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.

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Sales

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.

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

Learn

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.

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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.

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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.

Ready to launch your own pop-up with this advice? Check out hundreds of spaces available for your project on wearepopup.com.

Discover the brands at The Dandy Lab – a men’s lifestyle shop enhanced by technology

The 13th of August saw the launch of a new breed of concept store. Located at 73 Brushfield Street at Old Spitalfields Market, The Dandy Lab stocks exclusive British menswear designers and lifestyle brands including Alfie Douglas,  Smyth and Gibson and London Terrariums.

Immersing the discerning customer in the future of retail, the shop boasts interactive displays, a café with wireless charging points, smart mannequins and a virtual showroom, all the while celebrating British-made products and their craftsmanship.

We Are Pop Up has been working with The Dandy Lab to source some of the designers and creatives involved with this groundbreaking retail project. For those wanting to delve a bit deeper into the stories behind each maker, here are some insights into some of the brilliant brands that you can find in store.

Alfie Douglas

Original. Singular. Ingenious. Handmade.

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The Hadden family share a unique bond – not only running through their DNA, but sewn into their shared curiosity for innovation and passion for creating simple, beautiful products. Working meticulously to perfect every detail in the design process, they create functional and minimal unisex leather accessories, making each piece by hand in their London studio.

The Alfie Douglas range includes collections of totes, backpacks, duffle bags and other accessories in premium leather and metalwork which are sourced for their quality and durability. Each product is designed to be sustainable, reliable and individual; timeless in both its material and aesthetic.

Website / Facebook / Twitter / Instagram

Thomas Clipper

Expect more from your morning.

Catering to the man who cares about design, tradition and craftsmanship, Thomas Clipper brings together modern technology and the heritage of authentic shaving techniques to create mornings worth waking up for.

With exceptionally made products that look as good as they feel, the founders Tony and Matt bring together a simple, perfectly designed and individually handcrafted kit including an engraved single-blade razor, organic cotton flannel and a wooden bowl hand turned in timber from a British horse chestnut planted in 1710.

Already with two hugely successful Kickstarter campaigns under their belt, Thomas Clipper is sustainable, beautifully built to last and celebrates craftsmanship down to the square metre and name of the maker. Head to their website to find interviews and podcasts.

Website / Facebook / Twitter / Instagram

Sloane Stationery

Dream big. Make a plan. Write it down.

Sloane Stationery brings the traditional art of bookbinding into the 21st century with a twist. Classically trained craftsmen create the range in England , producing high quality notebooks infused with humour and wit. Luxury embossing is given a splash of fun with tongue-in-cheek comments and quotes – perfect for those who are “The Boss” or a “Busy Bee”.

Founder Nathalie Vaandrager says “I wanted to create a line of elegant objects for the desk that allows people to combine high quality products with their own personal style without the outrageous price tag.” With colours and snippets of wisdom to suit every style of the stationery savvy, Sloane is one to watch.

Website / Facebook / Twitter / Instagram

 

If you’d like to find and book more pop-up brands like these for your shop, take a look on wearepopup.com and find hundreds of creative projects looking for space.

Have a brand? Now travel. How 5 brands have been making waves abroad with We Are Pop Up

Previously, We Are Pop Up gave you 5 reasons to take your brand abroad. The data we gather from the We Are Pop Up platform shows us that more and more brands are turning to pop-ups in retail destinations across the globe to reach new audiences, test different cities and create a buzz abroad.

In need of some inspiration? Whether you fancy summer in NYC, Fashion Week in Paris or Christmas in Copenhagen, here are five projects from here, there and everywhere that have travelled across continents to create innovative projects with the help of We Are Pop Up.

Pearly Wong

Contemporary, ethical, unisex clothing brand from Kuala Lumpur Pearly Wong popped up in Berlin to showcase her latest collection. Within one month she was opening Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Berlin.

Malaysia

Moleskine

Legendary Italian notebook brand Moleskine wanted to test the waters of new retail locations around London with a pop-up at Boxpark Shoreditch.

Moleskine

Ganni

Danish fashion brand Ganni opened a six month store on Redchurch Street in Shoreditch to introduce their clean, stylish Scandinavian aesthetic to the UK and access a new customer base in London.

