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To pop-up, or not ?


To pop-up, or not, that is the question (again)…

We initially discussed this at popUPshops in September 2018 (edited for December 2019)

Recently I worked with a fashion business on their pop up event – which saw 1000 or so visitors through the door and sold around “three quarters” of the stock they’d brought along. Someone said “they killed it !” (ie. it was a great success). That seemed quite a good result for one weekend’s (hard) work ! As they were packing up I cheerfully asked “so when is the next one ?”

Their response was that it wouldn’t be for a while (understandable) – and that they needed to assess their pop up strategy ‘cos they didn’t want “customers to hang out for the next sale, not purchase between times and always expect a bargain” (or something like that)

The comment was kind of surprising and I’ve given it a bit of thought. To pop-up, or not… does pop up “dilute” the value of a brand ?

That label seems quite busy online and boasts a healthy network of stockists. Their social media “likes” tally is mild – considerable but not massive. The pop up event wasn’t widely publicised, but still managed those 1000 visitors. I would’ve thought that short sale did more than just clear a lot of inventory – it also allowed fans to experience a different side of the label… to touch and feel a wide range of their apparel, exclusively (without other brands competing for attention) – and to meet the creative team. This is probably a business which is perfectly suited for pop up… quite lean on the commitments of boutiques and staffing (and infrastructure) but flexible enough to host occasional customer events.

If this label is concerned about sending the wrong message to fans (ie. hold out for the warehouse sale !)… my suggestion would be to keep their concept fresh and interesting. Don’t only use pop up events to clear discounted inventory but also feature their current collections and introduce new ranges, have the designers on hand to interact with customers, and perhaps “shake it up a bit”. If the label has some sass or personality… flaunt it !

To pop-up, or not… does it dilute the value of a brand ? Not necessarily. If a pop up is well considered and well executed – with clever marketing and a “tease” for customers, it can be (should be…) a successful business strategy.


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