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.



The Store(y)telling Gift Shop – Tomorrow and Friday in Nolita, NYC

We’re popping up Thursday and Friday with The Store(y)telling Gift Shop at 2 Rivington St. The pop up is an experimentation in real-time curation inspired by Fashion Week’s direct-to-consumer shows. Fashion moves at the speed of media now, so we got together with some friends for a challenge: Create a concept store with visionary New York designers – in just one week. Thursday and Friday, We Are Pop Up, Parasol Projects, Creative CNTRL and Retail Access invite you to 2 Rivington Street for The Store(y)telling Gift Shop. 11am to 8pm.Featuring our favorite NYC fashion creatives like St. Ash, Proper Assembly, Martenero, Dirty Grl, March Caps, Thursday Finest and Gemela. From Ziggy Stardust soap to Magritte-inspired sweaters to Rio-to-Brooklyn rings, The Store(y)telling Gift Shop curates across cultures, categories and color palettes. The Gift Shop has customized belts from Beltology, upcycled brass jewelry by Loop de Loup, Hickies lace-free laces, fig liquor by Baron Nahmias and more. All elegantly tied together by Creative CNTRL. We believe in freedom of expression through retail, and The Store(y)telling Gift Shop lets you discover some of New York City’s most creative designers without having to scour the web.We’ve engineered a new creative retail store, stripping away traditional fixtures in favor of interactive displays, vinyls and artistic staging.

We invite you to touch and engage with each of the products, share the #StoreytellingLES experience n the gram and get a gift for yourself or a friend. Join us on a journey to explore visual merchandising and a storybook experience. Each brand is featuring five items with prices ranging from free (Little Treats Brigadeiros + Nahmias) to $495, with a happy median of $125. For private tours, email Pop up retail POS proudly provided by Lightspeed.

gift shop gif

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. 


The Weekly Round-Up


New invite

In 2014, artist and illustrator Jane Moore drew a sketch a day for the year. Inspired by this, poet Kirstin Maguire (sister of our very own COO Clara) interpreted ‘sketch’ in poetry and wrote a piece a day for 2015. The awesome book brings together a selection of their works – head down to We Are Facility on 25th February 6-9pm for an evening of readings.


Screen Shot 2016-02-18 at 16.14.31

Pick a country, pick a decade between the 1900s and today and let yourself get carried away by the most beautiful musical library the world has to offer. Radiooooo started as an Indiegogo project and is now filled with tracks discovered by users from all over the world. Explore for yourself or check out this list from The Fader of their favourite finds.



This article from Creative Review – Turner Prize-winning collective Assemble on Granby Four Streets, empowering communities and transforming public spaces. “We’re interested in different ways you can engage with a city … for us, the best to do this is through direct action and experimentation.”



Instead of life models, the subjects in Wild Life Drawing classes include chameleons, dogs, bats, donkeys, tortoises and micro pigs (sadly that last one has sold out). The drawing classes are open to all, from beginner to advanced, and aim to inspire appreciation and understanding of animals and conservation issues. Read Founder Jennie Webber’s interview with Grafik.




Yelp and Not Another Salon Present: Not Another Hair Event

We Are Pop Up has teamed up with our friends at Yelp and Not Another Salon as part of Yelp’s events series for its super-users, the Yelp Elite, held at some of the hottest spots in London. Not Another Hair Event  on Thursday 18th February is the ultimate creative salon evening featuring food, drink, personalised hair colour, nail design and arts and crafts in a secret psychedelic 70s-style room. Featured brands will include Pirate’s Grog Rum, Bubbleology and Chipotle and although the event is full, we’ve got tickets for two lucky winners – all you have to do is retweet us here by 5pm Wednesday 17th and we’ll announce the results. Alternatively you can still put your name down on the waitlist in case a space opens up.

We Are Pop Up spoke to Community Director of Yelp in London Alex Shebar before the event to get the lowdown on what’s in store for lucky Yelp users.

hair event

Hi Alex, tell us about Yelp and why you’re doing Not Another Hair Event. 

Yelp is a city guide that helps you live like a local, no matter if you’re new to the area or if you’ve been in your city your entire life. You can find amazing restaurants, bars, stores, even things like cinemas, theatre, sports, doctors, parks and more. It’s unlike any other site out there because it’s focused on the people who live, work and play in the city they live in. We’re running the Not Another Hair Event to show all these things off. It’s at Not Another Salon, which this amazing, bright, colourful salon in Brick Lane that’s worth checking out, and then filling the party with great local businesses like espresso martinis and bubble tea and burritos and wine and so much more. If you’ve never been to a Yelp event before, come! And if you don’t have the app yet, download it here now. It will make your day-to-day life so much more fun.

o (2)

Why did you choose to work with Not Another Salon and We Are Pop Up for this event? 

