Over seven years the one-off urban beach overlooking the Thames in Fulham has become a favourite with locals, tourists and businesses for its themed events, celebrations and get-togethers.
With a spacious, industrial chic setting, its versatility is well suited to the free-flowing socialising and Instagram moments today’s customers prefer.
Once a car auction lot, the 16,000 sq ft site has proved to have all the potential founders Rachel and Grace Hutson imagined when the mother-and-daughter duo searched for a place that could take guests “on a journey to a secret bit of paradise away from the hectic streets”.
Today Neverland hosts 50,000 customers a year and employs 40, with a £2million annual turnover and plans to raise £1.5m of growth investment.
As for so many, a pop-up was the launchpad for Rachel and Grace, who hatched plans for a temporary urban beach club while running a pancake stall.
Their combined expertise covers financial services, property and hospitality and in 2020 son and brother George joined to run the IT side.
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“Start-up was a complex process, getting permissions and then shifting 80 tonnes of sand,” recalls Rachel.
“When at times we were refused we went for a bring-your-own-bottle experience instead. Now that has turned into an incredible legacy,” adds Grace.
The venue’s 500 capacity can accommodate 300 outside. “After lockdown people seem much happier with socialising outdoors. Our hybrid hospitality format works well with that,” observes Rachel.
Along with sell-out occasions such as Barbie and Ibiza parties, Neverland also hosts corporate events, generating £1.5m, for the likes of L’Oréal and Amazon.
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Now the venue has secured its spot internationally after the sharing on social media of Little Kyoto, its spring re-imagining with the Japanese cherry blossom twist, which has attracted visitors from across the globe.
Neverland is also very much a place for women, with females making up 60 percent of guests and 85 percent of those making bookings.
“We have always been regarded as a safe environment, a factor ever more relevant today,” says Rachel, who is now looking for an angel investor with hospitality expertise so they can take their concept to the south coast.
And if there’s an artisan able to create eye-catching accessories this winter, like a ceramic, snow-boot shaped drinks bucket, contact the team.
Neverland London’s winter programme opens on October 26, and spring’s Little Kyoto on March 1, 2024.
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