Ganni

Heritage Collection

With an established shop and gallery in Geneva, Swiss label Heritage Collection is expanding its horizons to London and beyond with a string of pop-ups. One of the trial locations includes Handmade Interiors in Little Venice.

Read our interview with owner Ozhun Beleli and find out more about how Heritage Collection is  ‘A/B testing’ in different regions before settling on a permanent store.

Heritage

Indifferent Leather Collections

With pop-ups in both London and Poland, Indifferent Leather Collections is bringing handcrafted accessories from India across the globe to audiences in new cities around Europe.

Poland

 

If you have a pop-up idea and want to travel to new cities with your brand, discover spaces from across the globe on wearepopup.com. With locations in New York, Milan, Copenhagen and Berlin, We Are Pop Up is bringing down barriers for retail opportunities – the world really is your oyster.

Top 10 tips for e-commerce and your pop-up – Alex O’Byrne, We Make Websites

We Make Websites co-founder Alex O’Byrne is an expert on e-commerce and speaks regularly on the topic of marketing and e-commerce for design-led retailers and organisations such as the London College of Fashion and Startup Weekend.

We Are Pop Up spoke to Alex about his top 10 things to think about across your website and your pop-up, from marketing to building your brand identity and making the most of feedback from your customers.

1. The analogy I like to use is a house party. No one is going to come to your party unless you build up an invite list and ‘market your party’ by creating awareness about it.

If your party does indeed rock and everybody has a great experience, they tell people about it. The same happens when you exceed expectations by offering a brilliant product combined with thoughtful customer service.

2. The most important things is to build an email mailing list by taking every opportunity to add emails to it.

This can start with friends and family, everyone off your LinkedIn, people you meet at events and parties, hell even your neighbours and ex-lovers.

3. 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.

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4. 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.

5. 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.

6. 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.

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7. 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!

Handy hint: We Are Pop Up spoke to Daniel Peters, Creative Director of BBS Clothing, about how to build your brand story in your pop-up.

8. 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 a 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.

9. 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.

10. Email mailing lists are gold.

Use yours when you need to generate interest such as during sale or when you have a new collection. Email re-marketing 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.

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!

juicytots_home

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.

Ready to launch your own pop-up with this advice? Check out hundreds of spaces available for your project on the website here.

Europe’s biggest vintage store invites new brands to pop up

Time Out London’s best vintage shop.
Featured in Vogue.com’s top 10 things to do in London.

Blitz London, on East London’s Hanbury Street just off Brick Lane, could not be further from the stereotype of a stuffy dealer selling dusty old second-hand clothes. Described by the New York Times “like a contemporary art exhibition”, the breathtaking 6,000 sq ft 19th century brick warehouse boasts 20,000 unique, genuinely hand-selected pieces with fresh deliveries every week, decadent chandeliers and five rooms over two floors. Ranging across mens and womenswear, clothes, shoes and accessories from the 60s to the 00s, Blitz is the savvy vintage-shopper’s retail dream.

The team behind this retro mecca decided to list not one, but three spaces in their store on We Are Pop Up as three separate ShopShare opportunities. Dedicated to providing a unique retail experience for their adventurous customers, Blitz is now looking for exciting new brands and designers to complement their tried and tested retail offer. With the options of renting a rail, concession or the coffee bar now available, We Are Pop Up spoke to Blitz about what they’re looking for in a brand collaboration.

What makes Blitz great for brands wanting to pop up?

Time Out voted us the ninth best store in London – out of anyone they can be assured to be aligned with a strong brand. Blitz generates large amounts of highly targeted footfall, so we recommend that brands research our customer profile to match with their own target customer.

Why have you chosen to host other brands in-store?

We feel that it is a great way to make our store more interesting and to have more people talking about the business.

What are you looking for in a brand that wants to collaborate?

We want them to be really excited to partner with us and it’s important to consider that Blitz, as an experience store, is always looking to present new, creative ideas.

Describe Blitz in three words.

Contemporary. Fresh. Democratic.

What can we expect from the collaborations?

Blitz is really excited at the potential to work together with London’s creative community. We feel that our brand loyalty, the feeling of goodwill from customers and excitement new people get when they walk into our store can help to infuse your brand with energy and give new labels a great opportunity.

