I hosted the first 'Samantha Warren' pop up shop over a two week period at the end of 2018. I have taken part in group pop up shops for over five years now so it was about time I went solo. I loved it!
What is a pop-up shop and why do them?
A pop-up shop is a great way to test a bricks and mortar setting with your product for little cost and risk. It's great to have that customer interaction and to see your products in situ in a shop environment.
There are some companies who focus on pop up shop lets like Appear Here if you're looking for somewhere to start. I have rented quite a few spaces with Appear Here in the past. For this space, I was very lucky to discover West Brompton Crossing who offered a two-week contract, free of charge!
Choosing your pop-up location:
My advice would be to not go for the most obvious location like on a busy high street where you are competing with other established shops. My most successful pop-up shops have been in more residential areas where you can capture strolling customers, the parents picking up and collecting their kids and the lunchtime browsers.
I love seeing my product range visually merchandised in a shop environment. Consider the layout and don't overcrowd the space. This really helps to create a shoppable 'lifestyle' store.
Arranging products into collections helps to tell a story and makes each individual piece more appealing. If a customer likes one product, they are more likely to purchase a coordinating piece too if they are displayed together.
Window display: I had a new logo designed in 2018 which I love! Read more about it here.
I received a beautiful window vinyl by DX Signs in Thornton Heath, who I highly recommend. I called around so many window vinyl/display print shops in London, and DX Signs were so helpful and could deliver exactly what I was looking for with a really quick turn around.
Think about how you can use this space to stop people in their tracks. You only have a couple of seconds to grab attention so be creative. I would have liked to use a sandwich board on the pavement but I was quite limited as the pavement is quite narrow. I made sure I had all my information and website visible on my window so that it would work as an advertising space while the shop was closed. I kept my best selling products on the shelf closest to the window to draw people in and had a really clean and digestible display of my products on a tall shelf unit.
Helpful tips for your own pop-up shop:
Invite people and do your marketing in the lead up to your opening date. Send out invites to current and potential buyers, peers, friends and to the local businesses. Send out emails, social media posts and set up an events page on your Facebook profile and send out invites here too. Reach out to local groups on Twitter and join Facebook groups so that you can post about your event and contact event listing sites like the Londonist or Time Out.
Do a mock up if you can before setting up shop. I place display units and products together at home and get a feel for what works so that I'm not overwhelmed when I arrive in an empty shop space. It's also great to see if your display units work together as these can really make a difference to the shop if they don't look right.
Have a range of products on display. My products range from a few pounds to £70 and having those smaller, cheaper pieces for people to easily pick up is really handy. And they all add up.
Make sure you have good signal/wifi so you can take card payments in the shop. You can also do your emails, online orders etc while the shop is quiet. And speaking of it being quiet, don't panic. There will be times where it is very quiet. Use this time to work on other parts of your business or shake up your visual merchandising.
Be prepared with a tool kit. Stationery (scissors, tape, blu tac, pens etc), nails, hammer, extra lighting, your packaging, price labels, business cards, information post cards. Have a sign-up sheet as well so you can collect the email addresses of anyone interested in hearing more from you. And of course don't forget your portable payment system (I have an iZettle) a cash float and your cash book to make notes of all your sales.
Most importantly, enjoy the experience!
Please reach out if you're interested in hearing more about my pop up shop experiences or if you're thinking of doing one and would like some more tips, I'd be happy to help. Good luck!