How Walala brought the house down with a Memphis-inspired collaboration at ARIA

This London Design Festival, Islington design destination ARIA hosted Walala In Da House, a takeover by Memphis-inspired illustrator and muralist Camille Walala. In a clash of colour and creative talent, Camille and others joined forces to fill the front window with a an eye-popping installation including prints, shelving, seating and ceramics.


Alongside items by the self-proclaimed purveyor of powerfully positive digital print, viewers could immerse themselves in the work of progressive design studio CoBALTUM, East London local artist Dale Kirk, set designer Julia Jomaa, artist Rosy Nicholas and Memphis-Milano furniture mavericks Hopper + Space.


We Are Pop Up spoke to Carl Blücher, Creative Director at ARIA and good friend of Camille, about the colourful collaboration and its unprecedented success at LDF 2015.

We’ve seen Camille’s work popping up all around the city, from Old Street’s “Dream Come True” building to We Built This City on Carnaby Street. It’s great to see her designs now being championed by ARIA – why was this the right time to bring a collaboration to the table?

It’s all about the timing, it just felt right. Camille was ready for a project and her colours and shapes were perfect for ARIA – we’ve always been about colours. I always wanted to work with Camille and 6 months ago when I had to start thinking about London Design Festival, I approached her and she kindly agreed.

The response was more than I could ever wish for, and when Elle Decoration featured us as the No.1 thing to do during LDF the pressure was really on!


The mixture of talent involved with Walala In Da House works so well in ARIA. What are the best things about creative collaborations with artists and designers in-store?

I like to pick emerging artists to help them to build their profile, and have a good contact list of journalists and influential creatives who always like and support our ideas which is encouraging. As a store we want to remain at the forefront of contemporary design, we want to excite our customers and collaborations like this allow us to do so.


We have always seen the need to collaborate with the next generation of creatives in order to remain at the forefront of contemporary design.

Our customers have started to expect this from us. That’s why we are always keen to spot the newest kids on the block. We’re also always willing to experiment and take risks by creating collections and collaborating with emerging artists, then waiting to see how they’re received.


The installation may be over, but you can still bring a little Memphis style into your life with the Walala In Da House range for ARIA here.

If you’ve been inspired by this collaboration, take a look at the ShopShare spaces available on We Are Pop Up to connect directly with creative brands and businesses and start your own project now.

Yelp and We Are Pop Up present a month of free eats and treats around London

With the days getting colder and the nights getting longer we all need a little pick me up at this time of year. Just in time, this October Yelp will be running #YelptoberFeast with a little something special from We Are Pop Up too. Yelp users who check in on the app at The Dandy Lab, T&Shop, Facebar London, Pact Coffee, Petit Miracles, Blend & Press and other selected places around London will receive a range of free eats, drinks and discounts – perfect for when the winter blues are starting to kick in.

Here’s how it works:

1. Go to that day’s location. Every three days there will be a new place being featured, so check back here for the schedule.

2. Check in to the space on Yelp, add a photo of you and your food and receive a freebie or special offer.

3. Enjoy.


We Are Pop Up got to chat with to Alex Shebar, Community Director for Yelp in London:

What was the thinking behind #YelptoberFeast?

We are doing a month of exploring London in some of the most delicious spots this city has to offer. Maybe you’ve never had bubble tea before? Or some seriously amazing roast chicken wings? How about the best takeaway sushi in the city? We’ve got you covered. That’s what we do at Yelp, try to help you rediscover London in the best way possible.

What’s been your favourite ever pop-up and why? 

That’s a tough question because there’s always some amazing ones popping up in this city. One of my favourites though is Fat Bear above the Rising Sun Pub. They make some of the best American southern cuisine here in London and I always have a great meal there. Check it out!

What are your top tips for We Are Pop Up readers on how to build an awesome community?

Here’s the best tip I can give: treat people like people and not as potential pound signs. Think about how you’d like to be treated by a business, or really, by anyone. If you talk to people, give great customer service. Show that you’re more than just a product but actually something that people like and want to talk about – then you’ll build great community.

