Daria Lanz

Case Study

Choose Love: Bringing refugees closer to home

Glimpse & Help Refugees

Imagine a world where you could shop your heart out, leave with nothing and feel great.
Choose Love is the world's first store that sells real products for refugees. Originally starting in London, we took over a shop space in Soho for one month leading up to Christmas. The pop-up was such a success the shop expanded to New York the following year, making it an annual success.

volunteering with

Glimpse & Help Refugees
with this awesome team

Design: Daria Lanz, Mike Andrews, James Turner, and many volunteers from the collective
this project identifies as

Experiential Design
Pop-up shop
The brief.
Glimpse is a collective of creative people who use their skills for good. We create our own briefs based on the frustrations and challenges we see in the world, run our own campaigns and offer creative services for NGOs and brands.

Every year around Christmas, we choose gifts that often go to waste. Sometimes it feels like we’re just buying stuff for the sake of it. Meanwhile, millions of refugees don’t have the basic things they need to survive.

One evening after work, a group of us got together to answer our self-made brief: “Imagine a world where you could shop your heart out, leave with nothing and feel great.”
The outcome.
Choose Love is the world’s first store that sells real products for refugees. From children’s coats to hot food, blankets and books, every purchase goes towards a similar item for someone who truly needs it.

2017 was our first Choose Love pop up shop opening in Soho on Black Friday. Intended to run only until Christmas, the store was such a huge success the location donated the space to us for an extra month. In the end, we raised over £1 million for refugees that year.

The following year, we opened a second location in NY. And the year after that, we expanded to LA. Choose Love continues to pop-up every year at Christmas time, and our online e-commerce shop remains permanently open.




Customers across 3 continents


Glimpse Volunteers

What we did.
The pop-up shop

Taking inspiration from the Apple Store model, we created a shopping experience where customers can explore the products on offer, purchase with a store clerk on a tablet, and leave with nothing.

This model meant we only needed a single product of each, keeping our costs down. All items purchased online would tally up, and our Help Refugees volunteers would purchase and bring the items to the refugees on location. This meant we didn’t waste funds transporting goods from London to location, rather we could purchase near the camps and ensure every pound raised was used solely for the refugees.

This was a collaboration with Help Refugees, who are 100% volunteer run. This means they don’t take admin fees out of money raised, keeping it streaming through to the refugees they help.
We spent a lot of time designing the narrative within the shop. We knew we were breaking mental models with our ‘shop your heart out, leave with nothing’ model, so we designed signage inside the shop to help teach customers how the shop worked.

We created scenes for customers to focus around: a central table with the majority of products, a few pillars on the walls with products, a wall of Choose Love t-shirts, instructions for how to shop, and refugee stories about their journeys to the camps.
The main wall featured a massive “Choose Love” wall piece which we made out of wood and the gold side of a couple emergency blankets – one of the products on sale.

I designed the product label tags, signage for the walls, postcard receipts, and the posters we featured in the windows. I loved flexing my print design skills, something I don’t often do these days in my digital career. Mike designed some delightful refugee camp icons which we created a pattern for, cut them out in vinyl and decorated the walls with. There was so much love and good-vibe energy among the installation crew as the shop was coming to life.
The online shop

We needed to have an easy e-commerce solution for both customers but also store clerks to use. We designed and built a simple but informative shopping site in line with the brand experience created in the pop up shop.
Volunteers manning the shop were available to serve customers, using tablets and the online shop for all transactions. As a receipt, customers would receive postcards with a message of what they received. These acted as wonderful gifts to give at Christmas.
With Glimpse, it’s always about envisioning a positive future. So many charity campaigns take the guilt route, hoping to drum up more money by presenting the harsh realities and devastating stories of the beneficiaries. While we didn’t want to diminish the tragic experiences of our refugees, we also didn’t want to tackle this piece of work in the same way.

We had to strike the right balance in the store, careful not to use too dark or devastating photography to tell the story of our refugees. We wanted it to feel meaningful yet light, clean, and minimalistic.
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