Hot Pop Up Shops: Global Edition – The Garage in Fairfax, California

Nestled at the foot of Mt. Tamalpais not far north of San Francisco, Fairfax, California, has long been a small but thriving enclave of artists, musicians, and creative makers of all kinds. Pop-ups may be becoming common in large cities, but it is in the smaller communities where they can often have the biggest impact. The Garage opened this past weekend in Fairfax, and looks to be a shining example of how pop ups can enable sustainable, localized shopping in communities of any size.

The Garage has come together with all of the right ingredients for a great pop up: a group of passionate makers who want to focus on their craft; a centrally located space that had been sitting unused; a region which has long embraced creativity, sustainability, and local commerce (Fairfax has even adopted its own currency, the Fairbuck!). The founders of The Garage, Krissy Teegerstrom and Michele Schwartz, had the idea shortly after the annual Sustainable Holiday Crafts Fair in town. They, and many of the other vendors who have joined them, felt that it was a shame that they could only offer their goods in person during the periodic events like the fair, and so in the new year they began the search for a more permanent space.

image

It didn’t take long to come across the former auto repair shop that has been transformed into The Garage, as it was a vacant space sitting at the corner of one of the main intersections in the center of town. Though the property is currently for sale, the owners had an appreciation for the community aspect of the project, and so agreed to lease the space while looking for a buyer. All of the vendors involved pitched in to help transform the empty property into a vibrant, thriving shop space filled with countless personal touches, and on the morning of April 25, The Garage opened for business.

Inside you’ll find:

image

The Garage is open Wednesday – Friday, 12pm to 6pm, and Saturday & Sunday, 11am to 7pm. Located at 2000 Sir Francis Drake Blvd., Fairfax, CA 94930, it’s a great stop on your way to the beautiful Marin coast and countryside, or as a destination unto itself. Founder Krissy Teegerstrom offers some great suggestions for a day in Fairfax on 7×7.

See more of The Garage on our Pinterest board

Pop Up Shop Collaboration Feature: Sharing

Today we are very pleased to announce new features for a concept we find invaluable to the pop-up community: Sharing

Over the past few months we have heard from our incredible community about their experiences finding new pop-up space. As a result, we have built new sharing tools into We Are Pop Up.

Share Your Space button on We Are Pop Up

Sharing A Space

Often times sharing a rented space or bringing in a collaborator for a new space is a great opportunity, but difficult to manage. Now anyone can extend a property to the community of great individuals and brands currently looking for short-term space on We Are Pop Up.

Why this is awesome:

– Anyone currently renting pop-up space can easily find a collaborator

– Anyone running events or short-term shops can now extend the opportunity to hundreds of exciting UK businesses currently listed on We Are Pop Up

– Agents, landlords or space managers can quickly find a great pop-up business that are ready to move in soon

To get started with a pop-up collaboration, log on to We Are Pop Up and (if you have not already) create a project. There is now a new option to add a space.

Add the details of a property and see a list of great brands looking for space in your area with the click of a button.

Ready for the next step? Make contact with an inspiring brand directly via We Are Pop Up!

Sharing Your Projects And Space Requests

image

We want it to be easy for all of our businesses to generate buzz and support for everything they do on We Are Pop Up. Now there is an easy way to share your ideas with the world and connect with people who have open space.

A set of social buttons now accompanies all of your projects. These enable the community show support for projects and will have a positive impact on offers to potential landlords and collaborators.

We help too by sharing your great projects on our networks and including you as part of our community pages.

We look forward to hearing what you think about these new updates.  And we’re excited to starting sharing your fabulous projects with the world!

For a more in-depth guide to how our new features work and to ask us any questions about the process directly, you can join our Forum and FAQs.

Pop Up Shop Community Event: Pop Up Meet Up PipsDish

This past wednesday, March 6th we were joined by vibrant members of London’s underground and independent cooking community to celebrate the ethos and ideas that motivate innovation in the kitchen. We were delighted to host the evening at PipsDish, a wonderful space tucked away behind Upper Street in Islington in a converted Citroen Garage.

All too often, we speak to people who have a wonderful idea for a foodie pop-up, but who get stuck when it comes to making it happen. Or perhaps they have been running a successful Supper Club in their home for a while, but are unsure how to take it to the next level.

We decided it was time to address these questions head-on. So for this Pop Up Meet Up we invited some of our most admired restauranteurs, who have grown their businesses from humble pop-up beginnings to more established movements and asked them to share their stories.

