At Enterprise Nation, we're big fans of pop-ups as they enable start-ups to test the market, and introduce growing businesses to customers, new sales and instant feedback. This can all be achieved whilst raising profile and without breaking the bank.
I've seen pop-up tenants get stocked by major retailers, having been spotted in a pop-up, and collaborations form between co-tenants. If anyone attends StartUp Saturday and starts with the line 'I'm going to open a shop/restaurant/deli' my instant response is 'Please start with a pop-up!' before committing to long leases and business rates.
The pop-up scene in the UK is an active one with supporters PopUp Britain (which I launched when running StartUp Britain), Appear Here and WeArePopUp. Last week US pop-up platform, Storefront, was in town so may be joining the scene soon!
They each provide useful resources if you're considering popping up:
Recently introduced three top of the pop Guides on 'What is a pop-up', 'How to Find Space' and How to book a pop-up shop' - free to download and worth a read.
Another development is their curated collections; offering spaces whether you want a rooftop, venue, market or shopping centre space. It also highlights Appear Here's partnership with Transport for London that sees the company open retail units in tube stations with high footfall including Baker Street, Piccadilly and Old Street stations. Prices start at Â£500 per week.
'Pop ups give brands and businesses some much needed flexibility. They're a breath of fresh air on the street and a burst of energy in a community. They can appear anywhere, in all shapes and sizes, causing a storm as they do.' Appear Here
Based in the US with plans to expand across the globe, you can pop-up in New York, Los Angeles or San Francisco but if that's a little too far from home for now, at least download their 'Ultimate Guide to opening a pop-up shop' which comes complete with tips on everything from negotiating and signing a lease to designing the store environment, budgeting, staffing and marketing. The 'How To' section of the Storefront blog is also a useful resource.
'You may already run an e-commerce site; sell your wares through Shopify, Storenvy or Etsy; or manage"¨ a traditional brick-and-mortar retail store. Whichever retail methods you're currently immersed in, you can grow your business by connecting with new customers, engaging with your loyalists, selling overstock products, and targeting new markets -- all through opening a pop-up shop.' Storefront
Having opened a shop in Berlin, this company now offers access to test your products in the European market too.
Start off with their Introduction to pop-ups to understand the benefits and how the platform operates.
Now part of ATCM (Association of Town & City Management) PopUp Britain assisted hundreds of businesses to get on to the High Street. A national popup lease is available as a free download, courtesy of Dentons property lawyer, Nick Darby.
And finally, e-commerce provider, Shopify, has produced a 9 part 'How-to create a successful PopUp shop' video series, which covers everything from interior design to merchandising and signage. Watch all 9 clips to become a pop-up pro!
View from a tenant:
Alexandra van Berckel was a PopUp Britain tenant in King's road, Victoria and Piccadilly and has this to say about the experience:
"Being in Piccadilly was unique; where else can you get to speak with a buyer from Fortnum & Mason (who we're delighted to say loved our men's shoes) and meet DTZ, the corporate real estate and facilities management specialists, who suggested we were a great brand for Westfield - all on the same day? As a direct result from being in the PopUp Piccadilly store we are in discussions with a bespoke tailors and have been approached by a UK-wide menswear label looking to stock some of our new season's men's collection.
"For Pinucci, discovering our customers and being discovered by customers is always a delight. With British and international customers coming in the shop across the week we were able to gauge which models (and colours) will be most popular because of the instant customer reaction and feedback. It's very exciting for us that we have a growing waiting list with lots of pre-orders for our new spring/summer 2014 collection and we're delighted that our website is seeing a rise in unique visitors. We handed out more than 400 cards, lookbooks and postcards and it seems that people did then make the time to look us up."
The PopUp experience was such a positive one for Pinucci that they are now opening their own store and proving the point you can successfully move from PopUp to StayUp.
Emma Jones is founder of Enterprise Nation