Make sure you check back here for the schedule of foodie freebies – but it doesn’t end there. You can find more check-in surprises from We Are Pop Up at the following featured locations:



T&SHOP is a lifestyle concept store offering much more than just tea. Blending lifestyle pieces with fashion and reclaimed furniture, the shop is a haven for design-led products – some of you may have seen Emily at designjuction. For those of you dropping by for healthy delights and stylish wares, during Yelptober you’ll also receive a complimentary brew when you check in.

78 Green Lanes, London N16 9EJ

The Dandy Lab

The Dandy Lab

The Dandy Lab in Spitalfields is a men’s lifestyle shop enhanced by technology. They curate exciting new British-made products by the likes of Alfie Douglas and Sloane Stationery, telling stories like a real-life magazine with interactive mirrors and touch screens. They’ve already been featured by, Wired Magazine and Time Out so make sure you check in and get 10% discount off all products in-store.

73 Brushfield Street, London E1 6AA

Facebar London

Facebar London is the UK’s first professional makeup bar. Located in the heart of fashionable Shoreditch, Facebar London offers the services of fashion industry makeup artists at very affordable prices.

Facebar’s artists are highly experienced industry professionals, who work on International Fashion Week shows, high-fashion magazine editorials, beauty advertising campaigns and with various celebrities. Book your professional makeup session in Yelptober and receive 20% off.

67 Redchurch St, London E2 7DJ

Petit Miracles

Petit Miracles

Petit Miracle Hub is a retail and learning space designed to provide a place for local people to build their entrepreneurial skills and grow their business. A shopping experience where you can meet the creators, find treasures and try out experiences including workshops and talks, this October you can check in and get 20% discount on all selected items, as well as a free cup of London Tea.

West12 Shopping Centre, Shepherds Bush Green, London W12 8PP

Pact Coffee

Pact Coffee

For their first physical store, online coffee connoisseurs Pact have popped up in Spitalfields from 28th September to 11th October. For all the caffeine-lovers out there be sure check in and get a 250g bag of Pact Coffee, a V60 drip filter and papers, a Pact mug and a brew guide magnet for £5, all in a Pact tote bag.

45 Brushfield Street, Spitalfield Market, London EC1 6AA

Blend & Press

Blend & Press

One of London’s pioneering cold pressed juice and smoothie companies, Blend & Press was set up by Emma Wood in 2013, now calling Neal’s Yard in Covent Garden their home. Each recipe combines only the most nutritious organic fruits and vegetables with superfoods, herbs and supplements, so check in and get 10% off the Blend & Press juice or smoothie of your choice, including juice cleanses booked in store.

16A Neal’s Yard, Covent Garden, London WC2H 9DP

We Are Pop Up x NOLCHA’s New York Fashion Week Afterparty


Last week we celebrated New York Fashion Week with our friends at NOLCHA Shows, Open Source Fashion, Citi, InList, A Small World and Imagination in Space. We took over Paramount Hotel’s Queen of the Night, toasted to independent fashion designers and a new season of New York City styles. Check out pictures below and stay with us for more news from New York City later this month.

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10 steps to launch your pop-up

Launching a pop up is an excellent way to test your business concept, build awareness of your brand and meet your audience. Hundreds of brands that have been powered by We Are Pop Up started out over a few days and have now grown to become established, successful companies. We Are Pop Up has put together the top 10 steps to launching your pop up to break down the process into an easy checklist for starting your own creative space.

Pick a space

Choose your space wisely, as the location is very important. It should not only suit your budget, but also your brand and design identity. Find out how far it is from the nearest station. You want plenty of foot traffic, but make sure it’s the right demographic for your products and price point. Check out the surrounding area, including the neighbouring retailers and the passers-by. Do they match your audience and style?


