From the smallest web based sellers, to the biggest fashion houses, business owners have embraced the experimental DIY culture and the ‘now or never’ sales technique of pop-up shops.
Providing a new platform for sellers, this growing phenomenon is perfect for small businesses at Christmas.
Through making use of vacant high profile spaces, pop-ups are gradually becoming integrated into framework of commercial property letting/ownership, revitalising the British high street in the financially turbulent years since the economic downturn.
Starting with a pop-up shop on Carnaby Street selling T-shirts, 22 year old entrepreneur Ross Bailey founded Appear Here, a ground-breaking solution to changing landlord’s vacant spaces into a ‘space for your ideas’.
With initiatives to boost independent retail, and tools to make pop ups more achievable they are becoming an increasingly popular choice for small business owners.
Founded in 2012 the government funded Pop-up Britain, is an award winning enterprise, letting small businesses test the market at a short term, low cost basis, allowing them to access the high street and giving them exposure without a large financial commitment or investment.
This has also led to the emergence of spaces dedicated to pop-ups, such as C/159 - The Camden Collective and Shoreditch Box Park – creating a space dedicated to independent retail, on a temp to perm basis.
The pop-up has led to an increasing number of established businesses/spaces opening their doors, with galleries, cafes, railway stations housing small businesses and creating shared spaces to showcase independent brands.
Running throughout December, established businesses are also embracing pop-ups, acting as smaller scale outlets appearing across the Capital, such as Fortnum and Mason at Somerset house, and Beyond Retro’s pop-up dedicated to the Christmas jumper at Old Street Station.
Etsy House – Covent Garden
Just one of London’s exciting new pop-ups this year, is Etsy House, the online marketplace’s first UK pop up shop, which runs from Friday 5th to Sun 7th December.
Following their success in Soho, New York last year, attracting an impressive 20,000 customers in just 10 days, this year Etsy brought together designer-makers from across the UK.
The pop-up boasted a carefully curated selection of homemade, personalised and vintage items that the online shop community has to offer.
Molly Meg & Anorak – East Dulwich
British Brand Anorak couldn’t have a more fitting name. Inspired by childhood camping and adventures, the brand works with strikingly bold silhouette designs inspired from the British countryside.
In an Innovative, and fitting collaboration they have teamed up with another independent retailer Molly Meg for a Christmas pop-up shop, perfect for gathering gifts.
From the age of 6, Molly Meg Price, knew that she wanted to own a shop. Whilst working as a children’s clothing designer in London and New York, she became influenced by undiscovered design and unearthed a passion for selling vintage children’s chairs.
Not quite the sweet shop six year old Molly had longed for, Molly Meg was founded in 2009 – a design orientated shop for children.
The online platform now offers an eclectic mix of vintage classics, with 50’s retro fused with the more contemporary, showcasing innovative design and discovering new talent.
Molly believes that the pop-up movement has benefitted her business, claiming that ‘It is the best way to see what people like’ and a ‘great way to meet existing customers, for people to see the reality of products and give styling ideas.’
She also claims that it is an opportunity to do market research and find out what ‘new products people are seeking’. Similar to Etsy’s pop-up store, it is a ‘way to reach new customers’ in an otherwise online-only venture.
The finite nature of the pop-up is benefiting the online selling community. Through driving people to their websites, establishing them as recognised creative outlets and providing sellers with an opportunity to meet customers on a first hand basis - putting a face to online shopping and giving it a more personal touch.
The Molly Meg & Anorak collaboration has ‘popped up’ in East Dulwich, and will run until Christmas Eve, bringing together highlights from both brands collections,and hosting creative workshops and events for all ages.
'Pop-up shops can be a huge advantage on the high street, particularly in the run-up to Christmas.'
A recent conservative campaign in Wales has recently proposed that pop-ups should be encouraged and exempt from business rates – emphasising the advantages on high street.
With Shadow Business Minister William Graham stating 'Pop-up shops can be a huge advantage on the high street, particularly in the run-up to Christmas…scrapping business rates and encouraging … entrepreneurs to set them up should be prioritised’ with the temp to perm nature of some shops able to boost the high street economy.
Through connecting businesses and landlords, creating business for independent small businesses, design-makers and retailers – and all the while reviving the British high street with a pop-up revolution – could this new proposal be the way forward?