Nigel Glenn and Mark Lawrence are the brains behind two of South London’s best-loved spots on the map – ARCH and FETCH.
We had a quick catch-up with the pair to hear what exciting plans they have in store for the next few months.
It’s been a while since we last caught up, how are things at ARCH and FETCH?
It has been a while, too long in fact! It’s the usual whirlwind of a ride here. We literally cannot believe how quickly time has passed, particularly over the past two years! But things are good, life is good, challenging as ever but we thrive on that. If it’s too easy it’s not worth doing, right? FETCH continues to grow, with more choices, ranges and brands than ever – lots exclusive to us in the UK. It’s all pretty humbling and we are under no illusion about how much of that is down to our amazing community, not just here in Clapham but around the world. We both put our heart and souls into everything we do and to see how far we have come in the past five years, now including ARCH, we just would never have imagined being where we are today. I think it’s a real reflection of, if you put your mind to it, you can achieve anything and NEVER let people tell you otherwise!
FETCH was designed to appeal to the whole LGBTQ+ community. Now in its 6th year, do you feel you’ve achieved that?
We wanted to create a brand that put customers first, positioning ourselves at the heart of the community we serve. Our ranges continue to grow and become more focused on the things people ask us for. FETCH Clapham is our home and so many of our customers have become our friends.
We couldn’t imagine being anywhere else and we hope they feel the same way about us. fetchshop.co.uk is an extension of that community, we get lots of people from around the UK and the world who shop with us that then come in and visit, just to say hi. We strive to be the best, to give the best and we are passionate about that. It’s reflected in everything we do. FETCH and ARCH also collectively support our mission to provide our growing community in the heart of Clapham with Safe Spaces. This is becoming ever more important as we see sad steps backward in our fight for equality and representation for our entire community.
Tell us about ARCH. We know it’s going from strength to strength, what exciting plans do you have for the next few months?
ARCH has been a real journey, with even more changes in recent weeks, involving the structure of the business. I think we have had more Next Chapters than War and Peace, but if you don’t evolve with changing times, you can easily lose your relevance. So now we are looking forward to getting some serious stability in place. Our weekly events line-up has a much more inclusive focus with something for everybody. From quizzes to karaoke, bingo to Draglesque, plus a line-up of DJs that really represents a much broader spectrum of people.
The board in our office with upcoming events is just mad! ARCH Outdoors, Easter, Homoparody, Coronation, Bank Holiday Weekenders, Eurovision, Street Festival, Pride,
Fetish Week – there’s a lot coming and it’s gonna be SPECTACULAR! There may even be a few Movie Night Extravaganzas in there (shhhh)!
We’ve heard rumours that Clapham Pride is set to return. You boys went big last year, what’s the plan this year?
Oh, you ain’t seen nothing yet! This year we are taking it to another level. It’s going to be much more centred on the community with more space, extended hours, more sponsors, more performances, more effects, more stage, more more more – that’s how we like it. Then just when you think it can’t get bigger, there’ll be one more day, as we make it an entire weekend event. You heard it here first, London!
You both must be the busiest boys in London! Tell us about the team helping you to run your amazing businesses.
It’s just in our DNA and it’s because we love what we do. But that makes it tough, because we can be in the office at FETCH from 9am and ARCH might not be closing until 3am the next day. You have to be able to walk away and that’s why we surround ourselves with the best talent out there. At FETCH, we have Rob who everybody knows and loves. He looks after the store most days supported by Miquel and Mama FETCH – if you know you know! David (Mr Gay England we’ll have you know!) looks after our online content and social media and we are looking for another person to join us as we expand our own range of ruff GEAR.
Our ARCH crew are a great collection of people led by Vicki during the week and Miquel
at the weekends. Jordan, Teddy, Loukas, Ethan, Victor, and Nathan are the ones stopping you all from being thirsty and they are all just fab! Jarry Glavin is the beautiful face you will find greeting you at the door over the weekend bringing the best vibes to your Friday and Saturday nights. It’s so great to have her back with us after a spell away, bringing heart back to the venue. As well as that, the line-up of creative artists we have is just massive. Our regular weekday hosts are Jack Finnerty and Monroe, Queera Lynn, Chanel No5, Maria Renee, and DJ Linderman. Then a tribe of Djs brings the tunes every Saturday and Bank Holiday Sunday. It’s always been about the people for us and these are the ones who help make our dreams a reality every single day!
Before we go, we’re at the bar, and buying. What you having?
Oh finally, an easy one. Grey Goose and Diet Coke for Mark, Slingsby Rhubarb Gin and lemonade for Nigel, Cheers!