Think about finances

Your budget and the amount of stock you have will be defining factors for how large your pop-up will be, its location and its duration. Start with your budget and work backwards. Crowdfunding is an excellent way to top up your budget, and sites like Kickstarter and Crowdfunder are two of our favourites at We Are Pop Up. They can help get financial backing for your project, while also building a community that will be passionate about your concept from the start. 

Check out this great manual by our friends at Kollektiv Gallery for hints and tips about starting your own alternative creative laboratory, gallery, school or studio via crowdfunding.

Promote your pop-up

You need to start promoting early to create a buzz around your project – at least 3 weeks in advance is ideal. Use a combination of social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, and contact any relevant magazines, bloggers and local press to tell them about your concept and launch date. Drop us a line at We Are Pop Up too so we can put the word out about you on our channels.



If your pop-up is a ticketed event, use a company like Billetto or Eventbrite to deal with your ticketing. They take away the admin headache and its also a great way to increase the visibility of your pop-up on a platform with an established audience.

Design a store that works

Think about colour, layout, theme and your visual identity in order to stay true to your brand. Where you place a product in the shop and how it is displayed can have a significant impact. Why not reuse old furniture within your visual merchandising, or find cheap items on sites like eBay. Check out Pinterest for inspiration – try these top 10 moodboards to get started.

Did you know that 64% of all products are sold from eye level within a shop? Take a look at We Are Pop Up’s top tips for visual merchandising and building your brand story.

Test, listen and iterate

Try out different products in your shop – pay attention to how customers interact with your items to find out which are the strongest performers on your shop floor as well as what’s not working. From this you can decide what to highlight and what to rotate, to help refine future choices.

It’s also important to speak to your customers. Not only can you gather valuable information and feedback about your products, but you can also learn a lot about your consumer base itself in terms of their experience and expectations. Think about providing signage which sends customers directly to your website – if they like what they see, they’ll want to know more.


Considering how you could join with other designer-makers to enhance the overall experience of your pop-up. We Are Pop Up’s ShopShare provides a way to quickly and easily create concession stands, or even create your own micro-department store. Ultimately it allows you to pool resources and extend your reach by accessing the extended community behind each brand.

Set up a workshop

Consider creating an in-house workshop or studio involving your designs – from our experience, having this engaging, interactive element in the window of your pop-up can increase sales in the shop by 800%! It enables you to demonstrate your unique selling point directly to your audience, tell your brand story, or showcase your craft in real life.


Follow up

Don’t forget, it’s not all over when the pop-up closes. The fortune is often in the follow-up. Collect customers’ contact details in-store and communicate with them regularly beyond the life of your shop. Can you give them a discount flyer to encourage them to repeat buy on your website or come to another event? Keep them up to date with your news, and invite them to the next pop-up.

Evaluate and learn

The beauty of a pop-up is that it is an opportunity to experiment, test and learn. Be bold, and take risks. Then afterwards, focus on what went well and what didn’t – learn from any mistakes, then you’ll be ready for the next one. Finally, get back in contact with We Are Pop Up and we will be on hand to take you to the next stage.

Pop up now

What’s on: Shoreditch Design Triangle

One of the world’s most important annual design events is back. London Design Festival will once again grace us with its 400-strong programme of exhibitions and events between the 19th and 27th of September.

Following on from We Are Pop Up’s top five fashion happenings for LFW, here are some must-see destinations of the Shoreditch Design Triangle, one of the most coherent street-by-street events at this year’s LDF. Prepare yourself for a busy weekend.



Japanese brand Tokyobike are hosting two exhibitions at their Shoreditch store. ‘Elements’ is a collection of objects for the home made in collaboration with UK based craftsmen. ‘Timeline from 1815 to 2015’ will incorporate chairs, interiors and bicycles in paper models. Find more information.

As part of designjunction they will also be hosting a series of guided bike tours across London, starting and finishing at Victoria House. Buy tickets now.

Another Country


Another Country open ‘The Apartment’; a space to showcase their collection of furniture and accessories. The apartment will be styled by world-renowned designer Suzy Hoodless which tells the story of Another County’s values and ethos; a peaceful space where traditional slow values mix with British design in this domestic environment. Find out more.

