CouCo’s pop-up shop – The creative concept company behind PLAYN Eyewear


Meet CouCo- our new creative concept company:

CouCo: Introducing sustainable boutique brands and a variety of products all of which are handmade and new to the UK. Co-Founded by cousins Lisa and Tess.


 “What’s special about CouCo is our hands on approach in selecting the brands we bring on board. We make a point of meeting the makers in person and on location to confirm that we share the same values and principles. This is the only way we can vouch for the products and all that they stand for.” Tess, CouCo Co-founder

CouCo proudly presents: PLAYN– maker of eco-friendly, handcrafted, designer eyewear in collaboration with CM AOX, creators of revolutionary gadget and fashion accessories, which are produced and hand finished in London.

After three successful pop-up shops in East London, including the running of the “smallest shop in the world” they have returned to Boxpark this time for a six-week pop-up shop!


We would now like to share and celebrate the success we have had in the past months and would like to cordially invite you:

Join us for drinks and music by Bailey Intabeats on Thursday 14th Nov 6pm-9pm PLAYN Eyewear at Boxpark Unit 17, Bethnal Green Road, London E1 6GY


If you can’t make Thursday, no problem come by another day, we will be there till Sunday 24th November!

Lisa & Tess

We interviewed Couco last summer about their pop-up journey.

Read about their adventures in short-term space »

How curation is changing the way commercial property works

At We Are Pop Up HQ we’ve been talking a lot about curation recently. Our most popular spaces – the ones opening their doors consistently to the brilliant projects listed on We Are Pop Up – are proving there is a new model for short-term use of space. It’s making a killing. At the heart of most of these projects are entrepreneurs – stand out individuals with real vision.

Often inspired by financial requirements, some inspirational space managers are starting to intensify their use of space and shift their focus from selling space to selling time in space. This is bringing a new set of capabilities into commercial property and has made room for a new role: that of programmer – or curator. We love the idea that the answer to many commercial property problems lie in the creative, flexible and collaborative.

These forward-thinking space curators are proving that space can be re-conceived as a platform in itself. Suddenly, spaces are able to host multiple projects simultaneously, transition quickly and constantly re-invent themselves. The history of a shop is now shaping so quickly that even the most agile data companies have no factual data on what occurs month-to-month. This is a brand new concern, thanks to the pace and innovative power of today’s businesses. Pop-up is breaking things.

As a result our community of projects can access bigger and better spaces, in bigger and better locations. Previously inaccessible units, spaces that were too large or too expensive, are finally becoming porous.

This month we support the launch of Camden Town Unlimited’s new space: Collective 159 on Camden High Street. 3,000 square feet which intends to host dozens of projects per month, simultaneously. We are helping place tenants in a new, massive and sharable retail space on Shoreditch High Street. The economics and capabilities of short-term commercial space are changing quickly, writing entirely unique stories for uses of space. We are watching it all happen, and looking forward to capturing as many of these stories as we can.

– Clara Maguire

At We Are Pop Up, Clara helps commercial space managers connect with a community of unique brands and businesses. 

5 Questions with Designer Jumble Sale – Pop Up Shop Interview

What is your pop-up history to date? Where have you been and how long have you been in operation?

I began hosting one-day charity sales during London Fashion Week, popping up at a stunning Edwardian Gothic church in Marble Arch, called The Church of the Annunciation, while at home with two small children. I had worked at for 12 years, so I asked all my old friends to donate their fashion cast-offs and the British Fashion Council very kindly put us on the London Fashion Week events schedule. I wanted to go back to work once my children had both started school, so I decided to launch a profit-making arm of the business, so that I could also continue to run the charity sales every six months. With my brother’s help, I won my first rent-free popup shop in December 2012, in a competition run by retail agent Farebrother, on Lambs Conduit Street. What a fantastic launchpad! We were lucky enough to be there for 5 months. Next we are taking part in a community project in Willesden Green from 30 May… and then on to Camden.

Why pop up?

I want to communicate a message about the longevity of good craftsmanship, ethical fashion and sustainability in a fun and friendly environment – and rather than expecting customers to come to me, I want to go to them! We aim to pop up in new places every 3 months.

