It’s all just space: How new ideas are redefining the shopping centre

What is the future of brand? Why are urban farms relevant to me? How do we create meaningful human interactions in commercial spaces? How are brands using pop ups to grow?

These are just some of the questions that will be answered on 22nd March, when brands, leading retailers, agents and leasing experts will be coming together for the annual SPREE Europe innovation day. We Are Pop Up is thrilled to be Chairing the event. The conference is aimed at helping brands and shopping centre professionals learn more about the €6bn specialty retail industry that consists of pop-up stores, kiosks and experiential events. It’s the key annual innovation conference for EU shopping centre operators and developers and we’ll be taking the opportunity as Chair to showcase the bravest and boldest new models. To attend and find out more, all the details are here.

The Programme:
Tuesday 22nd March 2016
Islington Design Centre

Registration and Networking

Welcome Address
Clara Maguire: Chief Operating Officer, We Are Pop Up

10 New Retail Rules
Aaron Shields: Strategy Director Europe & Russia, Fitch

Immersive Experiences
Rupert Pick: Planning Director & Co-Founder, Hot Pickle
Lucy Johnston: Author, Brand Experience Curator & Founder, The Neon Birdcage
Dr Maggie Atkinson: Think Tank Member, Kidzania
Moderator: Petah Marian, Senior Editor Retail Intelligence, WGSN

‘Go Local’ Future Malls
Charlie Gent – Marketing Manager, Pop Brixton

Rise of the Retail Curator
Arianna Cefis: Founder, HC HQ Ltd & Kings Road Concept Store
Elisicia Moore: Founder & Director, Petit Miracles
Kathrine Heiberg: CEO, Re-Team Group & Mytiful Stores
Moderator: Emily Wright, Features & Global Editor, Estates Gazette

It’s all just space! Uses beyond retail
Fabian Weinlander: Director of Project Development, UrbanFarmers
James Layfield: Founder & CEO, Central Working
Tom Tobia: Co-Founder, Makerversity
Moderator: TBC

Lunch & Networking

How I Grew My Brand With Specialty Leasing
Jonny Burt: Co-Founder, The Unit
Daniel Peters: Founder, BBSC
Sandro Abeille: International Expansion, Chiquita Fruit Bar
Moderator:  Dan Innes, Managing Director, Innesco

Understanding New Brand Behaviour
Leading Brand Agency TBC


The Rise & Rise of F&B
Jonathan Downey, Co-Founder, London Union
Atholl Milton, CEO & Co-Founder, StreetDots
Dimple Lalwani, CEO & Founder, Social Belly
Moderator: Richard Johnson, award-winning food journalist, consultant and founder of the British Street Food Awards

Weak Signals of New Valuation Models
Speaker from CBRE

Closing Remarks 

Networking Drinks Reception
Axis Bar, Hilton London: Angel, Islington


We will lift the lid on innovative approaches to space use, consumer engagement, new brand behaviour, underlying drivers of demand, and business models. The programme has been developed based on our belief that retail and public realm space is a platform to unlock new ideas, create jobs, drive economic development, and create exciting places in the heart of communities.

With demand for fractional use of space from brands massive and growing rapidly, by lowering the barriers for entrepreneurs to get into space we are powering the creative retail movement. This is a movement built on connections that give birth to new retail concepts – from brand mash-ups, to collaborative leasing, and it’s being embraced by brands of all sizes, from start-up to global conglomerate.

The intensive one-day programme will address all aspects of the €6bn global specialty leasing sector including top industry trends; innovative immersive experiences; the rise of retail curating and how it can be leveraged to create a unique specialty programme; creative uses for vacant space in shopping centres beyond retail such as urban farming on rooftops, office space and industrial production; case studies from brands who will share how specialty pop-up store space has enabled them to trial new concepts and grow organically; and how food is changing the face of specialty retail.

Guest speakers include the world’s leading retail and brand consultancy Fitch; London Union – the next venture from the Founders of Street Feast and Leon; brand licensing and retail innovation experts Hot Pickle; Neon Birdcage; Kidzania; Pop Brixton; Concept Store Kings Rd; Petite Miracles; Mytiful; Soho success story The Unit; Dead Dolls House; Street Dots; Social Belly and CBRE.


“As our Cities swell to accommodate urbanisation – space becomes an increasingly precious commodity. Unlocking its value requires us to move beyond traditional concepts of yield management, long term leasing and retail conglomerates taking on multiple units.

How we enable that shift and make the Shopping Centre relevant to tomorrow’s brands will play a key part in the future viability of these retail assets and the communities they serve.”

