the dandy lab pop up 2

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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