Why did you decide to enter the Collective Competition?

It was a no-brainer: Camden is a great fit for our offering – think Camden, think secondhand clothes; it is a very vibrant street; and Camden Collective and WeArePopup are very good at what they do.

What can people expect to find in the Collective shop during your spot?

The Designer Jumble Sale is a collection of high quality secondhand clothes and accessories, curated by a member of the fashion industry (ahem… *blush*… me). Brands include classics like Schiaparelli, YSL, and Dior, alongside Best-of-British brands like Rupert Sanderson, Bill Amberg, MCQueen and Terry de Havilland. Adam Hill of Retrouvius will be loaning us some fantastic salvaged furniture and Tamsin Flower of will be showcasing her beautiful vintage Moroccan carpets, too. No neophiles here, folks.

How would you incorporate 300 bananas, 5 tons of golden syrup, and 2 peacocks into a future pop up?

I would commission Hussein Chalayan, Stephen Jones and Jean-Pierre Braganza to help me make something deliciously sculptural out of crystalised syrup and feathers. The bananas would be required for energy. It is part of the Designer Jumble Sale message: a LOT of work goes into these pieces.

A jewellery designer’s pop-up journey – Gimme That Thing

Story #3 – Gimme That Thing – A jewelery designer’s pop-up journey

Amanda Robins doesn’t take no for an answer.  She designs jewellery in Manchester, and was trading on Etsy and at local artisan markets.  A pop up shop would offer Ms. Robins and fellow artisans to an opportunity to showcase their work, and meet new customers.  The process was not easy, and she discovered a variety of friction points along the way.

In the end, her entrepreneurial spirit won out and Handmade Local became one of Manchester’s first pop-up shops.  The success of Handmade Local also helped a letting agent secure a long-term tenant for a property which had sat vacant for over a year…

“This March, I ran my own pop up shop, Handmade Local, in Didsbury, Manchester and included the creations of over twenty local artists / designers. I stocked fine art, ceramics, handknitted fashion, retro baby clothes, soaps, lotions and potions, cards, fibre art, craft kits, quirky soft toys and a whole heap more.

Heaps of pop up shop wares via Gimme That Thang

“It was open for 5 weeks, a couple weeks longer than I was looking for, but this was the shortest time that the landlord would rent the premises for. A difficult thing for me as the organiser was to find shop contents insurance for that short period. I ended up being covered by a company who specialise in artists’ cover.

Two days before the Handmade Local pop up shop opened:

The shop before opening

“This is the shop once it had been dressed:

 The Dressed Shop

“The most difficult aspect of this venture was actually finding premises. Pop up shops are practically unheard of in this area and it took me a year to find a landlord or estate agent who was willing to accommodate me. None of them would let premises for less than three years. My shop, which had laid empty for over a year, was viewed via the agent while it was in my hands and consequently it is now being rented out on a long-term lease.

Beautiful items from Gimme That Thang on Etsy

Paris Earrings, Vintage-Style Eiffel Tower Glass Retro Jewelry

“As a jewellery designer I was able to sell my own items and promote the artisan markets that I take part in each month.  I now have several repeat customers from the strength of running Handmade Local.”


Gimme That Thing

5 Questions with Agnes & Lola – Pop Up Shop Interview


What is your pop-up history to date? Ex. Where have you been and how long have you been in operation?

This is our first physical pop-up event. Prior to this, we have been exclusively online.

Why pop up?

It is an opportunity to meet our customers in person and also to introduce our unique collection to a new audience. Face-to-face interaction generates a different closeness with the customer that is not always possible online.

Why did you decide to enter the Collective Competition?

Firstly, the area was perfect as we love Camden. I remember going to Camden when I was younger, and getting some vibrant t-shirts and vintage garb. It is one of those areas that encourages individual, off-beat design and has never lost its unique atmosphere, be it the vintage stores or the art print stores. We felt that it would be ideal for our first pop-up store as our styles are unique and fit into the overall vibe of the area.

What can people expect to find in the Collective shop during your spot?

