Thriving Amid Adversity: The Rise of London’s Duck World

April 2, 2024

In the heart of London’s bustling Liverpool Street Station, amidst the backdrop of struggling retail, stands a beacon of colourful optimism: Duck World. Dedicated solely to the sale of rubber ducks, this unconventional establishment has captured the attention of passersby, offering an array of aquatic companions in every size, pattern, and profession. As questions arise about the viability of retail in the city, Duck World presents a curious case study of unexpected success.

Behind the Quackery: A Venture into Rubber Duck Retail

At the helm of this aquatic empire are Filip Perkon and Irina Fedotova, former venture capitalists turned duck aficionados. Their journey began just over a year ago with the opening of Duck World’s flagship store in Charing Cross. Today, they reign as the UK’s foremost purveyors of rubber ducks, boasting nests in prominent locations such as Westfield White City and Liverpool Street, with plans for expansion including an upcoming popup in Victoria Station.

Unveiling the Customer Base: Who’s Buying?

Curious about the clientele flocking to Duck World, Perkon sheds light on its diverse customer base. While tourists make up a significant portion, families, duck collectors, and even last-minute gifters contribute to the eclectic mix. Tech enthusiasts, drawn to the concept of “rubber-ducking” in debugging code, find allure in these whimsical companions, while cruise-goers uphold a longstanding tradition of hiding rubber ducks aboard ships.

Navigating the Challenges of Retail

Acknowledging the harsh realities of the retail landscape, Perkon underscores the difficulties faced amid soaring rents, escalating costs, and squeezed consumer budgets. With competition for prime real estate fierce, only a handful of London streets remain profitable for retail ventures. Despite these challenges, Duck World distinguishes itself through experiential retail, leveraging quirky concepts and Instagrammable facades to engage customers and create memorable experiences.

A Tale of Resilience: Duck World’s Future

As retail analyst Jonathan De Mello casts doubts on Duck World’s long-term sustainability, a visit to Liverpool Street’s Duck Depot offers a glimmer of hope. Amidst the hustle and bustle of commuters, the store’s cheerful windows captivate passersby, drawing them in with the promise of whimsical delights. Despite the odds, Duck World stands as a testament to resilience, defying expectations and carving out a niche in London’s competitive retail landscape.

Conclusion: Embracing the Unconventional

In a world beset by uncertainty, Duck World embodies the spirit of resilience and innovation. While challenges abound, Perkon remains undeterred, driven by a steadfast belief in the power of whimsy and the allure of rubber ducks. As the journey continues, Duck World serves as a reminder that amidst adversity, there is always room for creativity, optimism, and a touch of quackery.