Like the shop? See if your brand could be the perfect match in-store and make an enquiry now.

Donna Wilson


Internationally acclaimed textile and product designer Donna Wilson will open a week long installation and pop-up shop at Studio 1.1 Gallery for London Design Festival this year.

Select products from Donna Wilson’s new autumn/winter collections will be available, along with classic pieces from Donna’s signature range. Read more about the capybara beanbags and knitted hills here.

Kit and Ace


Each Kit and Ace store is uniquely local in its design and each shop experience is tailored to its environment. On September 22nd, Kit and Ace invite you in for a private tour of their shop on Redchurch Street with their local artists on hand to describe the pieces they have designed specifically for the Kit and Ace store. Get the details.

One Good Deed Today


Matter is a new research studio and consultancy founded to explore the relationship between materials, ideas and processes. Launching at One Good Deed Today, during the London Design Festival, Matter presents a series of talks, workshops and events. Visit the websites for a full programme listing and get more info here.

If you’d like to pop up in the awesome space that is One Good Deed Today, check out their listing now for ShopShare, full shop takeover or cool courtyard.

What’s on: London Fashion Week SS16

With London Fashion Week peeping over the horizon and fluttering the hearts of fashionistas everywhere, We Are Pop Up has put together five top sartorial happenings in the capital. Whether you’ll be there to browse, buy, watch or learn, get your diaries ready and take a look below.

Katie Jones

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Katie Jones is a luxury knitwear label that takes a ‘waste not’ approach to design by making use of designer surplus materials. Consciously crafting all the pieces in London, Jones focuses on modern design, artisanal craftsmanship and bold detailing.

The designer will be launching an exhibition showroom for London Fashion Week alongside artist Spencer Walton and fellow designers Finchittida and Jodie Ruffle.

For information and an invite email

Jac+ Jack


Australian label Jac+ Jack recently opened their first outlet in Europe at 33 Great Windmill Street in the Ham Yard Hotel, Soho.  Known for luxury cashmere along with silk and cotton basics such as shirts and tees, the brand is currently gearing up for London Fashion Week and will be showcasing their range from a temporary unit adjacent to their permanent store.

Find it at: 33 Great Windmill Street, London W1D7LR

London Fashion Week on Carnaby Street

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A stone’s throw away from London Fashion Week’s location in Brewer Street Car Park, Carnaby Street will be filled with all manner of fashionista feet. An outdoor screen will show catwalks including Peter Pilotto and Gareth Pugh, while several stores will be running promotions. Check out AQ/AQ for 20% off,  The Great Frog jewellers for an exhibition showcase and Cheap Monday for a free gift with every purchase.

Find it at: Carnaby Street, London W1F 9PB

OTHER shop / Finery

Long-time friends OTHER/shop and Finery have partnered up to create a beautiful meeting of minds focused on clean lines and sophisticated tailoring. An edited collection of Finery’s A/W line is available to buy in OTHER/shop’s Kingly Street store in London, featuring 32 items of clothes, shoes and accessories – find them in-store now.

Find it at: 21 Kingly St, London W1B 5QA

Digital Disturbances


From 11th September to 12th December, London College of Fashion’s Fashion Space Gallery will host an exhibition exploring the influence of digital concepts and tools on fashion. From the technology in production and distribution of clothes to the way they are discussed online, the show provides a lens onto the often strange effects that emerge from interactions across material and virtual platforms.

Find it at: 20 John Princes St, London W1G 0BJ


The face behind the space: Kaylie Hill x The Permanent Pop Up

Based on her own experience as a creator of bespoke footwear and that of fellow fashion creatives, Kaylie Hill discovered that there was a need for affordable exposure in prime locations for emerging designers. Fuelled by a passion for supporting undiscovered talent, Kaylie decided to create The Permanent Pop Up, located in Smith’s Court in Soho, to support new labels and help them grow.