They can expect a variety of fashion options that they will not be able to get elsewhere…for the men, we have print shirts with tapestry dog motifs and the most awesome print swimming trunks. Whilst for the women, we have hand-painted patch bra-tops and skirts which were inspired by the graffiti artist Mr Brainwash and hand-beaded 20’s style Ankara dresses with a leather flared hem, to name a few!

How would you incorporate 300 bananas, 5 tons of golden syrup, and 2 peacocks into a future pop up?

It would have to be used in an outdoor pop-up event inspired by the fashion of Josephine Baker and Carmen Miranda. The bananas will help recreate the famous banana skirt worn by Josephine Baker and some of Carmen Miranda’s hats which can be worn by hosts and gifted to guests. Of course, I’ll need more ingredients to make them but the bananas are a good start. For the syrup, I think it would come in useful for making some experimental cocktails and ice-cream dessert sauces to serve around! As we’re outdoors, the peacocks will be free to do what they do best and roam about, proudly displaying their feathers. Maybe we could have a photo booth so guests can take photos with the peacock…that would be quite tricky to manage though.

Pop Up Shop Interview: 5 Questions with Pop Up Ping Pong

What is your pop-up history to date?

Pop Up Ping Pong has been in operation since the beginning of this year plotting our first pop up. Our launch event had such a great turnout with a classic American frat party vibe, people just turned out in their masses and made the most of what we had – Ping Pong tables, cheap booze, awesome street food burgers by #BRGR ( and shaped the party as much as we did to make it happen. So at one point we had people asking if they could put together some tables so they can set up a Beer Pong match, without knowing too much about the rules or the consequences we rustled up whatever we had in storage and put out a make shift table and watched the ants take over the ant hill! We’ve incorporated Beer Pong ever since as testament to our first customers and you can come to any of our pop ups now and see hulking crowds teeming over our dedicated tables complete with regulation markings. So that’s how the story goes, and we’ve been popping up and at ‘em ever since!

Why pop up?

*Rolls sleeves up* Pop Up is the way of the future. As I heard Daniel Young ( pop up entrepreneur once say, and I quote, ‘pop up restaurants are restaurants with no walls’. This applies to any pop up business or art. We are obliged never to settle and always aspire to create a new experience for our customers. This agenda is simply dictated by the economics of having ‘no walls’. As a pop up you’re not burdened with the overheads of rents, gas, electricity, wages, but for the period in which you use your space. You are only committed to use your space as long as you wish and this gives us the freedom to create. It almost forces you to be artistic and ‘things to do’ in London are better for it!

Why did you decide to enter the Collective Competition?

This may sound a little evangelical but we thought with a high street location we could really do something special for that part of Camden High Street. We’ve spoken a little about this at Pop Up Ping Pong and we’ve always loved the idea of Camden. It’s a hotchpotch of what’s trendy and cool and there’s always something a little bit romantic about that. Problem is it’s not always been that accessible for the rest of us! Koko has been a shining beacon on one end of the high street in that respect. They always have something good on that you can see with friends or on a date but somewhere along the middle of the high street the buzz dwindles and we think we can add to it with a bit of sparkle. People often meet for the first time over a game of ping pong at our events and that’s quirky but we like it!

What can people expect to find in the Collective shop during your spot?

The PUPP Shack is a boutique-style ping-pong pop-up parlour featuring one Olympic-sized table combined with a street food diner offering dainty and delicious sliders by mini burger purveyors #BRGR. They use the finest ingredients, with their golden brioche buns sourced from Miller’s of Wimbledon and their grass-fed beef from The Ginger Pig butchers. A drinks bar will also be featured, with the legendary PUPP beer pong table (complete with regulation size and cup markings) making a stalwart appearance alongside it. Throughout the course of the four-day pop-up, expect events ranging from sporting competitions with prizes to ping-pong masterclasses and more.

How would you incorporate 300 bananas, 5 tons of golden syrup and 2 peacocks into a future pop up?

It would be a Charlie and the Chocolate Factory/Great Gatsby themed extravaganza no doubt!