(Clara Maguire, We Are Pop Up’s COO)

Patricia Norins, ICSC’s Vice President of Specialty Retail, who launched SPREE Europe in 2015, explains, “The specialty retail industry is making a significant difference in the global retail real estate landscape. ICSC’s SPREE events aim to bring together the leading brands, agents and those executives who are using specialty formats such as kiosks, pop-up stores and sponsorship to drive footfall, diversity and excitement.” She tells us, “We are thrilled to have We Are Pop Up as a 2016 sponsor and their COO, Clara Maguire serving as the SPREE Europe conference chair. Their deep expertise and connections in the pop-up store sector has helped to significantly shape the event by helping ICSC to attract a powerful line-up of innovative industry speakers.”

We are thrilled to be involved too, and would love to see you on the day. To attend or find out more, all the details are here.



We Are Pop Up scoops Best Hackney Business Award 2016

The We Are Pop Up team were delighted to win the award for Best Business 2016 at the Mayor of Hackney’s Business Awards last night.

The winner of each award category was selected by a panel of leading business figures, headed up by the Mayor of Hackney himself, Jules Pipe. Rather fittingly, the Awards bash took place at the Borough’s own versatile pop up space and long-standing We Are Pop Up customer, BL-NK.

“The awards help to showcase the extraordinary work of the local business community, rewarding those who contribute most to the life and prosperity of the borough’s economy.”

Jules Pipe, Mayor of Hackney

The award recognised We Are Pop Up’s outstanding contribution to the Borough, but we couldn’t have done it without the innovation and creativity of local Hackney businesses. Our very first customers were based in Hackney and since then, we’ve all been growing together, to pioneer the future of creative retail.

“This award means a lot to us. We Are Pop Up started with a few brands and shops in Hackney in 2014. Hackney is one of London creative and entrepreneurial epicentres, and our early – and current – customers reflect that spirit and drive. Today, we have offices in London and New York, and we’ve moved customers between 22 countries around the world. Hackney remains one of our most sought-after destinations, and we’re proud to be a Hackney business through and through.”

Nicholas Russell, Founder and CEO of We Are Pop Up

Since we first launched the world’s first fully automated real estate transaction, customers from 22 countries have used the service to book over 42 years of pop up space. In Hackney Borough alone we’re trusted by over 250 retail and hospitality spaces, and we’re only just getting started.

The pop up events and retail experiences that brands and spaces create using the We Are Pop Up platform are helping Hackney’s retail and service economy, and keeping it firmly on the map as a destination. Brands that We Are Pop Up has matched with retail spaces across Hackney include Secret Cinema, Edwin Jeans, Playn Eyewear, and Blend & Press amongst others.

Emma Wood, Founder of Blend & Press

And boutique owners from Stoke Newington to Shoreditch have embraced ShopShare, using the We Are Pop Up platform to book brands into their spaces and collaborate with each other.

We Are Pop Up’s ShopShare is helping to shore up the high street by supporting independent retailers to make money from their retail space. Our mission is to help independent retail thrive by thinking differently about the possibilities of space. In talking to our users we realised that we could do more to help smaller brands that wanted to test concepts in the market without committing to rent an entire shop.

That’s why we launched ShopShare in the first place. It’s an opportunity for shops to rent out part of their floorspace, from a rail, a table, a shelf or a concession, or even the whole shop.



As any discerning culture vulture knows, pop ups are synonymous with culture, entrepreneurship and the arts. The We Are Pop Up site is the destination for creative retail which encompasses everything from fashion and accessories to pop up cinema, food, art and design. The brands using our site to book spaces are keeping Hackney’s cultural diary very busy with their events and pop up launches. From Secret Cinema to a ‘pop up coin op’ gaming studio in Clapton, to a Porridge Café in Hoxton, there’s always something new being added to the Borough’s cultural diary.

Right now, pop ups in the Borough include:

Facebar London at Butchers Hair Salon – a professional makeup bar in a creative hair salon on Hackney Road offering the services of experienced fashion industry makeup artists at much more accessible prices.

Nicola Fiveash, Founder of Facebar London

The Joinery at Showroom Shoreditch – an organic and ethically mindful fashion brand based in Cape Town, South Africa collaborating with a concept store and designer showroom to bring products direct from townships in Africa to the hands of Hackney fashionistas.

“Our garments and leather accessories are produced by hand out of local townships in Cape Town by local women’s sewing co-operatives. We started The Joinery to provide an alternative to the way apparel and accessories are produced. We absolutely love We are Pop up! It has been super beneficial for us.”

Natalie and Kim, Founders of The Joinery.