Our panelists for the evening were Philip Dundas of PipsDish, Martin Morales of Ceviche, and Cynthia Shanmugalingam of Kitchenette, the UK’s first food business incubator. Laura Day of Digest Magazine played compere for the evening and conversation lubrication came in the form of 2 ridiculously tasty wines supplied by A Grape Night In.

“Not for the faint-hearted” (Philip Dundas)

Starting up your own restaurant is serious business. Philip and Martin shared their personal journeys – ‘cooking for friends and family’ at first, and then asking for referrals until they were filling rooms entirely with newcomers. Using the pop-up model, Kitchenette looks to give emerging cooks the tools necessary to get their ideas out of the house and into the world.

Philip made an insightful point: “pop-up is entrepreneurship,” an ideal way to ease into bigger projects, build a community and develop a business plan. Having been through an accelerator program, we here at We Are Pop Up completely support a model which triumphs speed and access to new resources. Projects like Kitchenette are great for exposure and can facilitate growth in unexpected and exciting ways.

How Do You Take The Next Steps?

The panel uniformly agreed that ‘waiting for the perfect opportunity’ to take the next step could mean you miss a number of chances to innovate and develop. Don’t wait – mortgage your house, borrow your friend’s lounge, steal crockery from neighbours and spread the word. Reveal your passion for food, look after your guests and remember why it is you embarked on the adventure in the first place – the journey is more rewarding than the destination.

“Then you start inviting the ‘sneezers’,” that is: the bloggers and writers whose every nasal expulsion makes news. Having people in the room with clout and reach will help extend your network and your story. Whilst asking directly for reviews or a big news break may seem like the obvious outcome, simply asking for their impressions, ideas and suggestions for your project will help lay the foundation for meaningful long-lasting relationships.

What Are You Waiting For?

Philip’s recent “Opportunities For Cooks” post hits on some great upcoming opportunities for food entrepreneurs at PipsDish. We will be announcing more details about the application process towards the end of the month. Make sure you’re signed up to wearepopup.com to receive updates via email.

Further impressions of #PUMU: The Effervescent Collective reviews the evening.

The Shop is dead. Long live the shop.

Pop-Down Square Cinema Area, Mike Lim, Shoichi Sado, Olivia Wright and Isobel Davies @PopDownSquare

Good article in The Times this weekend by Matthew-Paris about the future of shopping.

The internet changes how we buy and think, but old memes and behaviours take time to change:

“Thus we suppose that shopping and walking are somehow connected, and Americans suppose that shopping and driving are somehow connected. And everyone thinks a shop is a place — a place in a place; a place you go to and, being a place in a place you go to, will thus be either a specialist shop in a mixed cluster, or a “supermarket” or “department store” with the cluster under one roof. The news that these places can now be virtual, accessed on your screen, hardly needs to be laboured. “

As the role of the shop – a place in a place – changes, so no doubt will the way we search, select and transact real spaces. Does it alter the value of space? Does it change the ability or desire to ‘sell’ in real spaces? Whilst an increasing number of our transactions become virtual, our desire to meet and experience the real world, real things, real people, real products seems more permanent than the ‘form’ this engagement might take.

Thats where WeArePopUp.com can help. By enabling people to say what they mean by a shop – by allowing people to propose what a ‘shop’ should be – for what use, over what time at what price, with what activity with which collaborators.

“But still that hand from the past grips us… [finally] online shops (though not online shopping) will prove — like the out-of-town shopping centres that the internet killed, like the traditional high streets that the shopping centres killed, and like the street vendors and markets that the high streets killed — merely transitional.”

Offline shops are changing but activity, offline shopping, will transition to new forms – the shop is dead, long live the shop.

Pop up shop interview: Think Inside The BOXPARK

On November 9th 2012, we began taking entries for a competition we were hosting with BOXPARK. We had never seen a Tweet generate so much interest as:

“Enter to win 3 months FREE at BOXPARK! http://wearepopup.com/boxpark  via @wearepopup

As is clear by the number of great contestants submitting applications, BOXPARK  is an incredibly innovative place to be and an exciting challenge for brands and retailers. BOXPARK has opened up a powerful and valuable opportunity for an independent business – at no rental cost and proven to us that they are willing to mix things up and see what happens. We love that attitude, and were curious about what the current BOXPARK retailers had to say about life in a shipping container in Shoreditch, and what advice they had to give to someone about to move in.

image

King from Thai And Lao Street Food (@THAIandLAO).

Thai and Lao Street Food, located on the upper deck in unit 53, started 12 years previously on Brick Lane serving honest and homemade food-to-order out of a van. Manager King explained that the restaurant has always been and will always remain a family-run, owned and managed business.

