guidance. Fashion Enter claims it should be entitled to discretionary rate relief of 80% and has only paid 20% of its bill to Croydon council.

The council can award up to 80% discretionary relief on business rates for community and voluntary groups which are not registered charities but whose activities are deemed as charitable. However, it says the Enter shop does not meet the criteria.

Fashion Enter director Jenny Holloway disputes this. “All the money goes to the designers, we don’t make any profit, and we work on minimal salaries and work with the local community.

“You need to have specific expertise and experience in the fashion industry to be able to deliver help and good advice to people who want to get into that area, and that’s what we do.

Fashion Enter also runs a factory for up-and-coming designers in Haringey, north London, as well as a boutique in Barking in Essex and a showroom in Kingston upon Thames in Surrey.

Croydon council said: “The council is prepared to reconsider [its decision] if Fashion Enter can provide evidence that the activities at its retail outlet are wholly or mainly charitable.”

The council also said it had helped Fashion Enter with several initiatives in 2007 and 2008, to which it had contributed more than £28,000.

Readers' comments (13)

  • Croydon used to be a no-go for me, it's sprawling unconnected shopping areas being just too difficult to navigate. More recently though I have come to like the place, its multi ethnic charm and not so typical diversity of shops and wonderful street market giving the town a feeling that is completely different from the conservative character of Bromley (where I live). The council has big plans- to link the peripheral railway station at East Croydon in an exciting modern system of pedestrian walkways and shops. The dynamic is excellent, but one cannot but think that this recent dispute is a sign that Croydon is moving too far away from it's roots and towards a more corporate and up market feel for the town. Ironically, the boutique at Fashion Enter represents exactly what the Council should be encouraging. The problem for them is I guess that It does not look like a charity shop - it looks like an up market fashion emporium. The staff also are not what you would expect. Stephanie, the manager, is a highly intelligent and fashionable young woman who could command a very substantial salary, but has chosen to work for Jenny Holloway, because she believes in the aims and aspirations of the company. Rema and Emily are both actively engaged and coming to the end of lengthy business study courses - perfect examples of exactly the right kind of young peope that we want to encourage in our society. They all work with enthusiasm and are completely dedicated to the task in hand, which is to place before the Croydon public a range of fashion wear that is both individual and innovative - the product of young aspiring designers from our locality and beyond. It is exactly what Croydon should be encouraging, but it is understandable that Fashion Enter is not recognised - the format is so new and unusual that a category would have to be created to accommodate it. What it represents a new genre in retail practice, precisely right for the post meltdown economy, where private and public aspirations can be combined to produce a retail environment that has all the class of a private firm, but with the worthy aims and aspirations of a charitable institution.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • It's an absolute shame that this is even an issue that is being published. Croydon Council is using one hand to endorse enterprise within the borough and is using another to demolish the ventures they want to encourage. I frequent the Centrale and Whitgift shopping centres in Croydon and Fashion Enter is the only fresh air of originality. If this boutique has to close it's door due to lack of support it would just be a crying shame. The council should be more supportive. I don't know what this administration is using our hard earned money on. GRANT FASHION ENTER RATE RELIEF!

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • I just cannot believe in the current economic climate that a company is providing frequent revenue streams for other local small design businesses and the council are failing to support the economic boost needed in such times of hardship. What is going on in Croydon? in the already ghost town Croydon, why fail to help and effectively push out this organisation doing what the council should really be trying to do itself?

    Such a disappointing state of affairs. Fashion is a necessity, and if this boutique is providing both unique fashion to the public and assisting the boroughs overall disposable income then why oh why are the council even thinking twice?

    I am glad they are reconsidering their decision and hope justice prevails

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Frocked de la Valliere / Frocked.co.uk

    Being the first designer in Enter in Croydon, & knowing all the hard work, effort & dedication by all involved at Enter, it seems a sorry state of affairs that this reduction in rates has not been awarded. What will become of Enter if Croydon Council do not change their minds - another empty store?? Another closed boutique?

    This is a not-for-profit organization that has been without a doubt, the spring board for numerous designers, & the expertise & guidance have been paramount to so many. This industry is not easy & setting up on your own has so many pitfalls & not a lot of doors opening. The necessity of an outlet, mentoring & 'been-there-done-it' knowledge', is vital, & never more so than in this current economic clitmate; what do the customers think? If Croydon is going the way that Croydon Council envisage, then surely Enter is a perfect mix of fashion & style & innovation to help build on this.

