As readers of this blog I’m sure you’re all aware of my Etsy shop, Glitter & Bow. It’s my ‘baby’ and one of the many ways I show my creativity! I had planned my first live pop up showcase for next Summer, but as I mentioned in a previous blog post, I was very honored and excited to be invited by RAW Artists to participate in their October showcase in Nashville. I jumped at the opportunity to try something on a small scale so I could ‘dip my toes’ in the proverbial pop up pool!
Above: video preview of the finished pop up shop — ready for shoppers!
Above: the G&B space right before show
The hardest part about getting ready for this pop up were the mere 6 weeks I had to prep and the fact that I could find NO tips or articles online about prepping for one. However, I welcome a challenge, especially if it helps me grow professionally and creatively.
Please don’t take this article as the ‘Bible’ for newbie pop up planning. I only hope that by sharing my discoveries I can point someone in the right direction for taking this big step and feeling reasonably prepared if this is something you are ready to do.
Above: new designs not yet in my shop that showcase attendees got to shop first!
1. Choose your pop up location based on the type of client you want to attract. I was invited to showcase at RAW and chose them because this was an evening, 18+ event, calling for cocktail attire. My sparkly designs definitely attract the Southern, cocktail dress wearing sort (like myself!).
2. Ask the event manager how many people are expected to attend. This is so you can make sure you have enough product and not miss any potential sales! I also made sure I had custom order forms on hand as well in case I ran out of anything that ended up being unexpectedly popular.
3. Plan your booth/area/table layout beforehand. I drew actual pictures out on paper of how I wanted my area to look at the event so I could save time during set up and make sure everything looked perfect.
4. Label everything. Make sure all your products have their own label and create a price sheet to display prominently. Customers can save time asking how much every item is if this information is readily available. I personally dislike asking for prices while shopping at pop ups, showcases or craft shows because it seems like the seller doesn’t really want my business and isn’t prepared (or expecting) to make a sale.
5. Make them want you. When asking people to take a business card I want to give them something back. There are a couple things you can easily invest in as a small token of appreciation for your client’s attention. I chose to have custom hair ties made and put them in a jar on my table to offer along with a business card. By the end of the night half the attendees at the show were walking around with bright, neon pink wrist bands that said Glitter & Bow! Another crowd favorite freebie are stickers. Make sure your logo isn’t the main focus of the sticker. Create a cute quote, illustration or shape that’s appealing and put your logo/contact info somewhere on the edge of the sticker. Look at the ones ban.do gives away at their pop ups!
Above: free hair ties for attendees
7. Make a list, check it twice. Make lists of anything and everything you’ll need for your pop. From display pieces, to snacks and water bottles, extra pens, paperclips, cell phone charger… I mean everything. It’s better to stash a bunch of stuff in your car that you don’t need over panicking at the last second because you forgot an extra battery for your camera.
…which brings me to #8.
8. GET AN ASSISTANT. Find someone reliable who will still be your friend after the madness, and pay them handsomely! A darling friend was thankfully available to help me out all day for my pop up show and I did my best to make her feel appreciated! Some Chipotle & Sonic the day of show, a custom outfit to wear for the showcase, and a gift bag of goodies I knew she would love was a small price to pay for how much stress she took off me that day!
9. Leave a lasting impression. Plaster your info on everything. My pop up area was so sparkly and eye catching that people were constantly taking selfies and video of it all night. There’s no way the huge ‘Glitter & Bow’ banner could be cropped out of any of those photos! My contact info was on every tag, business card and clothing label. The one thing I wish I had thought of was putting a “Share your snaps on Instagram and use #glitterandbow” so we can see them!” sign of some sort on my table (next time!). I also had an e-mail sign up sheet on my table letting people know what I’m about as a business. The top of the sheet stated that no info would be shared or sold and I never send out e-mails unless there’s something new in the shop or something FREE (downloads, coupon codes, flash sales, giveaways, etc.). Clients appreciate this sort of truthful transparency. Just make sure you actually deliver on your promises.