Thai and Lao Street Food moved into BOXPARK four months before and continues to uphold powerful tenets: keep it simple, focus on your product, and keep it fresh. Thai and Lao never pre-cooks anything, as King mentioned, “We get people who come in and expect us to already have food on the go, or just hand them something. We say, ‘there’s nothing to try until you order it!’ ” Whilst this style of food service might surprise some customers, it also helps expose new and unique attitudes to the local community.

King shared that being in the heart of Shoreditch has been encouraging, “the people are great – they know about food. We are surrounded by a mix of everything from artists to business owners. It’s young and fresh, and you really have everything in one place.” As we met with more BOXPARK businesses, King’s sentiment was echoed and proved itself as one of the keys to understanding exactly how BOXPARK Shoreditch operates.

Find Thai And Lao at BOXPARK even today, and connect with them on Facebook and on Twitter.

 

image

Aleks from Abuze London (@abuzeldn).

Next, we met with Aleks, the owner and creative director from Abuze London, in Unit 35. We learned about Abuze London’s 10-year history, conceived by a group of friends as a way to turn their passion for graffiti and street-art into quality crafted clothing. Aleks explained, “we turned our life around to start this business. We were a large crew of graffiti writers and we came together to invest in a product.” Their shop at BOXPARK was the first physical location. And Aleks explained why, “It can be incredibly hard to find investment for designer brands that are managed by designers. It was a real struggle to get the investment together to take this space at BOXPARK… but now we are one of the top stores.”

Abuze London’s designs and artwork are heavily steeped in a history of London Street Art, and the traditions of stenciling, cut-out and spray paint could be traced throughout the shop’s fit-out. We asked if it was challenging to consider interior, physical space, having been dedicated to an online platform. Aleks replied, “Not really. We’re designers and artists, designing the space was easy. Some friends built our display units and we were lucky to be able to make the furniture and space exactly how we wanted it. The vision wasn’t the hard part… finding the money was the problem.”

Despite the extreme challenges associated with setting up shop for the first time, Abuze London was able to increase their sales and brand awareness with their physical space. When asked what advice he would give to a business moving into a physical space for the first time, Aleks replied, “It’s such a huge task. Be driven, and don’t take no for an answer. You’ll get knocked back, but you just have to take it and keep moving forward.”

Visit Abuze London’s online shop and connect on Facebook and on Twitter.

image

 

Amanda from Original Penguin (@penguineurope) and FARAH Vintage (@farahvintage).

Amanda co-managed Original Penguin in Unit 11 and FARAH Vintage in Unit 12, curating their re-fits and product selection. For Amanda, Shoreditch provides the ideal opportunity to showcase vintage-inspired clothing with modern sensibilities. As Amanda explained, “a cool big brand doesn’t necessarily drive traffic to an area. The product and vibe are way more important. It’s about matching your environment well.”  While concepts like “price-point” and “targeting” are important, businesses succeed most by understanding the style and desires of the locale.

Developing a business around these ideas can be difficult, especially as customer and community trends may shift rapidly, or change altogether. With Original Penguin and FARAH, Amanda was able to use this to her advantage, and built into their BOXPARK strategy is an ever-changing interior. “It’s great, we can come in here late in an evening or on low-traffic days. Because the spaces are so compact, we can re-arrange and re-develop the space very quickly. Being small makes it easy to switch it all up.” This also creates opportunities for engagement – with every change comes community announcements and updates.

We asked Amanda why BOXPARK in particular seemed to stand-out as a destination, “It’s surrounded by creativity, and BOXPARK is very open to trying new things out.” We started to understand how adaptation and moving quickly is embedded at the core of BOXPARK, and why shipping containers in particular seemed such a simple way to facilitate these fundamental tenets.

Visit Original Penguin’s website and connect on Facebook and on Twitter.

Visit FARAH Vintage’s website and connect on Facebook and on Twitter

image

Ross Thompson from PUMA Twentyone (@puma).

We took an opportunity to do an old-fashioned Q&A with Ross with great results.

What is your position at PUMA, and what would we find at PUMA’s BOXPARK shop?

My position is Head of Retail for Capitalize Ltd, and we operate the PUMA Twentyone store at Boxpark.  Built around the Boxpark store unit number 21, PUMA Twentyone will see stock refreshed every 21 days and promotions taking place at 21 day intervals.  The concept is illustrated in-store with a menu and countdown board at the entrance, which lists the 21 special and limited editions footwear styles currently available and when new stock arrives.

What is the primary advantage of being a pop-up?

Retailing from a shipping container is a unique concept and it gives businesses the opportunity to display their products in an unusual way.  High streets throughout the UK are all very similar and it is important to have something new and exciting for customers to see.  These are key offers of pop-up.

