I’ve booked a space for my pop up and I’m starting to think about launching, but I don’t know how I should staff the shop. What’s your advice for hiring a team and what are the main things I should be thinking about?
Trying to choose how or who to hire can seem like a difficult task – especially if this is your first experience of taking over a physical retail space. We turned to the experts and asked Karli Dendy, Captain of the Brighton Etsy Team and Co-founder of Designosaur, Carina Filek, Director of Elevate Staffing, and Angela Millar, Retail Managing Consultant at Four Seasons Recruitment, for their insider tips on how to staff your pop up.
First things first, Karli suggests the following handy checklist to get the ball rolling:
How many keys do you have?
Will you alternate who opens and closes the shop?
How will you hand over the keys?
How busy will your shop be?
How big is your shop?
If your shop has multiple floors you are going to need one member of staff per floor (at least!)
Will you need one, two or maybe more people manning your shop at one time?
Weekends will be busier, you may need more staff.
Are there any local events which will increase or reduce your footfall?
Will you give lunch breaks or will you have shifts that are shorter?
Who will cover the lunch break?
Don’t forget your staff can’t come when the customers arrive and leave when the doors close, so plan preparation and cleaning times before and after opening times.
Angela adds that “your level of involvement day to day with your pop up will define what level of candidates you require.” Think about hiring a manager if you aren’t going to be in the shop every day and consider what level or interactive experience you want to create for your customer. “The level of service you would like to deliver will have an impact on how many people you hire.”
You also need to consider the size of the space. As Carina explains: “Don’t overfill small spaces with too many staff. It would be better to have less staff covering multiple points rather than overcrowding an area. Similarly, don’t skimp on staffing!” Make sure the team has enough support between them to encourage engagement with customers.
When the Brighton Etsy Team popped up over the Christmas period last year, their shop was made up of a collective of 25 designer makers – “some already had full time jobs, and could only work weekends, others were mums who could work in the daytime but needed to leave to make the school run. Some people would prefer to come in once for a long shift, whereas others would find it easier to come in for a few short shifts.” Don’t worry – it is possible to plan around complicated schedules like this! Karli recommends using a scheduling site like Doodle which does all the hard work for you.
Whether you design and make your own pieces or curate others within your store, you are essentially the embodiment of your brand. To make sure that your staff represent it as well as you do, make sure you have a serious training session before the launch. Show your products to the team and get them to read up on the brand story on your website.
Karli recommends that “if you don’t have an online resource, get each maker [or brand] to create an article about themselves and their products to include in a big “fact file” which can be left in the shop to help with swatting up.” Carina adds that “face to face, hands-on and brand immersion training really is invaluable and provides strong results. This allows staff to provide a brand advocacy that a digital briefing document can’t deliver by itself.”
Think about your target audience. Angela tells us that “your team should be brand relevant and relatable to your customer.” Carina also emphasises that “having staff that share the brand and concept passions will allow for a more organic engagement, resulting in memorable consumer moments.”
The strength of your brand identity is also important. If there is an interesting story behind the concept, your team are more likely to be able to convey it to customers. Angela adds that “the more passionate they are about your brand the more they will sell it on – only hire people that are naturally excited about what you are trying to do!”
Angela recommends that anything you can do to make your staff feel empowered and positive will yield good results all round: “what else can you do for your team that will make them love working for you? A high energy, fun work place can be appealing and a strong reward scheme works well.”
Finally, Carina explains that “honest and engaging staffing results in increased brand perception in the hearts of your most valuable customers, and an experience they wish to share with their peers.” Ultimately, don’t forget about staffing! It can often be overlooked, but “having proactive, engaging, passionate and on-brand staff can be a real asset to a pop up.”
Got something you’d like to ask the experts?
Email ‘Ask The Experts’ to firstname.lastname@example.org with your question and we’ll put it to the panel.