10. Make a budget and stick to it. A lot of what I bought for my pop up (like the sequin table cloth, 2-tier clothing rack, acrylic display stands, bulk tissue paper and bags, etc.) are all going to last through many pop ups, so I let myself spend a little more than I would like to make a really strong first impression. I didn’t want it to be obvious this was my first time! However, be sure hosting a pop up will actually help, and not hurt, your bottom line. I definitely think making connections, winning over new clients, and getting exposure is hard to buy, so it’s difficult to quantify a black and white numbers budget. Just figure out how much product you would have to sell at the pop up to break even and decide what to spend on supplies from there. If you’re expecting a huge turnout, and the audience totally fits your aesthetic, you can probably bank on breaking even, and making a profit — which justifies a bigger decorating budget.
Above: pop up table close up
11. Push It. Push it real good! Market your showcase. This one’s tricky… you want to make sure your current clients, followers and fans know about the pop up without pushing it so much that they decide to un-follow you on social media. Make sure you set an announcement on your Etsy shop, Tweet, Facebook post and Instagram about the event leading up to the date. Create a Facebook event and generate a QR code (you have this option when you create a Facebook event) to invite your fans to attend. If the event requires tickets, make sure that link is easy to find. I also wrote a blog post a few weeks ago talking about the event. Generate incentive by offering a discount code to your ticket buyers to use on purchases at your pop up. If you have a newsletter, send out 1-2 e-mails (not too many!) announcing the event and include links to your Facebook event post and blog post. Another way I generated interest was releasing a new line of products at the showcase. Fans had to follow along to get updates and my showcase attendees got to shop first pick at the pop up.
Above: my assistant wearing one of my designs at the pop up
12. Dress for success. During set up and break down my assistant and I were in yoga pants and pony tails but during the showcase I had us both dressed in sweat shirts from my FW15 collection. I let Ali choose her design (“Coffee First” in gold sequins on a slate sweater) and I chose to wear a sneak peek of next season’s collection! (below: “Best Day Ever” in silver sequins on a black crop sweatshirt from my SS16 Bridal collection)
Above: my complete outfit for the pop up
I chose a blush pink tulle skirt for Ali and a black tulle skirt for myself. We accessorized individually to our own tastes to show how similar sequined lettered sweatshirts could cater to two completely different aesthetics. I’m telling you about our outfits to say if there’s any way the items you’re selling can be worn or used during/at your pop up, DO IT. This gives shoppers a chance to see your items at work in real life and helps them see potential.
Above: Ali’s sequined ‘Coffee First’ sweater and pink tulle skirt
For example, if you sell tassel garlands in your Etsy shop, use them to decorate your space. If you ask your Etsy customers to share snapshots using your items on social media, screen shot those pics and create a look book to display on a table at your pop up so potential clients can see how other real people use your product. I created a virtual look book with my sweatshirts styled around other clothing articles and posted it in the Facebook event photo album before the pop up. (slideshow look book below).
Okay, I think I covered everything! Below I will link to the items I used to decorate my pop up space so you can get some inspiration. Let me know if you have any questions or comments! Please feel free to leave your thoughts 🙂
Decor details: Acrylic clip boards HERE, sequin table cloth HERE, acrylic chairs (similar) HERE, tassel banner (handmade – similar) HERE, clothing rack (custom) similar HERE, acrylic display pieces HERE, HERE and HERE, tags (handmade with Minc foil applicator), glitter logo banner (handmade with Silhouette), business cards (handmade with Minc foil applicator), folding wood frame organza room divider (borrowed from my sister-in-law, similar) HERE
Custom elastic hair ties by Riled Violets HERE (contact directly for pricing)
Outfit details: Tulle skirts (custom) similar HERE, Loren Hope Abba earrings in ice blue c/o Rocksbox HERE, black patent So Kate Louboutin pumps HERE