Pop Up Shop Stories: Pop Up Ping Pong

Pop Up Shop Story #1 – Pop Up Ping Pong – Humble beginnings…

Nesma and Amin love ping pong.  They started sharing that passion with their local neighbourhood in London.  Other enthusiasts responded, and there’s now a series of Pop Up Ping Pong parties – complete with their own soundtrack.  They collaborate with London favourites #BRGR for epic burger pong nights…

 (This is being written to epic background music: Bloc Party – The Pioneers (M83 Remix))

Once upon a time, Nesma and Amin were super-competitive about Ping Pong.

Bats were thrown, tears were shed, but the love for the game grew stronger. As with any passion you want to share it and so we set about doing just that. Without any resources being obviously available to us we began to beg, borrow, wheel and deal!

And thus, we became Pop Up Ping Pong.

Pop Up Ping Pong Paddles

What we didn’t realise was that our humble beginnings were also our greatest strengths. Our local neighbourhood rallied around to lend us their unloved tables, a local landlord of a certain disused venue got in touch, and even our online followers contributed to our Collaborative Playlist on Spotify. We had ourselves a party!

Our passion has since turned into a business and our bricks and mortar competitors don’t let us forget it! They can take our Red Solo Cups, Beer Pong and Unlimited playtime – but they can never take away our freedom!

We are a party with no walls – no rents or wages. We are free to be original and create.

So we only have one thing to say to everyone: “POP UP!”

An Epic Burger Ping Pong Paddle

Pop Up Ping Pong is looking for a pop-up space in London.  [ Full details ]


We Are Pop Up’s pop up shop stories tells stories from the community about popups, supperclubs, exibitions, and events.  Share yours…

Pop up shop interview: 5 Questions with Atomica Gallery

Atomica Gallery is the first of four pop-up experiences coming to Camden High Street for the month of June. Winners of the Camden Collective Pop Up Shop competition, Atomica Gallery owners Holly Lander and Orla Bennett have shared their ideas about Pop-ups, Camden High Street and life as a pop-up with us!

What is your pop-up history to date? Ex. Where have you been and how long have you been in operation?

From the get-go Atomica was always planning to be a permanent gallery and shop, but as the idea started to take shape it made sense to do some sort of test trading to see if people would like the concept and the artists we planned on showing, so we launched Atomica as a three week pop-up in December 2012. The pop-up was alot of fun and gave us the confidence and collateral to open up our new permanent space which is located Hackney. Atomica pop-ups are still on the horizon though – we are very excited about our week in Camden at The Camden Collective and we would like to do more around London this year and possibly in other parts of the UK. Maybe even one in America in the next few years!

Why pop up?

Its a great way to expose what you are doing and get a feel for different audiences.

Why did you decide to enter the Collective Competition?

We love Camden, we grew up going to gigs and and spent alot of our teenage years hanging out there. When we heard about the competition we jumped at the opportunity to do our second Atomica pop-up there. It is great opportunity to be part of one of our favorite parts of town and having the chance at a rent free space for a week on a busy high street is something we didn’t want to miss.

What can people expect to find in the Collective shop during your spot?

People can expect to see under-exposed contemporary artists, illustrators and lowbrow weirdness from around the world. We specialise in beautifully framed affordable art, as well as books, magazines and collectable, artist made objects.

How would you incorporate 300 bananas, 5 tons of golden syrup, and 2 peacocks into a future pop up?

We would ask an artist to do a massive artwork on the floor with all the items, make a time lapse and show the video in the pop up “Art Attack” style.

And here’s a bit more information directly from Atomica Gallery about their launch.

The facebook event is here:

Music: DJ Paskal from Rough & Tough crew will be spinning classic ska and reggae vinyl

Drinks: Sailor Jerry are sponsoring the event and will be providing rum cocktails

Atomica’s launch will also feature the debut of Honest Brew’s “We Are Pop Up x Camden Collective” brew!

Atomica Gallery @ Camden Collective

Follow Atomica Gallery on Twitter

Follow Camden Collective on Twitter

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Pop Up Restaurant Competition: PipsDish Pop Up Challenge

For three nights, PipsDish in Islington is hosting three of London’s hottest rising pop-up restaurateurs.

LONDON — MAY 13, 2013 — We Are Pop Up announces The PipsDish Pop-Up Challenge.  Over three evenings in May, three of London’s hottest new chefs showcase their talents at a Citroëngarage in Islington.

