What do you get when you combine fifty budding entrepreneurs, five diverse concepts, two days of hard selling, one happy little egg and a sack of concrete?
The TREAT Mother’s Day Pop Up – filled with ingenious gift ideas, dedication, frustrations and pleasant surprises – produced a much-deserved winner after a challenging but rewarding weekend.
Five Escape the City Startup Tribe teams were given the challenge of creating a retail concept around the theme of #shedeservesatreat, offering delightfully different gifts for the mums in our lives. Customisable chalkboard mugs, all-natural skincare products, handmade chocolates from the north, industrial-chic concrete planters and upcycled glass bottle vases all featured in the Covent Garden concept store for one weekend only. Every team brought a unique approach to the challenge including branding, visual merchandising, marketing strategy and selling technique – here are some of the key takeaways and highlights for each:
From green tea and lavender foot soak to coffee anti-cellulite scrub, Mother Nature built their brand around all-natural, handmade skincare products that looked as good as they smelled. They combined simple packaging with a rustic, welcoming visual merchandising strategy to form a cohesive and beautifully-executed brand experience for the customer.
Speaking to team leader Fizzy before the challenge, she told We Are Pop Up that “I’ve never done anything like this or anything in retail before. I don’t think anyone has in the group so we’re going to have to really hustle over the weekend to figure it all out. I’m really hoping it’s going to work and we’re not going to leave with more body butter than you’d ever need in your life…”
As the store opened on day one, we caught up with Fizzy again: “I’m exhausted. We had quite a few delivery issues so nothing arrived until about 4:30pm yesterday – all of this was made between then and now. Everyone came over to my house and we were up until 3am making products but we’ve made a couple of real sales so far which is exciting. It’s fun and it’s a chance to see what happens when you put real products out there. I’m looking forward to hopefully seeing some happy customers, selling it all, making a profit and celebrating! But even if not it’s still been a nice way to work with other people and see what we can do.”
That said, Mother Nature managed to finish as the winning team, having sold an impressive 177 items, taking £991.04 worth of sales and gaining a total social media following of 612. Congratulations also came from across the teams: “The products looked gorgeous, the sellers fit the brand and the stall was open and engaging making it easy to entice customers. All aspects of the business were consistent.” “Mother Nature skincare was my favourite (isn’t everyone saying the same thing?!) They just smashed it on all levels and seemed very cohesive as a team.” “The team members were great shopping consultants. And the product could keep up with conventional and commercially sold cosmetic products.”
The four fantastic remaining teams:
Good Egg Creations
Good Egg Creations, a gift shop with all proceeds going to children’s charity Barnardo’s, encouraged people to buy something meaningful for their loved ones and feel “gooey inside”. Upcycled homeware, handmade candles, customised mugs and tote bags were some of the products available, with guest brand Cold & Blac offering samples of London’s first coffee liqueur. Their social media campaign was fun and interactive, posting photos and videos asking customers and people on the streets of Covent Garden, “Why is your mum a good egg?“. The team made solid sales of 87 items and managed a modest profit above the seed investment they received.
Mum’s The Bird
Team Mum’s The Bird tapped into the current homeware trend for mini succulents and cacti and backed up the products with simple but effective branding. A life-size polaroid frame also added a fun, innovative angle to their social media campaign. Having never made concrete planters before, the team told us that “they were far from perfect, but we sold through almost every single one and were even asked to do another pop up in East London, which two of us have already started working on.” Total sales at the end of the weekend surpassed the £200 seed investment with sales including 15 potted plants, and a social following of 513.
Make Her Day
“On a mission to end generic Mother’s Day gifts,” Make Her Day produced a selection of handmade, customisable products so customers could add their own twist on the day. Chalkboard mugs and carafes, tote bags and even the paper cranes that decorated the stall proved a winner for the team. Clever use of origami also resulted in one of the most innovative logos of the challenge, with social media encouraging customers to write down how they would #MakeHerDay. The team sold a solid 93 items including 30 chalkboard mugs. Their social following totalled at 460, including the only email obtained by any team.
From London With Love
From London With Love centred their brand on handmade, artisan goods from British entrepreneurs, including Good & Proper Tea, NIX & KIX cayenne chilli drinks and handmade Guppy’s Chocolates from York. Members of the team dedicated time to attracting passing trade despite the cold, creating their own signage and actively engaging the public with their chalkboard message campaign. Learning from their experience on day one, on Sunday the team completely rearranged their table to create a minimal, cohesive and ultimately more effective visual merchandising display. Total sales more than doubled their seed investment, with the highest volume of product sold including 46 packets of chocolate.
Escape the City is on a mission to help talented professionals escape unfulfilling jobs and forge exciting, unconventional career paths. Follow them on Twitter and Facebook.
If you’ve been inspired and would like to try your hand at your own pop up then browse and book spaces all online at wearepopup.com.