Not Another Salon is this amazing salon that really, truly, isn’t like any other salon, from both the decor to the staff. It’s one of these spots you really have to see to feel how cool and different they are, and we wanted to promote that. And then working with We Are Pop Up was a no-brainer. They have some of the best pop-ups happening in London and some really amazing local businesses. We wanted to show them off too, and absolutely have them at our party!

o (3)

What are you most looking forward to about the evening? What can we expect?

The whole event is going to be a good time, from the food, to the drinks, to the salon activities to just the people. If you’ve never been to a Yelp event before, you’ve never met a friendlier bunch of local Londoners. You’ll come, try new things, see a fantastic space, learn about local spots and meet new people. What’s not to love?

Check out the Yelp London events page for gigs, talks, tea, classes and more.



We Are Pop Up x Kiva Zip: Unite & Conquer!

In December, We Are Pop Up attended Kiva’s Zip’s New York City launch. We’d heard about Kiva’s international work, but when we saw what they were doing in New York, We Are Pop Up was blown away. Aside from the fact that Bill Clinton was the keynote speaker and the event was being held in the beautiful IAC building, we were excited to attend the launch because Kiva is an organization whose values mirror our own, creating a democratic marketplace that sparks entrepreneurs, neighborhoods and cities. Kiva Zip is a peer-to-peer microlending platform where entrepreneurs can raise money from friends and family as well as Kiva’s generous community of  more than 1.1 million potential lenders. The lending model opens up capital to business owners regardless of established credit or how long they’ve been in business. And, there’s zero percent interest! Kiva NYC has already connected thousands of small-dollar lenders to 300 local entrepreneurs.

Today, we’re excited to announce a partnership between We Are Pop Up and Kiva Zip. Over the next year, we’ll be working with Kiva’s New York team to open up retail opportunities throughout the city. At the same time, we’ll help the We Are Pop Up community take advantage of Kiva’s zero-interest loans. By joining forces, We Are Pop Up and Kiva will fortify their entrepreneurial communities to build and scale businesses more quickly. Lenders will also be able to sponsor ShopShare opportunities for their Kiva borrowers. Two of our foodie entrepreneurs, TrySome and Especially Puglia, already took advantage of the P2P lending opportunity to raise $10,000 quickly, and with none of the nonsense interest. They then reinvested those loans into their innovative food startups. To learn more about Kiva Zip’s zero-interest loans, check out Questions, comments, want to slow clap in celebration? Shoot We Are Pop Up Managing Director Greg Spielberg an email at or give a ring at 207-522-6715.



WAPU teams up with Modalyst to bring you dropshipping magic

You’ve popped up in the heart of Manhattan. Then load out day comes, and now what? You’ve gotten your press, made bunch of sales, engaged your community, gotten lots of social media love and pretty pictures. So what’s next? Through our partnership with Modalyst, turnkey dropshipping!

Dropshipping is one of the best ways to complement the brick and mortar experience and help you maintain sales when your store is closed. Not only will dropshipping offer you a way to sell off your excess inventory but it will help you widen your customer base by teaming up with e-commerce sites to market your brand. But after an exhausting pop up, who has the energy to start reaching out to e-commerce sites and pitch their collection?

Enter Modalyst. Founded in 2012, this B2B marketplace saw such an increase in dropshipping requests they recently released new technology that allow online stores to easily add brands to their sites. As a brand you can bulk upload your collection and immediately make it available to thousands of online stores. With the Modalyst Shopify app, retailers can add your collection to their store in one click. It’s so easy that more than 90% of Modalyst brands have been picked up by e-commerce sites all over the world. Currently their marketplace consists of close 10,000 stores and nearly 700 brands that are members of the community.

dropshipping modalyst we are pop up

Dropshipping with Modalyst is an effective way to increase your distribution without having to hire a sales team. Similar to a pop up where brands benefit from the established customer base, staff and POS of the retail location, members of Modalyst have access to thousands of retailers and a backend tool to manage and organize all orders. In fact, much of the process is automated so one can easily manage hundreds of retailer relationships, keep buyers updated on new products and stock levels, plus process orders in seconds. For example, when an online order is placed for one of your products, the retailer will pay you directly and you will automatically receive all info needed including the customer’s shipping address.

After effectively capturing your local audience and building customer engagement through your pop up, dropshipping will help create a seasonless selling and marketing opportunity. As part of our partnership, Modalyst is offering WAPU brands a discount on the membership, so mention WAPU in your sign up to learn more! Get started with your free trial on Modalyst here.