PipsDish is run by culinary dream team Philip ‘Pip’ Dundas and Mary Doherty.  They originally opened PipsDish in 2011 as a temporary restaurant that was hidden in plain sight.  In March 2013, Dundas announced that Pips Dish would finally be leaving the Citroën garage.  But first, he wanted to give a few of London’s leading underground chefs the chance to shine.

In partnership with We Are Pop Up, PipsDish took open applications from a wide variety of chefs.  Today, we are pleased to announce the three winners of the PipsDish Pop-Up Challenge:

The Best of Italy by AMooseBush – Tuesday, 21 May 2013

In the spirit of their grandparents, Nonna Bianca and Nonno Giuseppe, AMooseBush is a foursome of family members who are on a singular mission to champion regional Italian dishes that have been handed down through the family.

Pisco Fuego by Cult Events – Wednesday, 22 May 2013

Inspired by the cuisine and culture of Buenos Aries, Lima, Mexico City, and Santiago, Pisco Fuego is a dining experience that brings authentic Latin American zing, zest, and charcoal-grilled goodness to the streets of London.

Cult Event’s chef Ian Ballantyne said: “We’ve created an immersive experience that mixes classic asado barbecue cookery with modern street art and live music, all served in a beautifully set-designed venue.”

Azonto Banquet by Zoe’s Ghana Kitchen – Friday, 24 May 2013

Chef Zoe Adjonyoh creates “Haute Ghanaian” culinary events that merge the Ghanaian roots with a contemporary dining experience. Born from a pop-up Ghanaian restaurant during the Hackney Wicked Arts Festival in 2011, Zoe’s Ghana Kitchen has become a favourite of London foodies.

Zoe recently collaborated with Diesel in London, hosting a temporary kitchen at Soho’s Diesel Village pop-up.  Her underground success is also taking her to continental Europe, where she recently popped-up in Berlin. Ghanalicious.

Tickets for all evenings are available now through Edible Experiences:


Media Contact:

Mike Salter

Co-Founder, We Are Pop Up

+44 (0) 7590 119625;

Pop Up Shop Story: The National Theatre Propstore is Back!

Open this weekend on London’s South Bank, the National Theatre Propstore is back for its second and final installment  The concept may sound simple: props and scenery from recent National Theatre productions are displayed as part of a temporary cafe/bar. But as last year’s @NTPropstore fans already know ( and this year’s are soon to discover ) the effect achieved by the sensitive curation of the props, and the fact that literally everything is structurally or superficially built of them, makes the space feel familiar and curious at once. True to its theatrical nature, it lights up the Southbank impressively after dark – a serious beacon for anyone looking east from a bus over Waterloo Bridge.


We’re taking you with us behind the scenes to visit the Propstore while the space is still in production. If you’re as investigative as we are, you probably also find it hard to shake a fascination with ‘what’s behind the curtain’ in live performances and films. Maybe we want a part of the story that somehow feels more authentic, or a way to engage more directly with the mysteries; in either case, watching the Propstore develop before our eyes is trippy.

The Propstore launched for the first time in London’s Olympic Summer 2012 and was a huge hit. At the moment, we are surrounded by false walls, toilets-that-aren’t-toiletstiny trains‘trees’ rolled in ‘grass’ like giant fake sushi rolls and a space-age floor.

Mark Simpson, head of catering at the National Theatre, explains that this year’s installment serves the dual-purpose of acting as a facade of sorts. Construction and development is taking place just behind the Propstore throughout the rest of the year for a new mainstay National Theatre project.

We’re walking through a space made of fake stuff, which is also a functional false wall for the Theatre itself… and it all disappears by the end of the year. It feels weird to think it, but we’re overcome by the sense that The Propstore is actually making magic happen. While the opening night is yet upon us, we eagerly look forward to the next transformation about to take place.

The Propstore is open until the 28th of September 2013, and you can visit the National Theatre to find out more about what’s ‘in store’.

You can also see the rest of our journey depicted in photos.

And we just caught this great review by Lauren Laverne interviewing the Propstore’s producer and designer.