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How To Have A Successful Pop Up Shop in 5 Easy Steps

How To Have A Pop Up Shop

Did you know you can take your online shop into the real world without the money and hassle of opening a brick-and-mortar store? Consider a pop up shop, a short-term operation set up quickly in a temporary location. Involving quick assembly and takedown, pop up stores’ and shops’ temporary, exclusive, and limited nature can bring added exposure to your company. The special, physical presence a pop up shop offers can help you connect in person with your clientele in ways you can’t online or in a larger or multi-brand shop. Pop up stores can leave a genuine impression with established and future customers and are quickly becoming a new standard in the future of retail. With these draws in mind, here are five steps you can use to start a pop up store of your own, along with some ideas to answer the question: how to have a pop up shop.

How To Have A Pop Up Shop Example Image: Jordan SEILER: Reisions Exhibition NYC
Jordan Seiler: Revisions at Parasol Projects, 2 Rivington St. March 2018.

Step 1: Location

Location, location, location. If you’re depending on foot traffic for a successful experience, a poor location can be a dealbreaker. Selecting the right location comes down to understanding your audience, your reach and your goals. Popping up in New York can be tricky, not only for legal, permitting, and insurance reasons, but also for its sheer diversity of neighborhoods, audiences, and retail communities. When planning your location, make sure to choose a neighborhood with average-to-high levels of the type of foot traffic and core audience you want, a space surrounded by the types of establishments relevant and exciting to your type of business and audience. The Lower East Side, Nolita and SoHo neighborhoods in Manhattan are prime zones for pop ups because of their high concentration of art galleries, boutiques and event spaces, as well as for their nightlife and bustling arts and fashion communities.

Pop Up Location Tips:

  • Evaluate your market reach and profile your audience via Instagram Insights, Google Analytics, your CRM, customer surveys, or other tools. Look to select a neighborhood where your audience already is and where your store can thrive.
  • Don’t get in trouble with the law; research who owns the location you want to pop up in and what the limitations of the space are.
  • Don’t forget to secure liability insurance, regardless of location!
  • Too much to keep track of and manage? Let a pop up agency like Parasol Projects help you select your best location, plan your build out, and execute a marketing plan!
How To Do A Pop Up Shop Image Example Image: Arcade Japan Pop-up at Parasol Projects, 251 Elizabeth Street. December 2017.
Arcade Japan Pop-up at Parasol Projects, 251 Elizabeth Street. December 2017.

Step 2: Design

Securing a space isn’t enough. You want to make visiting your pop up an enriching and rewarding experience for existing and new audiences. Consider holding mini-events in your spaces and displaying your goods in quirky, unique ways; it’s all important to the success of your pop up store. When planning the design, your goals, your budget, time, and resources will all be leveraged to create something both workable and successful. Know the values and concepts around your brand, products, and business, and channel them into your pop up store. By adding character and spice to your decor and focusing on communicating the values and story of your brand, you’ll cultivate a memorable and unique experience for anyone who visits your pop up store.

Six things to be mindful of:

  • Is my design and presentation unique
  • Is it as special as it can be? 
  • Does the pop up design channel the appeal of my brand and work towards the goal of my pop up experience?
  • What should the focal point of the pop up shop be?
  • Does my pop up strike the right visual balance – lighting, buildout, etc.
  • Is my pop up store presentation, design, and advertising cohesive?

Need help sourcing equipment and decor for you or your pop up shop? Check out the variety of pop up production services Parasol Projects offers to help make your pop up memorable!

Step 3: Marketing

Effective marketing, whether to your mailing list or your Instagram following, is important in making sure that customers old and new walk through the door of your pop up. Consider an opening reception or event for your pop up that generates buzz in the area. If your existing network is limited, try hiring a publicist and/or marketing assistant to help propel your pop up forward. Parasol Projects’ pop up marketing, press and promotion services can help!

Example Image: How To Have A Pop Up Store - Picture of Everlane Pop-Up at Parasol Projects, 2 Rivington. April 2015.
Everlane Pop-Up at Parasol Projects, 2 Rivington. April 2015.

Step 4: Staffing Your Pop Up Store

Who’s running your pop up? Whether it be a small, intimate gallery or a bustling retail space, your success will begin and end with a helpful, client-facing presence. Make the experience intimate by operating the location yourself, and/or hiring friendly, helpful staff to work in  your space. If you’re not sure where to find staff, Parasol Projects is happy to help providepop up staffing resources!

How To Have A Pop Up Shop Example Image: Rowing Blazer Pop Up Store at Parasol Projects, 2 Rivington. October 2017.
Rowing Blazer Pop Up Store at Parasol Projects, 2 Rivington. October 2017.

Step 5: POP UP SHOP!



Parasol Projects is New York City’s premier pop up agency, with a variety of dedicated downtown pop up spaces and equipped with experienced, expert production services. We produced over 120 successful pop ups in 2018. Is yours next?

Additional Resources – How To Have A Pop Up Shop

Additional Pop Up Resources

    Shopify: Pop-Up Shops 101: Everything You Need to Know to Try Temporary Retail
    Shopify: Visual Merchandising 101: Shore Up Sales With High-Converting Product Displays
    Medium: How To Plan A Pop Up Shop, by