How to Pop Up screen shot

Willbablog 19th March 2015

I love to talk and today I delivered a short presentation around pop up shops for my colleagues at Creative Islington. Yes the retail phenomenon of the 2000’s. What was unique about this particular talk was that it wasn’t for any of my usual clients but locally in my community of Archway in the borough of Islington.

As a creative business consultant I am lucky enough to work on some interesting projects particularly those surrounding regeneration and development. At the beginning of the recession in 2008 many high street stores began to slow down and high streets started to look empty. Shop rental prices began to go up and many local businesses began to fail simply not because there wasn’t as much trade as before but due to the rapid raise in business rates and ultimately rent rises. It was like a dominoes effect and the local high street began to look patchy. Every other shop on the local high streets across the United Kingdom began to close down.

Creative businesses tend to suffer first within an economic downturn with consumers cutting back on “present and artistic” purchases. I was invited by Camden Council to mentor some Creative Businesses that were local to their area. I was asked to evidence sales, marketing and growth via one to one sessions. Sounds easy but it is not. I do not believe in quick fixes e.g. just “advising” clients unless that is what they ask for.

I had been invited by my client at Camden Council to a networking event in a disused shop. I suddenly thought why don’t I create the business sessions within the store and use this a test bed for sales. Strike one. Additionally I would have to market the place to invite consumers in and get them to purchase and look at the products. Strike two. The experiment would allow me to potentially evidence growth. Strike three.

There were many areas to think about e.g. How would I fit out the store? What products would we sell? How much stock would we need? How would we staff the store? What about insurance and licenses?

I managed to cover all of these areas and I needed a quick name for the retail experiment namely a “Pop Up Shop” in 2009 I had heard of the term and knew about The Pop Up Space in Shoreditch Boxpark. I neither had that type of budget nor the space to work with but I had the ideas and a concept was born. Creative Cornucopia. Why this name? The Pop Up Shop was all about Creatives and they were a mix a real hotchpotch. Collective sounded too contrived and there was an organisation with that name, Hotch Potch and Mix did not jump off the page and I remembered a quaint shop I loved in Victoria called Cornucopia which sold an array of products, clothes, accessories, furniture. Sadly it had closed down but I married the Creative and Cornucopia and the wedding of Creative Cornucopia took place in November 2009 just in time for the Christmas sales.

I rather liked the idea of not being confined to a permanent space. Our next Pop Up Shop took place in Clerkenwell right on the edge of a Zebra Crossing, which was great for foot flow. One of the key things that I can tell you in order for a pop up shop to be successful is foot flow and for foot flow you need to think much like your buying a house and the age-old adage of “Location, Location, Location”. Very simple really. The concepts were phenomenal and both clients and the creatives I worked with loved the idea we continued for a few more events but sadly I had to move abroad due to work commitments. The Pop Up Shop migrated to an evening event held once a month with a captive audience of women at a west end hotel. Still ever popular but with a new name.

The talk for Creative Islington was well received and Willbaforce Ltd will be delivering short courses Online on how to set up a pop up shop. Entitled: How To Pop Up!

It is an 8 Week course that outlines the following:

– Location – Finding the right space to set up

– Merchandising – What should your Pop Up Look Like?

– Staffing – How will you mange the store?

– Planning – What Products To Sell

– Marketing – How to market the pop up shop effectively

– Legalities – Insurance, Rates and Leases

For further details and to sign up to the course please complete the information form on our contact page, which can be found here:

Courses cost £400