Sisters Natalie and Kim, founders of The Joinery
Sisters Natalie and Kim, Founders of The Joinery

We were very pleased to hear that the Best Hackney Business Award also recognises the company’s environmental work in the Borough. We Are Pop Up’s Founding CEO, Nicholas Russell, is from a sustainability background and the business today remains true to his original vision to ‘recycle’ property, sourcing latent supply of space and making it available to book easily online. For example, we heard from Rio Cinema that the venue had a disused basement. Using We Are Pop Up, they were able to connect directly with Monograph London, a sushi supperclub brand which has now used the space for a full series of events. An under-utilised public space. A brand thirsty for a unique venue. We Are Pop Up helps creative retailers to make unexpected connections like this daily – there are no barriers and few boundaries.


To all our early-adopters, supporters and pop up entrepreneurs across the borough of Hackney and beyond – this award is all of ours. To you, we raise a glass and toast to pioneering the future of creative retail.


If you’re a Hackney-based business and you’d like to list your space or shop with We Are Pop Up then we’d love to hear from you. And if you’re a brand looking to find space and meet other brands then we’d love to hear from you too. 


Creating a brand profile boosts your business on We Are Pop Up

Your brand profile is like an elevator pitch – a compelling introduction to grab someone’s attention, make them want to find out more and ultimately do business with you. The more engaging your profile, the more space owners and brands are likely to get in contact. So, with the right details and images in place, you’ll receive more messages and offers, meaning more contacts, collaborators and bookings for your brand.

Chhipa annotated

Did you know that We Are Pop Up is the only platform where spaces can approach brands and not just the other way around? Concept stores all over London, NYC and beyond are using We Are Pop Up to source up-and-coming brands like you – 1 in 3 conversations on the website are initiated by space owners. Lauren Lewis, founder of Glassworks Studios in Shoreditch and Dalston, tells us that:

“We use the We Are Pop Up platform to find new brands to partner with in our London stores. It is simple to use and has introduced us to great brand partners.”

By creating a brand profile, you can be discovered and stock your products in retail destinations all around the world.

Communicate your concept

The description forms the central part of your profile. We often hear from new brands that it’s not that easy to describe yourself – you know what you’re all about, but sometimes it’s difficult to put that into words. It’s important to describe your brand well to convey your concept and prove your credibility to other users. We Are Pop Up is a network built on on trust and transparent communication, so establishing a clear voice on your profile is key to starting up conversations.

Here are some things to consider as you write your brand description:

  • What is the story behind your brand?
  • What are your main aims and ethos?
  • Who is your target customer?
  • What keys words would you use to describe your products?
  • Credentials. Have you done any previous pop-ups or worked with any other spaces/brands?
  • What is the nature of your pop-up concept?
  • What collaborations would you be interested in, if any?

Make it your own

Take a look at the following examples of how you can make the most of your profile as creative business tool and get inspired by brands who are doing it right:

Cover photo

Think of your cover photo like a mood board – what gives the best feel for your brand? This is the image that will appear on the brand search pages, so make sure it’s bold and representative of your company.

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Add photos to your profile to tell your brand story visually. Include a range of product shots, lookbook images, key branding examples and photos of previous pop-ups. Ensure all images are high-res to keep your profile crisp, clean and colourful.
Screenshot 2016-01-22 11.25.11

Social media

Link up your Twitter, Facebook and Instagram profiles to include a feed of your social media activity and reach. This will refresh constantly to show spaces and brands what you are up to in real time.

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As an added bonus, we feature one of our favourite new brands daily on our social media channels and in our newsletter to a network of over 50,000 people. Good reason in itself to get started on creating your beautiful brand profile.

We’re on hand to help you every step of the way so if you need any assistance don’t hesitate to contact our support team. Otherwise, you’re all set to get started right away here. We can’t wait to see what you create.

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Flagship Killer: The meteoric rise of OnePlus through pop ups

Mobile device startup OnePlus launched the OnePlus X –  the follow-up to their self-proclaimed ‘Flagship Killer’ the OnePlus 2 – in the UK earlier this month to queues around the block and critical acclaim. But how has the brand powered from zero to a waiting list of millions in little over 18 months, and what can be learned from their global launch campaign? We Are Pop Up caught up with brand OnePlus and space The Dandy Lab to find out more about their UK collaboration.

The beginning of November saw the highly anticipated UK launch of the OnePlus X with a pop-up store at The Dandy Lab in Spitalfields. After the resounding success of the French edition of the OnePlus pop-up tour at Colette in Paris, the hype was equally tangible in London as queues started to form long before the doors opened at The Dandy Lab. For one night only, the pop up provided a unique opportunity for customers to purchase their handsets without the need for one of the OnePlus infamous online invites.

One Plus launch at The Dandy Lab, November 2015

With a queue stretching the length of Spitalfields Market, this level of buzz and exclusivity has become synonymous with the creators of the low-cost rival to the iPhone. Indeed the OnePlus One sold 1 million units between April and December 2014 when the company was less than a year old. In this age of easily-fuelled social media hysteria, exclusive, time-bound retail opportunities such as this hold the power to provide a startup with a 1.6 million pre-reservation list a mere 18 months after launching.

