Market Monday: Running Your Own Pop-Up

I get asked about pop-ups a lot-- how to hold your own, best practices and if they are worth it. When I saw Barbara of Belle Accessoires talk about her pop-up on Instagram, I was so intrigued! Barbara and her Etsy team that ran the pop-up are located in Austria, but I think the fundamentals still apply. She (and her team) worked hard and did a ton of promotion, which paid off! Here's what she had to say about her experience.

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Q: Introduce yourself and what you make and how long you've been doing it.
A: My name is Barbara and I’m a graphic and fashion jewelry designer living in Salzburg, Austria. Two years ago I established my own small label “Belle Accessoires“ and started to sell on Etsy. In 2014 I became the captain of the Etsy Team Austria, a group of Austrian artists, makers and designers who teamed up through Etsy to exchange their experiences as online sellers but also to organize offline activities together.

Q: Tell us about the pop-up you held.
A: Last autumn we got the chance to rent a shop together for one month. We decided to start our first common offline team activity, a pre-Christmas market. It was the first Etsy Team Austria pop-up store in Vienna, which has been open for four weeks.

Q: Why did you decide to hold your own pop-up?
A: We thought presenting us and our products together over four weeks in our own shop would be more successful than selling individually at a market for one or two days. We also wanted to present our products together offline and to introduce our Etsy shops to Austrian customers.

Q: What were the logistics like?
A: First we (the team leadership) organized a team meeting and asked our members if they were interested in a common pop-up shop. We have good team spirit so we had no problems getting enough participants. Our idea was to split the shop rent – the more people take part the less rent each would have to pay. We had 25 participants and so the rent was affordable for everybody. We also charged a small amount for PR and marketing (printing costs for flyers, posters and wrapping) from each participant.

Our concept included a core group of five sellers who were in the shop regularly over the four weeks during shop hours (each one for one day per week). They had been supported by some volunteers of our team, who helped out for one or two hours. This worked very well!

We had been very lucky with the owner of the shop where the pop-up happened. She was excited about our idea and very cooperative! The place was fully equipped with a kitchen, shelves and even a coffee machine. So my team leader Katja and I had enough time to concentrate on public relations and marketing.

We used social media to market our event and also designed promotion flyers and posters which were distributed by the participants. One month before the pop-up started, we introduced our co-sellers on Facebook (about two each per day). We also arranged a giveaway on Facebook each week. That was a good advertisement and we reached a lot of customers. While setting up and opening we posted photos on Instagram.

What was very important for us was the PR – we wrote a short article introducing ourselves and our work, why, when and where the pop-up store would take place and what makes it special. We sent the article and our flyer to all relevant local newspapers and some online magazines. We also contacted the local television and they even stopped by!

Q: How did it go? Was the effort worth it? 
A: It was a great success and we are already planning the next pop-up for our team. We got a lot of positive feedback from customers. Our teamwork contributed to our success – the pop-up participants helped promote the event on social media. We had been very lucky with our PR being introduced regularly during the four weeks in local online event schedules and newspapers.

Q: What lessons did you learn? Advice for others wanting to do the same?
A: A strong team spirit and participants who are willing to help you with some important tasks are essential for a pop-up to become successful! It’s also crucial to start planning early enough. Don’t forget to share tasks and time consuming work – you can’t do it all by yourself! Think about who can help you with PR, social media advertising or taking photos of the event. Don’t be shy contacting the press! Just do it. If you have short and informative text about you and your event you have nothing to lose!

Have you ever done your own pop-up? Please let us know about it in the comments or on our Instagram.