50 budding entrepreneurs, 48 hours of planning, one weekend of selling, several cans of spray paint and a teddy bear later, the deserved winners of the We Are Pop Up x Escape the City challenge were finally announced at The Escape School.
Having each created a lifestyle brand around the simple white t-shirt with impressive results both in sales and social media numbers, the Startup Tribe Teams got together to hear the verdict, receive feedback from challenge leaders We Are Pop Up‘s Abigail Freeman and Daniel Peters of BBSC, and reflect on their learnings from this intense introduction to entrepreneurship. The results are in from the #escapethesuit challenge.
AND THE WINNER IS…
Teams were judged on three criteria – the highest sales revenue, the most social media followers over the weekend, and the best in-store brand concept, to give one overall winning team which was:
The winning team managed to create a cohesive and attractive brand from scratch with a strong overarching theme exploring the importance of sleep and relaxation, offering products like pillowcases and hot chocolate pots.
Our products are hand made in London, using the finest fabrics. Helping you sleep better and Wake Up Awesome.
The presentation in-store was well thought out with a clear message for the customer, and they adapted their sales pitch and interaction with customers to suit the environment as the weekend progressed, making the most of quirky marketing strategies such as pyjama-clad team members out on the street.
Daniel Peters, Director of BBS Clothing and judge of branding and visual merchandising, explained that “their brand concept was delivered in a clear and concise way for customers to be able to buy into their offering.” Added to that, they managed to sell out of t-shirts on the first day, prompting a pre-order from Paris from a keen customer who didn’t want to miss out. The team reinvested revenue into further stock, with the team’s designer Talia staying up until the early hours stitching more garments. Her hard work and dedication is why she also received an honourable mention from Daniel and is invited to an additional mentoring session from him.
Each team brought a unique approach to the challenge, with innovations and experiments in lean retail that will serve them well whether they go on to break into retail, or land in other sectors. Here are some of the key takeaways and highlights for the teams:
Black Sheep Collective
Black Sheep were the only to team to use Periscope for a live interview with the entrepreneur behind Sibberi birch water – this was great use of an innovative social media channel that is gaining popularity. According to Abigail Freeman of We Are Pop Up, “customers want unique in store experiences, and live customisation with spray painting introduced an important prosumer element to the brand to create a one-off garment and helping the customer be a part of the brand story”. Offering samples of the birch water – the highest selling product thanks to its low price point – was effective in attracting customers to their stand.
Analog’s focus on offline experiences and encouraging customers to spend less time on their smartphones was one of the strongest concepts in the challenge, however We Are Pop Up felt it wasn’t the right format for the retail environment. Better suited to being in a cafe or music festival with an experiential element such as guest speakers, the brand still has the potential to be built out and monetised as there is definitely a glowing future in the slow media concept.
I Heart London
Despite some setbacks due to time commitments the team still managed to come together in the end. Most importantly, they didn’t give up on putting their concept out into the world and in front of customers. The offering of alternative London tours was a strong one and with further development could be built out into a more cohesive brand.
Made In London
The We Are Pop Up judge Abigail felt that every single one of their brand concessions were strong and each product had an excellent story. The team was commended for their energy and the strength of their sales pitches – particularly for those with no experience in retail. Inviting the suppliers in to the store was also an effective way of inviting customers to embrace the story behind a brand.
Each team demonstrated an incredible level of real-time learning and innovation in a lean retail environment, getting real life feedback from customers, sales and each other, which was really exciting to see.
Every individual can reflect on this experience and take their learnings into whatever their business is going to be – whether that’s digital, physical or something else entirely. Ultimately, the creation of five revenue-generating startups in a mere 48 hours is something for all to be hugely proud of. We Are Pop Up got some thoughts from across the teams on what they have learned and how they can take this knowledge forward.
“Although it’s been such an intense experience, it’s one where I’ve learned so many new skills and learned how much you can achieve in 48 hours. Now I feel more confident taking on something like this in the future.”
“Having more confidence in my ideas and knowing I can turn something around in a short space of time is something I’ll take forward from this experience. It’s about doing rather than thinking – now I know I need to get a bit more goal-oriented.”
“This is a bit of a game-changer. The experience has taken the fear out of trying new things. We all feel like we’ve learned a lot from it. It feels like something has clicked. We can go out there and just try things and we shouldn’t be worried about doing it.”
“This has changed everything. It makes everything feel possible. It’s opened an avenue that i didn’t think was open to me at all having no retail experience and not necessarily a desire to go into retail, I now find that it’s a real buzz, so it’s definitely something i’m going to consider taking the brand forward and seeing what we can do with it. ”
“It’s been an incredible experience, I would recommend it to anybody to got through the same challenge. It throws all doubt out the window and you just have to keep the momentum going and make decisions.
I think it’s something that everybody that has participated is going to remember for a very long time and I do think it has probably changed the dynamic for a lot of people in what we believe we can achieve and the ideas that we’ve got ourselves going forward. I think it’s shifted everything for everybody who has been able to participate in the experience.”
If you’ve been inspired and want to try your hand at your own pop-up, you can browse and book spaces online at wearepopup.com.