Creative retail is now more important than the Internet

On Monday, We Are Pop Up Managing Director Greg Spielberg penned a guest post for WPP-owned global branding agency Brand Union. In his story, Greg revisits a 1996 Harvard Business Review roundtable highlighting the promise of a new innovation: The Internet. As we enter 2016, the 20th anniversary of the HBR roundtable, Spielberg writes that creative retail replaces the Internet as the most interactive form of brand marketing. He points to retail projects from Kiva to Glade, TicTail to Kit & Ace, Refinery 29 to Microsoft.

“Creative retail strategies architect memorable experiences that help consumers understand the world around them and generate product sales. They create stories in real life that allow consumers to participate as actual “people” rather than users, viewers, readers or listeners. There are two primary types of creative retail executions: 1) Nonfiction, or community-based and 2) Fiction, or imagination-based.” Read the full story at Brand Union.

We Are Pop Up chats with Of Mercer, ModaBox, Snowe Home and IMBY at Social Retail Summit

In January, we moderated the Social Retail Summit in New York. A quick recap of what we learned from #bosses Of Mercer Founder Emelyn Northway, ModaBox Founder Monica Phromsavanh, SNOWE Founder Rachel Cohen and IMBY Founder Sara Weinreb.
of-mercer-we-are-pop-upOf Mercer
Of Mercer started as an e-commerce destination for women where you can show off at work and at play. Within two years, the Wharton grads decided to open a brick and mortar in Manhattan’s Flatiron District. And, instead of filling the entire space with nothing but products, Of Mercer saved space for communal work desks, a place to drink wine, coffee and host events. The result is a blossoming community with high-profile guests and WOM out the wazoo. Check out Of Mercer.


What do you do when you’ve built a multimillion-dollar business? Shut down the store, of course! That’s what Monica Phromsavanh did with her 4,000 square-foot store ModaListas in 2014. Phromsavanh saw a brighter future in personal styling and a small footprint, so she launched the 400 sq-ft ModaBox at South Street Seaport. Not just a shop, ModaBox is the flagship for a personal styling network that connects buyers with professional fashionistas. Outfits are shipped directly to your home, and if you need to, you can head to the shop. Go see ModaBox.


SNOWE Founder Rachel Cohen is incredibly selective in where, and when, she pops up. SNOWE’s collaborations with Cuyana and Pop Up Flea keep the e-commerce brand’s image as pure as the driven …. . Cohen’s in no rush to take the beloved curator of home goods and decor offline. She’s perfecting her merchandising and shipping strategy, but we can’t wait until we see her curation IRL. Go snowhome.


We first met Sara Weinreb when IMBY popped up at the Refinery Hotel through We Are Pop Up earlier this year. IMBY’s cut from a different cloth, curating capsule collections of Made-in-America designers. Except instead of the lumberjack vibe, IMBY’s brands toe the line between athleisure and cocktail fashion. Check out the IMBY collection and visit them on We Are Pop Up.


Blog button



Food entrepreneurs, pop up at Artists & Fleas in Williamsburg and reach 2,000 for just $50 per day

We Are Pop Up is teaming up with Artists & Fleas to offer foodie entrepreneurs an incredible pop up opportunity. Sunday, Feb 28, showcase your delicious creations at Artists & Fleas in Williamsburg. This event is a unique opportunity for your brand to promote your treats to Artist & Fleas’ extensive shopper base and expand your network of fellow snack entrepreneurs! The Brooklyn market attracts more than 2,000 hungry visitors each weekend. You can also book Saturday Feb 27 to take part in the classic Artists & Fleas. Book Snack to the Future. Book Artists & Fleas Food Booth for weekend days outside of the 27th. Public hours are 10am to 7pm. 

Snack to the Future opportunity and prizes
Participants will set up a booth at Artists & Fleas where they can sell their snacks for one or two days that weekend. During the event market shoppers will follow a “snack trail” through the market and sample a wide selection of nibbles and bites along the way before voting for their favorites. Based on these votes, one lucky vendor will receive the Snack to the Future prize, a free-selling day at the Artists & Fleas Brooklyn market (a $125 value) that can be used for any weekend date prior to May 1st, 2016.

Here’s what you need to pop up as a food entrepreneur at Artists & Fleas
1. A scanned jpg or pdf copy of DoH food handler’s permit/Food Protection Certificate.
2. A scanned copy or letter from the production facility where you operate.
3. A Temporary Mobile Food Vending Permit from the Dept of Consumer Affairs – only if you’d like to pop up outside. You don’t need this if you’re inside :).

Blog button