    I wish Enter well!

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • julytwenty

    I am not from Croydon but I support organisations like Fashion Enter, for it's ability to help young people and start-ups in the fashion industry. This issue is very discouraging. If such organisations are treated this way, why encourage entrepreneurship in the first place?

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Frocked de la Valliere / Frocked.co.uk

    Being the first designer in Enter in Croydon, & knowing all the hard work, effort & dedication by all involved at Enter, it seems a sorry state of affairs that this reduction in rates has not been awarded. What will become of Enter if Croydon Council do not change their minds - another empty store?? Another closed boutique?

    This is a not-for-profit organization that has been without a doubt, the spring board for numerous designers, & the expertise & guidance have been paramount to so many. This industry is not easy & setting up on your own has so many pitfalls & not a lot of doors opening. The necessity of an outlet, mentoring & 'been-there-done-it' knowledge', is vital, & never more so than in this current economic clitmate; what do the customers think? If Croydon is going the way that Croydon Council envisage, then surely Enter is a perfect mix of fashion & style & innovation to help build on this.

    I wish Enter well!

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • The Expertise of the Fashion Enter team in the fashion industry is beyond price, and we need them to continue helping us.
    As a new and not known up coming designers, we have got doubts and fears, and no one that could help us do not even want to talk to us, listen to what we want to say or to ask.
    However Jenny Holloway (Fashion Enter) is there, to answer all our questions about the world of fashion, buy a phone call, an e-mail, or through a meeting face to face.

    So they know that you are a non profitable organisation, so Jenny, Do Not Give Up, fight for your rights.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • I am based in Turkey and I know how many designers use the services of Fashion Enter – what is Croydon doing? Shouldn’t they be supporting small businesses that are only trying to help the creative industry.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • The situation you have mentioned in your article about Croydon Council not helping 'not for profit' businesses like Fashion-Enter flies in the face of your recent article about landlords having to be more flexible with small retailers if we are to minimise empty shop units across the UK.

    Fashion-Enter has helped hundreds of young fashion designers by showcasing and promoting their ranges in the Fashion-Enter shops in London and will continue to do so but not in Croydon.

    THIS IS THE ONLY OPPORTUNITY IN LONDON FOR DESIGNERS TO RETAIL THEIR COLLECTIONS DIRECT TO THE PUBLIC AND RECEIVE THE LIONS SHARE OF THE SALES TURNOVER.

    I fear for any small business in Croydon, you will get NO help from the council if you get into trouble.I am really please that I am not a Croydon resident if that is how they treat 'community' businesses.

    Last month the government asked all councils in the UK to come up with schemes to fill all the empty shop sites in their boroughs with art installations and other attractive temporary let options to stop the High Streets and shopping centres looking like ghost towns which further add to the doom and gloom of the local residents. It's interesting to see that Croydon Council have totally ignored this request and seem more than happy to forcibly empty a large unit in one of their shopping centres that already has many dark and closed sites.

    Fashion-Enter needs positive publicity for all the good work that they do for young designers in the UK, whether it be through their retail shops,their top quality production unit or the many other support projects they deliver to benefit all fashion designers that need advice and support.

    Michael Goodmaker
    Designerhelp.Co.Uk Ltd

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • This is just not fair, Fashion-Enter is not like many other shops in Croydon. It is so different in what it does, it works with so many different people, especially young people who need a direction in their lifes. It is the only shop which has something different to offer, I love saturdays at Fashion-Enter they always have a good music and sales girls are always helpful they will dress you from head to toe and you always end up buying something. If you buy something from there you know that you will not meet anyone wearing the same. It's actually placing a good name for Croydon and I can't understand why it has to be closed down. Croydon Council should actually help these kind of business to survive, not just leave them behind when times get hard!!!!

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

Show 1020results per page

Have your say

You must sign in to make a comment

Please remember that the submission of any material is governed by our Terms and Conditions and by submitting material you confirm your agreement to these Terms and Conditions. Links may be included in your comments but HTML is not permitted.