What are some of the best aspects of being at BOXPARK?

It is interesting seeing how other brands showcase themselves, and to be successful the store has to continue to be exciting to customers.  Being amongst brands who are all trying different ways to appeal to customers promotes a healthy rivalry and pushes each retailer to show their best side.

What are the advantages of being in Shoreditch?

Shoreditch is such a creative area and is really on-point when it comes to fashion.  Having PUMA in Shoreditch helps us showcase the brand to people who care about fashion.  The store is continuously visited by fashion students, fashion bloggers, and people in fashion PR.  A unique concept like PUMA Twentyone has helped us receive many good reviews online by the media.

What advice would you give to someone setting up at BOXPARK for the first time?

The main challenge of the BOXPARK store is the space.  To keep customers interested, stock must be on consistent rotation.  Many customers come back frequently, and we would lose them if the store never changed appearance.  The store has to be simple and refreshed regularly.  Even though big brands might not choose to change their flagship stores as regularly, adaptability is one of the core strengths of the BOXPARK units.

Visit PUMA’s website, on Facebook and on Twitter.

———————-

Maybe it is the proximity and uniformity of the containers, or the fact that the entire mall feels tucked snugly against the Shoreditch Overground Station. What we know for certain is that BOXPARK elegantly captures the potential of what ‘pop-up’ can mean for a businesses: an opportunity to show ingenuity by getting great results within serious constraints, a requirement to be fast and flexible – to think on your toes, to take risks, and most importantly to see restrictions as opportunities.

Many thanks to Abuze London, Thai and Lao Street Food, Penguin Originals, FARAH Vintage, and PUMA for being generous with your time.

And  special thank you to Claudia, Karen and Agee @BOXPARK for helping set up the interviews and supporting the competition.

Welcome To The Future Of Retail – Part One

The State of UK Retail

We have been reading a lot of stories about the current face of the UK retail market. Amidst speculation and concerns about the changing character of post-recession high streets, data published recently has helped disambiguate the situation. Last week, The Local Data Company’s report “Too Many Shops” identified the following shifts in the UK retail sector:

• A decade of lost growth as consumer spending is back to 2002 levels.

• 13% of retail transactions in the UK occur online.  By the late 2010s, 50% of  transactions are expected to occur on mobile devices and VISA’s online platform.

• High Street footfall is down 5% nationally.

Clearly consumer spending is down and already moving from offline to online spending. In the long-term, the proliferation and popularity of mobile devices brings with it the desire to transact in every way possible on the platform. In the short-term, brick-and-mortar retailers have been put under  pressure from online purchasing. Without any model currently in place to mitigate this shift, the type of spending correlates directly to where it is spent. For the moment, online sales does mean sales made outside of physical shop space.

• 1,500 shops per year closed between 2000 – 2009.

• 5,000 shops closed each year in 2010 and 20011.

• 1 in 7 UK shops has fallen vacant.

This sharp rise in shop closures is most commonly attributed to both decreased footfall (and related spending), and consumer consolidation (as more people go to fewer shops). Traditional department stores are being overlooked in favor of independent intermediaries and innovative brand stores. Primary examples like the Apple Store and Niketown have found renewed success through well-crafted  and heavily designed shops. We see the most success in retail shops that are highly engineered  and driven by experiential retail concepts.

• 52% of retail leases expire between now and 2015.

• 6.6 million square feet of new space has been added from 2005 – 2012.

• There are currently 50,000 vacant shops in the UK.

As more space opens up on the property market, consumer patterns change. But shops have trouble changing with them. Long-term leases mean that most shops cannot flex to match the flux. With so little room for competition, pricing adaptation, and innovative strategy, we can expect that retailer mobility will also be on the rise. With half of long-term leases expiring soon there is a good chance that the markets going to be on the move. (Additional information on UK and European retail shifts are available from Matthew Hopkinson’s presentation Multichannel Stat Attack from the Mobile Retail Summit 2012).

Pop-up shops are part of the solution”, said Simon Danczuk MP.

New consumer expectations are driving the rise of short-term “pop-up” retail in the UK and internationally. Made clear by high-fashion and Big Brand shops, consumers desire to associate themselves with products and brands in a more meaningful and creative way. The “pop-up” model facilitates innovative, specialized and (most of all) personalized shopping experiences for a new generation of shoppers.

For retailers, running a pop-up de-risks many common brick-and-mortar challenges. Without the pressure of a long-term lease and deep financial investment, they can offer a wider variety of stock, test prices and iterate designs faster.  (Another way to say it is that short-term engagements allow the market to correctly price retail property, but that is a conversation for another time.