Since it opened at the beginning of July, The Permanent Pop Up has hosted over 35 brands through We Are Pop Up’s ShopShare. From upcycled bags and vintage dresses to couture shoes and handcrafted jewellery, each new label has come together under one roof to benefit from the creative community housed by this new breed of concept store.

We Are Pop Up spoke to Kaylie about the shop and what it takes to create your very own multi-brand fashion destination with the help of ShopShare, a Soho space, and just a pinch of hard work.

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BBco backpacks, an accessories label based between London and Bombay.

Why did you decide to create a shop that would showcase multiple brands, rather than focus on a single label?

There comes a point where you’re ready to hit the market with your product, but many emerging designers have no idea where or how to do it. I created The Permanent Pop Up to be a consistent place where these creatives can easily come to for exposure, as well as having the opportunity to retail their products.

A multi-brand store has many benefits – one being that each label in the shop actively promotes the other labels whenever it promotes the shop. It’s provides a community of talent which is always stronger than one on its own.

How would you describe The Permanent Pop Up in three words?

Eclectic. Innovative. Necessary.

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4649 Worldwide, an independent streetwear brand from London.

How do you decide which brands to feature in the store?

We’re looking for brands that ooze quality. That’s our main criteria. Due to the location of the shop we’re fortunate to be able to house a diverse range of styles, and we mainly select designers who present themselves with the passion to grow their label.

How did you approach the design of a store that showcases so many different brands? 

The idea was to create a blank canvas on which all the different brands could stand out. This meant keeping a very neutral colour scheme in the shop with only a few statement pieces like our boutique checkered floor and our bright orange till desk. This made it easy to then place brands within the store and create an enjoyable experience for shoppers.

Have there been any challenges along the way? How did you handle them?

I would have to say choosing the location of the shop. We knew it was imperative to have somewhere that could host a wide range of designers to suit our concept, and this meant finding a location that could comfortably offer a wide range of prices and styles.

We also wanted to provide a location that was known internationally for designers to put as a stockist on their own website to give them instant credibility. Soho, being as diversified as ever, offered exactly that.

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Lydie Lendé, a boutique crop top brand from Paris.

What do you wish you had known before you created The Permanent Pop Up?

I wish I’d known the true amount of time and different areas of expertise it takes to really set something like this up. It doesn’t happen overnight, even though it may appear so to those looking in from the outside. It’s a constant journey that never sleeps (even when you want to!) and my advice would be to plan thoroughly and listen to advice from those who have done similar things.

How did you come across We Are Pop Up?

I found We Are Pop Up when I was browsing for space a while back. I thought it was a fantastic platform that brings designers to shops, and shops to designers. It has enabled me to build my exposure as a new shop and put me in contact with so many designers. The ShopShare concept is proving to be very popular and beneficial for both shop owners and designers, and I can see much more of this in the future of retail.

Are you a new designer looking to showcase your products in a central London destination for fashion? Find The Permanent Pop Up listing on and start chatting to Kaylie now. 

Pop up now

How do I measure the success of my pop-up?

When it comes to launching a pop-up for your small business, what’s the difference between a roaring success and a full-on flop?

The answer is: there’s no right answer.

How you measure success is 100% tailored to your individual project and depends on what you want to achieve. We Are Pop Up has put together these top tips on how to evaluate your pop-up and make the most of the experience for showcasing your independent brand.

Set out your aims

Right from the start your pop-up should have clear goals – these are often different for each project. Whether you are popping up in order to make as many sales as possible, to reach a certain number of Facebook followers or create a media storm in the local and national press, starting out with concrete aims allows you to judge whether each has been achieved at the end of your pop-up. Don’t panic if you don’t achieve everything you set out to in your original plan. Take the results into account and revise your intentions and methods for next time, building on what you have learned.

Budget and profit

You may decide to set targets around revenue from sales. To measure success against spending, track all the set-up costs of the project to see where you spent your money. Include the cost of your stock, the shop fit (furniture, fixtures, fittings), press and marketing (printing and distributing flyers, business cards), signage (vinyls, A-board), website, advertising, business rates, utility bills, insurance, wifi, refreshments and so on.

