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Want to Set Up a Pop-Up Shop? Here’s How…

We share pointers from some of Ireland’s most successful interiors pop-up owners on how to set one up…

For some time, Ireland’s design community has been capitalising on the temporary retail trend and popping up with fervour. Emily Maher of Lost Weekend has enjoyed her recent pop-up collaborations with other brands within her Dun Laoghaire retail space: “The pop-up shop for us is an opportunity to offer something new and exciting to our existing clients,” she says, “and the collaboration attracts new clients too.” But what happens when you try this at home?

In a column for our July-August issue, former Image Interiors & Living editor Amanda Cochrane shared the perils and pleasures of setting up her own pop-up design store in her London home, plus some sage advice about the lessons she learned along the way. “One of my most important discoveries is: only sell what you truly love. Anything that I chose that I wasn’t a hundred per cent behind is still sitting in my stock room, i.e. stashed in my office.”

Spurred on by her story and keen to know more, we decided to solicit the advice of some of Ireland’s other pop-up veterans on how to go about opening the perfect pop-up…

How to Set Up a Pop-Up Shop | Image Interiors & Living

Dust’s popular pop-up went on to become a permanent store on Dublin’s Grantham Street.

SARAH DRUMM, DUST 

Play the long game It’s important to have a longer-term plan in place for if the pop-up goes well. Pop-ups are a great way of testing out a business idea and dipping your toe in without investing a huge amount of money, but you need to think about what’s next as you don’t want to lose the momentum you’ve created once the pop-up is over.

Prepare to work hard If you are a little off the beaten track, then you just have to work even harder at creating a buzz and making sure your potential customers know where to find you. You also need to make sure what you’re offering is appealing enough for people to be willing to travel to check you out.

Create a buzz For the pop-up, we did a major PR push, pulling together a press release outlining our story, our background, what we were trying to achieve and showing off some of the lovely products we would be stocking, and sent this out to all relevant press contacts. This worked really well for us – lots of publications wrote about us, which makes all the difference in letting people know you’re there!

Be creative With a pop-up, you have a limited amount of time to make an impact, so make sure you do everything in your power to make it work. You need to think creatively about how best to drum up business. We set up our first pop-up in the basement of Lisa’s [her business partner, Lisa Marconi] house, which was fantastic as it cut out all the time and effort of finding a location and also meant we had total control over what we did with the space. Also, pay attention to the little details. This is the starting point for your brand, so its important to get right.

How to Set Up a Pop-Up Shop | Image Interiors & Living

April and the Bear’s summer pop-up at the Fumbally Exchange led to an exciting collaboration for the brand.

SIOBHAN LAM, APRIL AND THE BEAR

Stay motivated As the economy picks up, finding suitable retail spaces where the landlord or estate agent is willing to consider a short-term lease is a real challenge, but keep at it. With our summer pop-up, I looked for the right space for months and months before I found the Fumbally, and they were so fantastic to work with.
 
Focus on what matters Location is crucial. There really is no point in setting up a lovely-looking shop full to the brim with wonderful products if no one comes through the door to buy.
 
Trust your customers We let our customers know about the pop-up through mailers and social media, and then they spread the word basically! I think because our customers are so passionate about the brand, when they found out we were popping up, they wanted their friends to know too so they didn’t miss out.
 
Make the most of it Doing the pop-up opened up our online store to so many people who weren’t aware we even existed! We were meeting new and old customers every day and cementing relationships we had built online over the past two years. And April and the Bear products are now available in a really cool café in Naas called Siblings, after the owner called into the pop-up and loved the brand! 

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