Screenshot 2015-11-19 14.07.40

The pace is astounding when you think about what’s possible today. Apple was founded on 1st April 1976. OnePlus on 16th December 2013. In less than two years OnePlus has achieved what Apple has strived for in 40 with staggering global demand; queues around the block; customers flying in from different countries to access 1-hour pop-up sales. In August the OnePlus 2 sold out of 30,000 units in 64 seconds in a surprise online sale.

Now that OnePlus has reached such success with their coveted e-commerce business, the brand wants to evolve their approach to become more than purely online sales. In an exclusive interview with We Are Pop Up, European Communications Manager Eric Zarshenas explains that For the OnePlus X they have partnered with fashion boutiques in key cities around the world so that fans can touch and experience the phone before they buy it – “people can look at pictures, watch a YouTube video, or read reviews, but nothing is the same as actually holding the phone.” 

“We are always looking for ways of getting our devices in people’s hands, so that they can truly experience our build quality.”

Eric Zarshenas, OnePlus European Communications Manager

One Plus launch at The Dandy Lab, November 2015

This widespread movement of e-commerce brands from online presence to bricks and mortar appearances comes as retail space increasingly becomes thought of as not just a ‘shop’, but a real world manifestation of social media. Just this week, founder of shoe company Toms, Blake Mycoskie, told the New York Times that he was over the word “store”. Instead, Toms ‘Outposts’ offer seating, free Wi-Fi and events like morning yoga classes and movie nights, creating a “lifestyle for the brand”. This reimagining of the retail experience was implemented at the OnePlus X London pop-up at The Dandy Lab – bringing people together in the real world for what was before a purely online experience.

One Plus launch at The Dandy Lab, November 2015

Julija Bainiaksina, co-founder of The Dandy Lab which hosted the OnePlus X London launch, tells us that people are now coming to shops like theirs to not only purchase products but also participate in events. “Here at The Dandy Lab we believe that this is the way forward, it’s time for a shop to become a social hub for brands and customers. The shop is effectively a physical social media space where we can create exciting experiences for our customers.” That’s why in-store they also offer an event space where they host different events and activities including a recent London Terrariums workshop and British wine tasting sessions. “This helps to create better relationships with the customers and encourage loyalty,” adds Bainiaksina.

One Plus launch at The Dandy Lab, November 2015

Zarshenas adds that “over the last 10 years the traditional retail industry has been disrupted by growing online shopping trends and social media. Brick and mortar shops are no longer just sales platforms. They have become media channels that act as showrooms and experience centres where customers can see and touch products, and then buy anytime, anywhere online.”

Images by Justine Trickett.

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What lies beneath: Reflections on behaviour under the head lease

Every year Britain’s property sector comes together to review the data behind commercial property leasing across the country. The data reveals trends and new behaviours and is crucial to understanding the shifting sands of property usage on Britain’s streets and what that means for business of all sizes. 

Now in it’s 17th year, the MSCI and Strutt & Parker’s UK Lease Event Review in partnership with British Property Federation took place in early November. We Are Pop Up’s COO Clara Maguire was thrilled to speak at the event. Here, Clara shares some of the key insights from the day and the data affecting brands, retailers and the property sector at large. 

The core lesson? Flexible leasing is a structural shift, and it’s here to stay.

Brands want shorter leases and more flexibility in where, and how, they engage consumers. A movement that was spurred by the recession caught fire with social media and has now become the norm. Large and small brands are building products and services in new ways.

Business financing options, innovation tools, and risk profiles have all changed. This means brands’ business and operating models are very different.

Sitting in a room with more than 100 property investors from leading institutions such as British Land and AXA, we reflected on both the opportunities and challenges of these shifts.

‘It will be those investors… with a focus on the underlying drivers of demand, who will succeed as the property cycle moves into its next phase’

Andy Martin – UK Lease Events Review – November 2015

Savvy property professionals know there is more to this than meets the eye. It’s not just the lease instrument that is shifting. In order to meet changing demand we need to overhaul our valuation models, risks profiles, and asset management approaches.

The new drivers of demand

Brands want shorter leases:

Screenshot 2015-11-20 13.36.35

Brands want to know they can get out of the lease if they need to:

Screenshot 2015-11-20 13.37.27

Brands will pay more for flexibility:

Screenshot 2015-11-20 13.38.25

The real, underlying drivers of demand

‘In the past year we have seen serviced office operators catapulted into the limelight… they themselves are signing leases of up to 20-years, this of course disguises the fact that the underlying demand for their services is from occupiers taking on much shorter commitments – something not picked up in the data’

Andy Martin – UK Lease Events Review – November 2015

This behaviour isn’t limited to office space. In recent years there has been an explosive growth in demand from brands to share retail space. In global retail cities where location is king, this is how brands access prime retail space.

