The Dandy Lab, December 2014

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.

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