Now compare the costs with the income generated by your pop-up. That includes revenue from sales and any ticketed events, plus any funding from other businesses, public donations, sponsorship or perhaps grants from local authorities.

Even if your revenue isn’t greater than your expenditure, making a loss doesn’t necessarily count as a failure if a cash profit was not the aim of your pop-up. If your goal was to create a buzz, test a new business concept or access new audiences then profit will be a useful marker, but not necessarily the deciding factor for your pop-up’s success.



If you are setting out to make the maximum possible sales for your products, make sure you test, listen and iterate on your tactics to find out what works and what doesn’t. Try out different products in your shop and take note of how people interact with them. Which items are the strongest performers and which aren’t working? Use this information to inform your choices on selecting, rotating and shelving stock for this pop-up and in the future.

If you have an online shop alongside your pop-up, be sure to measure any uplift in sales online too. We Are Pop Up has seen brands enjoying an uplift in their online sales throughout their pop-up of 12-25% on average, which sustain and grow beyond the end of the pop-up.

Customer experience

Engage with your audience by speaking to customers before, during and after your pop-up. How did they hear about you? What do they think of your brand, pop-up, product range? Gather feedback, find out more about your audience and learn if their expectations have been met. Think about how you can maximise interaction with customers beyond the life of your pop-up by collecting email addresses in-store and sending follow-up mailers, offers and updates about what you are up to and what’s coming next.

Social media

Use qualitative data from your social media pages to measure your numbers, including likes on Facebook and Instagram, followers on Twitter and visitors to your website. How do these figures correlate with the activity and duration of your pop-up? Work out which social media posts resulted in the most engagement using analytics tools on each of your social media channels and be sure to use these techniques in the future.


Top tip: find out how to make the most of Twitter here, and read advice on e-commerce and your pop-up here.


One of the most important aspects about launching a pop-up is that it enables you to trial a new concept and grow your business in a low-risk and often low-cost way. It is an opportunity to experiment, so be bold and take chances. If you make mistakes, focus on what went wrong and turn it into a positive by learning how you can improve on the project next time.

Entrepreneurs and small businesses understand that failure is an important part of the creative process, so use the experience to make your next pop-up even better. And if your pop-up is a roaring success the first time you’ll more than ready to take on the next project, so get back in contact with We Are Pop Up and we will be on hand to take you to the next stage.

Strong and still growing – pop-up retail sector adds billions to the UK economy

The pop-up retail sector now generates £2.3 billion for the UK economy, according to Britain’s Pop-Up Retail Economy 2015, the second annual report from the Centre for Economics and Business Research (Cebr) and EE. Pop-ups now account for 0.76% of total retail turnover in the UK, up from 0.6 % the year before – an increase of more than £200m in sales.

The sector is growing fast, with total turnover increasing by 12.3% compared to 8.4% in the last year. This is caused by a rise in the number of visitors with 44% having visited a pop-up in the last 12 months, and an £8 increase in the average annual spend to approximately £124 per person.

Around 26,200 people across the UK are employed by some 10,500 pop-up shops, with numerous successful ventures going on to become established retailers. In turn this is supporting the growing number of small retail businesses which has increased by 3.2% between 2013 and 2014.

8% of retailers and food and accommodation service providers report having launched a pop-up to complement their permanent location, while 10% plan to open one in the next five years.

The growth of the sector is also acting as a strong catalyst for the regeneration of flagging high streets – 49% of people surveyed believe that pop-ups were a good way to revive the high street.

“Pop-up retail is just getting started. This is the beginning of a trend that will reshape how we use property in cities around the world. 20% of shopping centres will be let on short-term contracts. Most restaurants will start as pop-ups. We’ll see huge cross-border movement with brands entering new markets at extremely low costs.

The biggest winners are consumers – which is basically everyone in the world.”