We are seeing a whole generation of creative retail talent with an entirely different relationship to real estate than their predecessors. We Are Pop Up’s data shows, at granular detail, demand for a single clothes rail in a boutique in Greenwich that costs £9 a day, to a concession in Oxford Street for £300 a day, or on Manhattan’s Lower East Side for $200 a day. We call this behaviour ShopShare.

We can tell you about the nature, scale, and source of underlying demand. We can tell you how frequently brands book, where they book, what they pay. As a tech platform we can tell you what day of the week a particular concession, in a particular part of town, is most likely to book. Every touch-point from sign-up, to enquiry, to booking is captured.

If this analysis is omitted from the data collected by the UK Lease Events Review, we can help. 

The WeWork Effect

Currently valued at $15billion, WeWork’s value is being generated below the head lease.

Once they sign a 20-year lease in a prime location they are able to service underlying demand for fractional and flexible use of space.

At WeWork you can rent 1 to 10 person offices, dedicated desks, shared desks. The WeWork Commons means you can book a desk on a mobile app on a global basis. You can attend and host events. You can access the social network of 30,000+ creatives, and thousands of potential customers.

In this model WeWork act as network aggregators. They service a growing, underlying demand for fractional use of high value real estate, anchored by a social and globally connected community.   

The result? Networks in physical space.

Hidden and untapped value

A demand of a similar nature exists within retail. Shops on We Are Pop Up are listing small modules of their store and are generating thousands of pounds of revenue every month. Boutiques in Shoreditch make £20k renting rails and tables. Another of our shops tells us 50% of revenue is product sales, the other 50% – renting out space on We Are Pop Up.

These retailers cluster in high-value spaces. This makes them the biggest ‘owners’ of high value space and the smart ones know it. They too are acting as network aggregators selling fractional use of their space.

The result? A new role in the ecosystem. We call them Retail Curators.

A shifting business model for retail

A number of drivers are commoditising retail space.

Channels: e-commerce

Before e-commerce, brick and mortar was how you reached customers. Now brands have options. We see that landlords can’t push increasing rents in the same way anymore. The goal now is just to minimise vacancy. The shift is evident with stable vacancy rates and the majority of retailers either paying the same or lower rates.

Screenshot 2015-11-20 13.40.36

With rental uplift sacrificed for higher renewal, supply gets even more constrained. The mindset of minimising vacancy, rather than maximising utilisation is actively preventing future growth opportunities.

Screenshot 2015-11-20 13.42.16

Product sourcing: ShopShare

For many brands ShopShare now replaces trade-shows. Rather than showcase a product to retail buyers at a trade-show, brands buy ShopShare space and face the product directly to consumers, able to invite buyers to the space too. We Are Pop Up allows brands to access high-value space, but we also allow low-value space to approach brands relevant for their stores.

For the retailer, ShopShare de-risks product selection. There is now an alternative to buying large consignments and hoping you’ve got it right, or fronting money for sale and return.

This transforms getting new inventory and fresh in-store content, from a cost centre to a revenue line.

Roles: Retail Curators

Retailers are the biggest space owners, but they’re stale on storytelling. They are paying prime rents and being hit by e-commerce. The retail in itself isn’t necessarily profitable but they need to engage consumers in the real world and drive them back online. They need a physical presence on the high street, and they need a new way to compete for attention anchored in experiences. 

Brands have fresh product and they need channels to market it to consumers. To them ShopShare is social media space and they share that story widely across their networks. Having a presence in a physical space creates new media content. The brands drive the network movement through sharing this content online. The retailer takes advantage of this behavior to anchor the experience in real space – in their real space. This drives footfall, brand awareness, and ultimately sales.

The result, once again is networks in physical space.

It’s the same with The Permanent Pop Up and The Dandy Lab. It’s the same with historic Heal’s flagship store on Tottenham Court Road partnering with coworking space Forge & Co.

Value: Adjacent benefit

Possibly my favourite graph of the day presented by Stephanie McMahon, Head of Research at Strutt & Parker, shows the comparative uplift in asset value in Brixton ‘v’ Clapham post the development of Brixton Village Market.

Screenshot 2015-11-20 13.43.31

The market operator plays the role of aggregator. They offer micro-leases and build a new ‘anchor’ offer, based not on long leases, but on flexible ones. Consumers know there will be authentic and novel experiences and keep coming back for more. This drives footfall and ultimately pushes up the value of adjacent retail assets. The key thing here is the correlation between google hits and rising asset value.

New drivers of value

Taken together we are seeing a powerful set of drivers pointing us toward a new value proposition for commercial real estate. We have some work to do and some mindset shifts to make.

