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Weird (and wonderful) pop up shops


Pop ups can pop up, well almost anywhere – and for almost any reason !

One of the wonderful characteristics of pop up is that there (almost) are no rules… and that allows for some pretty creative events. There’s been a quite a few quirky pop ups recently… here’s a sample of some we’ve seen this month :

In Bolder Colorado (USA), 37.5 Technology (an outdoor apparel fabrics brand) built a tiny Cliffside Shop 300 feet up the side wall of a canyon. For 2 days in August, an employee of 37.5 sat in the shop and “handed out gear to climbers who stopped by” (that was around 70 visitors)* See the video on YouTube here. It’s kinda dizzying – but I’m impressed with the store-keeper’s comment – “we’re open ‘till sunset, be sure to tell your friends…” !

In Exeter UK, The Distinguished Dog Company (artisan dog accessory brand) hosted a 3 day pop up shop especially for discerning pooches… selling “unique doggy couture” items such as knitwear, neckerchiefs and bow ties (also collars, leads and grooming products)#

Also in the UK, high-street department store John Lewis has furnished exclusive pop-up apartments for customers to stay overnight and try-before-buying. In 3 major stores (Oxford Street London, Cambridge and Liverpool), John Lewis has stocked a small apartment with luxury furnishings and accessories, tailored to the guest’s personal tastes – and clothing sizes. The reported that a stay in the John Lewis Residence runs from 630pm until 9am the following morning, with a private concierge on site for the duration. At Oxford Street the overnight stay includes an exclusive after-hours shopping experience or “behind the scenes” private tour of the store. Customers can also request a dinner party for up to 10 people, with a personal chef and a cocktail “mixologist”… table settings can also be varied according to their own preference. Everything in the apartments, including the bedding and mattress, is for sale through John Lewis – of course. During the day, each Residence hosts a series of free workshops (for the not-so-fortunate shoppers who don’t get to stay over…) – with expert styling tips on lighting, dining and sleep settings. The John Lewis pop up Residences opened on September 16th, and will run through to October 18th. If you’re not chosen (by random selection) to stay, you can at least watch the YouTube video…

Back in Manhattan NYC, Marie Claire and MasterCard have partnered to present The Next Big Thing Concept Shop, a futuristic store fusing the glossy magazine’s layout with latest retail technologies. The shop is organised by magazine sections (social, careers, wellness) and tied to Marie Claire’s October issue. The role of MasterCard in the store is to facilitate purchases – via an app… by tapping items in a display, an exterior window or the mirror in a dressing room. The store will be open until October 12th.

And in Washington DC, the Game of Thrones pop-up bar has finally closed – but now fans are asking what will happen to the Iron Throne ? That throne was a feature of the themed installation, which ran from June 21st to August 27th (opened daily at 5pm ‘til late – except for Sunday nights, when they closed early so everyone could go home to watch the latest series). Around 47,000 visitors sat on the sworded seat, whilst sipping “Dothraquiri” and “The Lancesters Send Their Regards” cocktails (and other themed drinks)

When I said there are “almost no rules” for pop up… there are actually a few criteria. Pop ups generally provide little advance warning (but lots of hype once they’re open), are obviously short-lived – and offer something clever or catchy in the format. Ideally the pop up concept is also something that social media will pick up on – celebrity associations, a bit of controversy (sell-outs or lock-outs are actually quite healthy pop up marketing strategies !), or just plain weirdness tend to increase the reach and popularity of a pop up project.

I would’ve (happily) spent time in the Oxford Street pop up apartment, at the doggy boutique or on the Game of Thrones seat, even tested my techno-nouse in the Marie Claire / MasterCard store – but I’m afraid (really afraid…) they won’t be seeing me in a shop clinging to a canyon wall anytime soon !


* source : – pop up shop 37.5 cliff face

#source : – a pop up shop just for dogs



Cliffside 37.5 Technology pop up 2017

The Distinguished Dog pop up 2017

John Lewis The Residence pop up apartment 20127

Marie Claire MasterCard pop up 2017

Game of Thrones pop up bar 2017


images : 37.5 Technology Cliffside, The Distinguished Dog Company, The Residence John Lewis, Marie Claire & MasterCard Next Big Thing, Game of Thrones pop up bar

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