– Nicholas Russell, CEO, We Are Pop Up

The pop-up retail sector continues to evolve from strength to strength, at growth rates far higher than those of traditional retail outlets. The industry is helping numerous businesses develop into established companies – with permanent shops, online platforms or even further pop-ups. Blurring the line between traditional bricks and mortar and a new generation of creative retail, pop-ups are bringing new ideas to life every day, giving an inclination towards the temporary a much more permanent role in the retail landscape.

Read the report here.


Ask the experts – how do I integrate e-commerce with my pop-up (and vice versa?)

Hundreds of businesses are using pop-ups as a way of building their brand in a physical space having already established a successful online presence. Likewise, many creative projects start with a pop-up, testing the market for their product before creating an e-commerce site that reflects their brand identity.

We Are Pop Up spoke to Alex O’Byrne, Shopify expert and Director of We Make Websites, to get the lowdown on everything you need to know about creating a coherent brand presence across your website and pop-up. If you’re making the move from online-to-offline, or even vice versa, here you can learn how to achieve success both online and in the real world.

What can you learn when making the transition from online store to pop-up? (or indeed vice versa?)

In a pop-up environment you can actually talk to your customers and gather their praise, feedback and suggestions.

This will help you figure out what exactly it is that people like about your products which is essential information – this is what you build the brand around. You’ll typically find that this isn’t as you first expected, so this set is essential. It’s hard to do online, which is why it’s worth trying to sell what your product directly to someone by doing a pop-up.

Once you know what it is that people value about your product, you can improve your website photography and copy to convey this message better.

We can do a lot to make a website convert well but if the product offering is no good it’s not going to make a difference.

Going the other way, from online store to pop-up, you should use your online channels to make sure your audience knows about your pop-up well in advance and also whilst it’s on. This is a brilliant opportunity to meet your online following in person and find out who your customers are.

Use sales data from your online store to work out what your most popular items are and make sure these are stocked in your pop-up. Similarly, think about what people tend to buy together so you can recommend this when they are in your pop-up.

Which is better – Big Bang launch or soft launch?

Cop out answer – both have their uses. Use the soft launch to test out the website and ask family, friends and advisors to try it out. Ask 5 people to use it and you’ll gather most of the feedback you need.

Then once everything is running smoothly, go for the big bang. The biggest bang is usually from a coordinated PR campaign, our client Negative Underwear received 100 orders on their first day due to the press coverage they were able to arrange for their launch. You don’t want this happening on the actual day your site goes live, when no doubt there’ll be teething issues and feedback you want to action, so ensure there’s ample time to fix issues between the soft and hard launch.

With that said, you need to build a growth machine that consistently generates more interest and customers so either way it’s a long game. Building a business that is inherently ‘viral’ is powerful because customers will recommend you to others and this is the easiest way to grow. Outstanding customer service and product quality is the first step towards this.

How can I make sure my pop-up and my website both reflect my brand identity in a coherent way?

Your branding should be consistent and uniquely you, everywhere.

Branding should be consistent at every point of the way – whether that’s your email campaigns, your website branding, how people dress in your shop, the merchandising in your shop, your order update notifications, your email addresses, where your shop is, your business card design, your social profiles, the style of your photography, your copy tone of voice etc…. I’m fond of the saying ‘the only business is the marketing business’, this I take to mean that firstly, everything you do that a customer sees is part of the marketing of your brand and secondly, without a solid marketing strategy and execution there is no business.

The pop-up should not jar with the website or vice versa. So ensure typography, colours and other brand elements are consistent between the two.


How do I make sure my products come across well both in the shop and online?

Photography is key online. ‘Lifestyle’ photography where you show your product in use is useful to see and can be inspirational to the customer. This is where the concept of a fashion lookbook comes from. Product photography is important for showing product detail. The product page is where people make the final decision to buy so this needs to provide as much information as possible.

In store, have a think about how you can merchandise your items to be more appealing. How can you be innovative so that products are shown to their full potential?