1/ We need to evolve our data models to include the underlying patterns of demand. This means exploring the real behavior shaping the future of commercial real estate that’s happening below the line of the head lease.

2/ Network Aggregators are benefiting from the underlying patterns of demand, inventing new ways to meet it based on fractional use overlaid with networks. They are creating new value and driving supply in a supply constrained market. Institutional investors can help scale this model and share in its benefits.

3/ The fundamental shift needed is to move from asset valuations to use-valuations. In a complicated real estate market where assets are over-leveraged or underpin pension policies, I recognise making this transition is a challenge. However, we do need to make it if we want the asset class to be productive and grow.

The opportunity costs are mounting for landowners, retailers, brands, which is having a knock-on effect at the simple level of job creation and economic growth. What is becoming increasingly apparent is that fewer and fewer benefit from trying to keep things the same. It’s time for a change. 

If you’d like to continue to the conversation over a coffee then contact me at

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Why we’ve launched the world’s first social marketplace for retailers and brands

At We Are Pop Up, we believe in freedom of expression through retail.

Until now, entrepreneurs have not been able to rent sections of retail spaces, even though that’s often all they need. In a recent post, we talked in more detail about this philosophy and how sharing is completely reshaping retail. WAPU was founded on a belief that the only way for the full spectrum of entrepreneurs to access retail is to democratise the process, create transparent pricing and direct communication between spaceowners and brands.

We’re pushing the forefront of a retail revolution that will see shared space become the dominant form of retail.

But retail space was just the beginning, and property transactions are one small piece of the creative retail journey. By connecting retail brands, We Are Pop Up creates a conversation ecosystem around real estate. Real estate is no longer just property; it’s a campfire around which entrepreneurs are redefining their neighborhoods. Today’s brands don’t just want square feet. They want the tools to build social capital, grow networks and create new business partnerships.

wapu collaborate

That’s why we’ve just announced a new feature – direct messaging between brands. With this move, We Are Pop Up becomes the world’s first social network for retailers. Leading the movement toward creative retail, brands and space owners can now meet not only to do property deals, but also to collaborate, share resources, and develop new ideas and consumer offers.

First we connected tenants and landlords, now we connect brands with spaces, other brands, and service providers and other supplies.

With each new feature, we make the world of retail property more open to innovation and opportunity.  We started with the world’s first online retail agreement.  Then we added ShopShare to enable brands and spaces to collaborate in any retail shop – vacant or not.

We Are Pop Up brands
Brand profiles on We Are Pop Up

In 2014, ShopShare captured the imagination of retailers in 20 countries – from London to NYC and beyond.  Brands started connecting with brands, and so in 2015, we launched brand pages, which gives every retail brand a beautiful billboard showcasing their products and social network reach.

And now, with brand to brand communication, we break down another barrier and enable true collaboration between brands.

Brand to brand messaging means brands can discover and connect. They can pool budgets to book larger spaces, grow their networks, and ultimately do more business. Thousands of small brands have used We Are Pop Up to create new retail businesses, and now this enables them to collaborate and take those new retail brands to the next level.

An appetite for communication that is open and instant powers the creative retail economy. With this launch, we invite brands and retailers to collaborate in ways not previously possible.

Nicholas Russell, CEO of We Are Pop Up

Creative retailers are collaborative by nature. In daily conversations with our customers, they told us they wanted to connect with other brands to create and remix concepts.  We Are Pop Up’s mission has always been bringing down the barriers by stripping out middlemen and connecting people with people. This is the next step on that mission.

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The possibilities for brand-to-brand messaging are endless, ultimately our goal is to put tools in the hands of space owners and retailers that make doing business frictionless.

Possible uses for brand messaging include:

Get inspiration
Share Resources
Pop up together
Ask Advice

Ultimately, it’s your tool for your business. We can’t wait to see what you will create now. Why not head over to We Are Pop Up and connect with brands today.

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Market Gravity Corporate Entrepreneur Awards nominate WAPU for best new product or service

Wednesday, We Are Pop Up joins Barclays, Hive, DriveNow and Funding Circle as nominees for Market Gravity’s Corporate Entrepreneur Awards. We don’t spend much time thinking about awards, but being recognised for best new product and service gives us a reason for pause. We’ll be joining more than 400 of Europe’s most creative, disruptive and entrepreneurial business leaders at this year’s Market Gravity Corporate Entrepreneur Awards – the biggest yet – to enjoy a night celebrating innovation in business.

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The innovation for which We Are Pop Up has been recognised? Fully automated real-estate transactions. This sophisticated engine sits on the back-end of the website and powers every single booking between a space and brand. For the first time, brands and spaces can not only discover each other and connect directly, they can also pay and have legal protection as-standard, all included seamlessly in the process. Instead of 10-year leases, we’ve enabled 10-day leases. Or, ten-hour leases. Or a ten hour lease shared with ten brands.