For established brands who are looking to connect and reinforce their message with a targeted yet diverse customer, Blitz will be a perfect location. We occupy an incredible space, a 150 year old Brick warehouse off Brick Lane; we are mainstream but with an edge.

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Start your own dream collaboration with the spaces available in Blitz, or find your own ShopShare opportunities here.

 

Follow Blitz on Facebook / Twitter / Instagram

Top 10 inspiring pop-up shop design boards

In need of some visual inspiration for your next pop-up project? We Are Pop Up often heads to Pinterest to take a look at some of the amazing ideas that are out there. With these top 10 design boards, get your creative juices flowing and discover inspirational window displays, in-store designs and visual merchandising ideas.

Combined with the expert advice from Daniel Peters of BBS Clothing on how to create the ultimate in-store experience for your customers, you will be well on your way to blowing their minds.

 

Tomoko Ikeda’s – “Fixtures”

Follow Tomoko Ikeda’s board Fixture, Pop Up Shop on Pinterest.

Dawn Gonzales’ – “Visual Merchandising Inspiration”

Follow Dawn Gonzales’ board Visual Merchandising Inspiration on Pinterest.

Norma Morales Perez’s – “The Pop Up Life”

Follow Norma Morales Perez’s board The Pop Up Life on Pinterest.

Sara Orte’s “Pop Up Stores”

Follow Sara Orte’s board Pop Up Stores on Pinterest.

Alice Henderson’s “Shop Interiors”

Follow Alice Henderson’s board Shop Interiors on Pinterest.

Alston Wise’s “Pop Up Shop Design”

Follow Alston Wise’s board pop up shop on Pinterest.

Marisa Pinana’s “Retail”

Follow Marisa Piñana Rovira’s board Retail on Pinterest.

If Creative’s – “Retail Experiences”

Follow if creative’s board retail experiences on Pinterest.

Anna Wallis’s “Pop up stores”

Follow Anna Wallis’s board Pop up stores on Pinterest.

Anna de Leon’s “Booth Setup”

Follow Valerie Anne de Leon’s board Booth setup on Pinterest.

Where do you look for great interior and shop design inspiration?

 


How Percival in Soho created a Killer brand collaboration

Take a stroll down heritage-steeped Berwick Street and you’ll find everything that makes London’s Soho great. Independent vinyl shops, traditional London pubs, bespoke tailoring, textiles, and one of the capital’s oldest markets, all nestled in one of the most vibrant and diverse neighbourhoods our city has to offer.

Adding yet another jewel to the location’s crown, the street now also boasts a wealth of the hottest independent menswear labels currently on the market. Opening shop in 2012, one such disciple of Berwick’s buzz is Percival Clothing, a retail haven for the eccentric gent looking for something more than just the same-old trend-led consciousness. With a savvy hunch about the street’s retail inclination, the founders set up shop, studio and headquarters at number 43 before being joined by many others such as Nudie Jeans and Universal Works, catering to their media and film-based clientele working for companies around the corner.

Originally started in 2009 by designers and illustrators Chris Gove and Luke Stenzhorn along with accounts director Jacob Sorkin, Percival quickly enlisted the help of friend and freelance menswear designer Olivia Hegarty, becoming the stellar line-up that runs the show today. Speaking to Olivia, she tells us that from their Dalston-based design studio and wholesaling for clothing stores in the UK and Europe, they launched a string of pop-up shops testing different areas of London before deciding on the current Soho setup thanks to the area’s attributes.

Percival

Since the beginning, the label’s lifeblood has always been to focus on carefully considered designs, pride in local production, and premium quality workmanship. With her expert appreciation of textiles and an interest in the responsibility born by all designers to produce sustainably, Olivia tells us that when it came to selecting an accessories label to feature alongside their own designs, finding the right brand match was key.

That’s where Rubber Killer comes in.

Originally started in Chiang Mai, Thailand, by eco-friendly designer Joi Wong-Savun, Rubber Killer is all about slick totes and accessories made from up-cycled road tyres and inner tubes. The label was discovered by Charlie and Nicola while they were living out there and running their previous business.