We’re working with Mo:vel who just opened a store in Brighton and were able to do some interesting things with their store design such as making sure that every size of trainer is available from the shelf, without the need for someone to go off into the storeroom and take ages checking and finding the right sizes. Innovative young brands are naturals at this type of fresh thinking, so make the most of it!

How do I make my products stand out and create my brand story?

The first question is to find out what makes you unique. This could be a story, a particular audience you have, the way something is made, where it is made, who makes it, a lifestyle that goes with the product, a particular set of advocates you have, the materials you use, the design quality or what you stand for.

I’d try and answer the following to build your pitch, these were passed on to me by my friend Annik, who runs the public speaking club Pony Express:

  • What problem are you solving?
  • Why you and not someone else?
  • How do you do it?
  • How will their life be better?
  • Call to action

An edited version of this can be used for your elevator pitch, homepage copy and twitter profile. Again, these should all be consistent so we aren’t confused about what you do.

The brand story should be honest, interesting and refreshing. Some that comes to mind are Hiut Denim, who brought back jean manufacture to a small town in Wales, NastyGal who are now massive but started off with are fresh attitude selling vintage clothes that appealed to young smart women, and Warby Parker, who have made designer glasses more affordable and have a socially conscious vibe built in to their brand.

The most common mistake I see is not making the brand story niche enough, or potent enough. My theory is the stronger the niche, the more people you put off but the more people know they’ve found the right company when they find you. For example Nastygal appeals to a particular type of savvy, stylish young woman, and will be of no interest to most other demographics. This makes them magnetic to that audience. Who is your audience? And how do you become magnetic to them? Answering this is very helpful when it comes to marketing strategy as it will help determine where to market your brand and what content to use.

What can I learn from my site about my customers that might be useful for my pop-up? And is there anything I should track on my site during or after the pop-up?

In Google Analytics you can see the location of your customers, it might be interesting to see how many are in your local area. In Shopify and most other ecommerce platforms you can download your customer list – you could then also segment based on which are local and offer them some sort of treat for dropping in.

Another use for analytics would be to see which products are your bestsellers – make sure you have these available in your pop-up!

Tracking customers between online and offline is notoriously difficult but one thing you could do is ask how customers found out about you during your checkout process and make this a mandatory field. I know it’s not great to add another field but this information is invaluable so we can make an exception. To grow, put more time and money into wherever customers are finding you.


How do I generate repeat business on my website and beyond my pop-up?

The easiest thing to do is get the first order right, this means delivering the goods as expected and on time.

Improve on this with some innovative packing, or by including free samples or a discount code for the customer’s next order. Handwriting thank you notes can be a nice touch in the early days when you don’t have huge order volumes.

Email mailing lists are gold – use yours when you need to generate interest such as during sale or when you have a new collection.

Consider segmenting your list, for example by finding your 100 most loyal customers and emailing them a special discount code to say thank you.

To get more advanced, email remarketing is getting cheaper and easier to implement every year and has huge conversion rates. We’ve been looking at Emma and Soundest recently, both integrate tightly with Shopify and allow you to send targeted emails to your customers, sometimes automatically.

Any other top tips for our pop-up community?

Use Shopify’s digital Point of Sale (POS) to allow you to gather an email address with each order. It’s only a partial POS in the UK though so you’ll still need a PDQ machine to take card payments.

If you don’t want to do that – take a clipboard and ask customers and interested passers by for an email address. As I keep saying, email lists are gold in ecommerce. The customer Lifetime Value (LTV) of an email address can be huge.

Related to that, I’m a fan of adding a mailing list pop-up or drop down window to gather emails on a daily basis from your website traffic.

For improving your website, I’d also say that you should watch five people using it and gather their feedback.

Speaking generally – don’t give up, perseverance is important when you run a business because you’re going to face ups and downs.

With companies like We Are Pop Up and Shopify helping startups and growing retailers, there’s never been a better time to start and grow a retail business so let’s get to it!

We Make Websites build beautiful and effective online stores for creative retail companies. You can view recent case studies here. Follow them on Twitter for daily e-commerce advice.

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