“The acceleration of technology and digitisation has enabled a step change in a company’s ability to deliver innovations at a faster pace than ever before.” Market Gravity.

Funding Circle is a peer-to-peer lending service which allows savers to lend money directly to small and medium sized businesses.

Renting a retail space could take weeks to transact and from the outside, retail property deals looked like a complex web of relationships built on exclusivity clauses and long-term contracts. Working collaboratively with leading real estate legal practice Hogan Lovells LLP, we standardised and digitised the property contract and created the world’s first fully automated commercial property transactions.

DriveNow is a joint venture between BMW and Sixt that provides carsharing services in several cities in Europe and North America.

Our innovation connects brands directly with spaces, cutting out the middleman and all of the paperwork. Spaces set their own prices and terms. They rent for a day or a year. They can rent a full building, or just a shelf within their shop (an increasingly popular option under We Are Pop Up’s ShopShare) They review, accept, and decline brand requests on mobile phones.

Our rental agreement protects our customers’ bookings. It works by taking the information they provide us and auto-populating the agreement. Both the space or brand’s listing and any direct messages between them form an annex to the rental agreement.

The Hive Active Heating Thermostat and App let you control your heating and hot water from your smartphone, tablet or laptop.

People are literally building businesses on top of the We Are Pop Up platform. As a result, we have over 21,500 brands registered with We Are Pop Up, booking short term retail space for anything from a day to 6 months or more.

We’ve brought down the time it takes to book a retail space too – the record so far has been a 7 minute deal: A brand contacted one of London’s most popular fashion boutiques at 9:55AM and at 10:02AM had booked to pop up.

The Barclays Accelerator powered by Techstars is a three month intensive FinTech startup programme.

Brands and spaces can book 24/7 at times that suit them. 32% of brands and spaces book outside of office hours. Removing the contract negotiation totally changed the nature of landlord / tenant interactions – so much so that we changed our vocabulary from “tenants” and “landlords” to “brands” and “space owners” to reflect the people using our platform.

It turns out, by removing agents, lawyers, and contracts, not only did we remove delays and costs associated, we also changed the inherent nature of the interaction from adversarial to collaborative. And we’re only just getting started.

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The booming shared retail revolution needs no agents

We built We Are Pop Up to customise the retail ecosystem for the 21st century. With bookings from over a thousand entrepreneurs in 14 countries, we’ve grown to be the biggest shared retail marketplace in the world. From Glassworks in Shoreditch to Seaport Studios in downtown New York, we’re inspired every day by the entrepreneurs who are building more creative cities. Shared retail spaces are becoming neighbourhood anchors and producing stronger local culture. Over the past three years, creative retailers used We Are Pop Up to lease 32 years of shops. Which means that each calendar year, brands are thinking through and iterating on a decade’s worth of ideas. To you, Madame and Sir, we raise a glass.

All the iterations result in rapid retail evolution that’s reshaping our city. The high street is no longer just about buying and selling. Entrepreneurs are using spaces to build social capital, grow networks and discover lifelong partnerships. More than 40% of creative retail projects – from pop ups to pop ins, retail residencies to cross-category collaborations – are initiated by landlords. Something that was previously impossible to do without an open and transparent marketplace where both brands and spaces can contact each other. Retailers expand to second spaces to fulfil the demand from brands without spaces of their own. Bankers organise citywide contests to spark more meaningful careers. Visionaries tap tech leaders and non-profit think tanks to help strategise the store of the future.

We’re finding that the creative retail economy is powered by two main drivers. One is communication that’s faster, more streamlined, more comprehensive and more direct. Two is transparent information on pricing and expectations. Brands can quickly differentiate between an opportunity that’s £9 a day vs one that’s £100. Retailers can immediately understand and recruit brands via their online profiles and the rich information presented in them. Then track results and gauge interest via our comprehensive dashboard. Coalition-minded entrepreneurs can connect directly through our brand to brand messaging. And they’re connecting and collaborating faster and more frequently than we ever expected. Since the launch of brand profiles in August, new brand listings were up 86% last month alone, with a 500% growth in shared retail this past year.

No Walls
114 Church Street, Brighton

We hear regularly from spaces being harassed by agents with exclusivity clauses. Contracts that return value only to the agents, not to the customers they serve or the creativity of the city. Rather than navigate adversarial exclusivity contracts and intimidate each other with those agreements, or chase down agents, our community takes business into their own hands. It takes just minutes to complete a booking on We Are Pop Up, meaning more time for the creative retail projects that are becoming the lifeblood of our city.

We believe in freedom of expression through retail. We believe there’s a massive shared retail revolution happening. We believe it because we see it every day.

