We caught up with our most recent pop up businesses and asked what advice would they give to someone doing their first pop up. In order to help those planning their next pop up adventure we have collaborated the advice we received to create our top 5 tips for a successful pop up based on their experiences.
1. Give yourself time to prepare.
It can be useful to check out the space you are using beforehand to give you more time to set up. Blair and Taylor from ethical clothing, plant and homeware business Rudan were able to access their pop up space at Lingo Flamingo prior to their pop up which helped them to get a feel for the layout and therefore plan ahead. They suggest that it is best to “leave more time than you think to set up as it always takes longer with all your little final touches.” As a result, you may seek to book an extra half day to set up as a way to assess if you need to adjust your levels of stocks or add some extra fillers.
Another way to prepare when you start running your own pop up is taking the opportunity to visit and support other pop up shops for inspiration. Caitlin and Adrian from Pots From Scots were able to check out other pop ups at Lingo Flamingo in Shawlands before they did their own, helping them to envision what they would turn the space into for their own pop up weekend. They said, “being able to see and have access to the space early on was really useful for planning the space as a pop up.”
It is also important to prepare for the transition you might be making from a primarily or exclusively online sales platform. It is important to consider all the aspects of selling in a physical space and ensure you are ready for these. Blair and Taylor from Rudan suggests that you “make sure that you have covered the physical shopping element too, perhaps you have been online and now the physical shop requires, bags, card machine, prices on everything etc.”
Arlene and Brendan from Eclectic Eclairs also added that ensuring practical requirements specific to their needs were all available at Handsome Jack’s for their recent couple of pop ups was important. They said, “Brendan took the time to set up Sum Up to allow contactless payment – this was less expensive and less painful than expected and worked a treat. Also making sure to check plug sockets and WiFi availability – we were fortunate in both at Handsome Jack’s.”
2. Make the space your own
Choosing a space that matches the aesthetic of your brand or can be adapted to suit this is an important consideration when selecting a pop up space.
On reflection Caitlin and Adrian from Pots from Scots commented: “Something we would change for next time is trying to find more filler for some bare spaces and making it feel more fully stocked”. Providing accessories or fillers and styling the space can really enhance the overall shopping experience and put your own personal stamp on a space. Many businesses that have done pop ups with us previously have reached out to other local businesses for extra stock and fillers to help fill the space.
Grant from menswear shop Orzel shared “I think it is important to treat the shop as if it were your own and style it as you would for the pop up. We took plants, rugs, tables and units with us – it was harder to do but worth it.”
While filling out the space is important, making sure to keep it simple and providing a balance between having a fully stocked space and not overpacking it is important. Both Eclectic Eclairs and Rudan mentioned keeping it as simple as possible when taking along stuff to their pop ups. Arlene and Brendan let us know – “We were almost over prepared and took everything we thought we could ever need, almost including the kitchen sink(!) for our first pop up. A little like camping – we are hoping to learn what is useful to take and what we can manage without in future. Less is more!”
Blair and Taylor from Rudan found that “Making sure you have appropriate transport for your shop props, we ended up taking 4 runs in the car! On that note too, depending on what you are doing, keep it simple.”
3. Appeal to the local community
We promote every pop up in the best way possible. This is done through our social media platform and appealing to the local community through Facebook groups. Reaching out to the local community is a great way to build a connection and for the locals to enjoy new pop up experiences.
Grant from Orzel commented “I was surprised at the amount of local people that came down to visit us after Pop up Spot shared the information in the local Facebook group”.
Contacting local businesses, introducing yourselves and asking for any tips from those who have established businesses in the area can help you pick up additional tips and tricks.
4. Get Good Photos
Grant from Orzel was able to hire a professional photographer for their pop up at Fearless Space to not only help promote his pop up weekend, but his business going forward. Ensuring that you share your content from your pop up in a visually appealing way with your online followers can really grab people’s attention and gain new customers. Orzel shared that “We got some of the best engagement ever on our photos of the shop and us in it on social media.”
5. Have fun!
Most importantly, have fun! Pop up shops are a great way to meet new people, connect with your existing, loyal customers and expand to new areas. After the past 15 months, it has been amazing to see the smiles on the local business owners as they have connected with their customers face-to-face. The turn out for every pop up so far has also greatly exceeded my expectations and a common theme from talking with everyone who has done their own pop up was to have fun and enjoy the experience.
Blair and Taylor from Rudan shared their words of encouragement for other small businesses to “Go showcase your stuff, the reward is great seeing lots of lovely people come through the door.”
Caitlin and Adrian from Pots From Scots enjoyed the whole experience of having their own space to get to know their customers and offer a more personal touch.“We found it really enjoyable to have our own space and meant that we could chat to customers easily and that they could spend as much time as they wanted which we haven’t necessarily experienced in markets.”
Arlene and Brendan from Eclectic Eclairs echoed the advice, saying “Remember it’s fun- your customers will find your enthusiasm infectious.”
Many thanks to all for such great feedback and sharing their experiences to help those planning their future pop ups!
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