Speaking to Charlie, product designer by day and serial entrepreneur by nature, he explains that the first bag caught his eye on a wander through the walking streets of Pai in northern Thailand. A bright yellow tote with a contrasting pitch black base made from this reclaimed rubber and a super soft ‘cotton suede’ jumped out at him, and after a serendipitous encounter with the owner Joi again months later at a market back in Chiang Mai, the rest, as they say, is history.

By giving a second life to a small proportion of the 290 million tyres being dumped into landfills every year, the hardwearing totes, messenger bags, pouches and notebooks hope to make a small dent in the serious environmental issues of fire hazards, air pollution and water contamination that come with these rubber graveyards. However not only are the products eco-friendly, they’re just plain beautiful. Classic, clean cut designs and a satisfying weightiness belying each bag’s durability mean that you can in fact be both stylish and eco-savvy.


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Needless to say, this devotion to quality and sustainability runs as a perfect parallel between the two brands. Speaking about Rubber Killer, Olivia explains that they were immediately drawn to the ethos behind the bags with their focus on upcycling, adding that “the quality of construction of the products is great and even though they are unisex, they sit well in a menswear store.” The importance of workmanship and textiles is also apparent in both labels – “we also like the play on materials, for example the different textures produced from the various examples of found rubber. This sits well against our clothing collections where texture and fabric choice is a big part of our design aesthetic.”

Just take a look at the yellow rain mac and canvas and rubber tote – they could have been made for each other. 

Likewise, when asked why Percival was the right choice for Rubber Killer, Charlie replies that not only the shop but the team behind it are fantastic – “if you read their biography it’s all about sustainability, so we’re on the same page. Olivia is amazing and her shop is perfect; why Percival? Why not Percival.” The positives that come with We Are Pop Up’s ShopShare become apparent too when he adds that as a brand that is new to the UK, Rubber Killer can get a slice of the action alongside this more developed menswear label. “We can piggyback on their brand identity, the persona, the lifestyle of Percival. They’re already established, already gorgeous, already out there.”

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These benefits work both ways. Not only does Rubber Killer access a whole new market that is perfect for their brand – for example they were featured strongly in the store’s latest mailer – but also Percival can enrich their customer experience by bringing something new and exciting to the table. Olivia tells us that the collaboration “enhances the clothing range itself by offering something alongside it that we feel is relevant and of interest to our shoppers.”

It was also something they were looking to do by approaching labels directly, but have had much more success through the listing on We Are Pop Up. Olivia adds that “the reach is greater than we would have had through our own research and direct contact with individual businesses.” For Charlie, ShopShare enables the brand to be autonomous, allowing him the freedom to launch several ShopShares at once, testing new areas around London without having to be present himself.

Olivia explains that at Percival they realised that they could use We Are Pop Up to find interesting independent accessories companies that might like to work with them in store, and after creating their listing they had a pile of responses within days. They are already working with three, (and possibly in future, four) businesses that found them through the site.

We Are Pop Up is acting as a hub for forming new collaborations by connecting brands and businesses directly, putting them in complete control and opening up a whole new world of entrepreneurial possibilities, all at the click of a button.

 

Are you a shop looking for exciting new brands to join you in store? Discover hundreds here.

A brand on the hunt for new collaborations and want to team up with an established boutique? Find the perfect match here.

 

You can find Rubber Killer in Percival until this Saturday 18th July, or check them out in T&SHOP, a tea and lifestyle concept store. Also coming soon to The Permanent Pop Up, a new multi-brand retail space in Soho.

The face behind the space – Greg Spielberg x Ludlow Studios

Ludlow Studios is a creative retail space in the heart of Manhattan’s Lower East Side. We’re a photo studio and art gallery, but international brands and downtown creatives keep coming to us for pop ups and art shows.

Next week we have Hood by Air popping up with what I’m sure will be typical, awesome craziness. Last week it was musician Courtney Barnett who played a sold-out show at Terminal 5. In her spare time, she popped up with an art show at Ludlow in collaboration with Sugarlift, a Brooklyn-based gallery and online platform.

What’s interesting is that artists and brands are creating collaborations to drive guests, clients and awareness.

The dominant retail trend is toward creative retail, collaborative promotion and the destruction of needing to be on high street to make an impact.

 

Ludlow Studios is available to book now for your next pop up project. To connect directly with Greg to discuss your concept, head to the Ludlow Studios listing here.