Take James Woodward’s No Walls Gallery for instance. Earlier this month, he listed his space and within 24 hours closed a £1500 partnership with vintage label House of Bricks. Within one week, London entrepreneurs sent him another 182 qualified leads and he’s now fully booked through to next year. We approach retail like Woodward approaches his space: no walls, no agents, just democratic creative retail. And to that, we raise our glass. Raise one with us. And join over 21,500 people who are building stronger, more creative cities on We Are Pop Up.

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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?

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Summer in NYC, Fashion Week in Paris or Christmas in Copenhagen: 5 reasons to go global with We Are Pop Up

As a brand, your consumers want product mash-ups, retail remixes, and special guest stars. They don’t define themselves as either “online”
 or “offline”. Now you don’t have to either.

With spaces available in the major shopping destinations across the globe, there’s never been a better time to be where your customers are. And where they’re not.

In speaking to our customers and watching how they grow their brands using pop-ups across the globe, there are recurring themes on how and why more businesses are turning to pop-ups. Here are our top 5 reasons to pop-up abroad:

1. Reach new audiences.

New customers are waiting for you in every city – find locations in the world’s top 15 cities in terms of population and purchasing power*. With pop-ups, brands can access new customer bases in new cities easily, and quickly grow their concept by moving and adapting.

In the summer of last year, Danish fashion brand Ganni opened a 6-month store on Redchurch Street in Shoreditch to showcase their AW14 collection. Their simple yet elegant, high quality collection already had a dedicated following back home but they wanted to test the waters in London. Safe to say, their much-coveted Scandinavian aesthetic was a roaring success.

Danish brand Ganni pop-up on Redchurch Street, London.

2. Create a buzz.

Stake your claim as the ‘new brand in town’ and use this to your advantage. By popping up in a new territory, your brand, products and offer will be culturally fresh and exciting to the local demographic. 

When online fast-fashion retailer decided to open its first standalone store, they opted for two weeks in New York, rather than a location in its native UK. Fans of the brand were able to shop them in real life for the first time, and a programme of events and special guests ensured there were queues around the block. When asked why they choose to keep the retail short-term and go international, the company’s CEO and Co-Founder Carol Kane was quoted in WWD as saying “if I talk about our product strategy, it’s of newness.  Why would I open a store when I can open a country?”

boohoo opts for New York first pop-up

3. Try before you buy.

The beauty of a pop-up is that you can test different locations easily – now even further afield. Don’t be afraid to experiment, and try something unusual or expected in a completely new location. Choose somewhere that complements your unique brand and your style, and learn from the response.

Major Italian notebook brand Moleskine, after opening their first stand-alone UK stores in Canary Wharf and Covent Garden last year, decided to launch additional pop-ups in satellite locations. By testing the waters with temporary retail locations the brand was able to evaluate the new consumer market before fully committing to rent further long-term sites.

Screenshot 2015-06-11 19.27.10
Moleskine pop-up at BOXPARK, London

4. Be at every international industry event.

Establish a presence at every fashion week in the world’s capitals; never miss another high profile trade show or festival simply because it’s overseas.

Last November Malaysian designer Pearly Wong booked a Berlin pop-up showroom through We Are Pop Up, for her latest collection of ethical, multi-functional men’s and womenswear. Within a month, she was launching Day 1 of Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Berlin, showing her A/W15 collection to a full-house audience. Pearly Wong now plans to continue building her brand in Berlin as well as expanding to other cities and fashion weeks.

pearly wong
Pearly Wong – from pop-up to Berlin Fashion Week star

5. Launch in new cities cheaper, faster, and easier than ever before.

At We Are Pop Up our mission is bringing down the barriers for taking your brand to the next level. Last summer we got together with Boulevard Berlin to create the ‘From London With Love’ Pop Up Village. Eight exclusive emerging designers from London each took on their own pop-up store to debut in Germany. The brands included Fashion Meets Music, Fourth & Main, JOY, MONOCHROME, Alice’s Pig, Something About Elizabeth, Bwoy-Wonder who showcased their streetwear, vintage and eco-fashion for men and women as well as shoes, accessories and jewellery to a German audience for the first time. 

This month @WeArePopUp took 8 British fashion labels to Berlin. Here's the result. Featuring @AlicesPig @LoucheLondon @Something-About-Elizabeth @FourthAndMain @FashionMeetsMusicPopUp @MonochromeLDN @HymnLondon @FollowTheLegoBrickRoad Find them all on
London-based MONOCHROME took their street-style to Berlin with a pop-up


Whether you’re considering Summer in NYC, Fashion Week in Paris or Christmas in Copenhagen, you can discover and book the latest international spaces on We Are Pop Up here.


*Source: Centre for Retail Research. World Shopping Capitals 2011 Survey – Which City is the Biggest Shopper? 

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