How to put on a PopUp event

As part of our Power of Positive Shopping campaign, we are building bridges between retail outlets and Blue Patch members. This includes pop-ups.

Being temporary spaces, they offer a relatively low-cost way for brands to take creative risks, generate buzz and reach new audiences, which are all GREAT benefits.

Our first foray into the world of large scale events was the task of organising Britain’s First Sustainable Department Store Pop-Up that took place on October 1st, 2016.

Take a look at these tips from our experience and our members experience of their own popups on how to ensure that your popup is successful!

1. Location, location, location.

Find a venue that is easily accessible.  It’ll save you time. A lot of it. Also, the easier it is for people to get to, the more willing they will be to travel to it.

“Be selective about where, when and with who you do your popup. Make sure that the opportunity fits in with your brand.” Charlotte, The Stitch Society.

Research demographics. It’ll help with decisions about products, price points and target market.

“It is crucial for any business participating in a popup to understand their target audience. Obtaining a positive response from potential customers is truly priceless.” – Ben, Studio Perki.

Befriend local businesses. They will be invaluable in getting the word out to potential customers and you may be able to collaborate with them!

“Pubs will sometimes lend a space for free if it’s during the week, or for a minimum spend at the bar. Cafes and offices may do the same!” Caroline and Katie, Lala and Bea.

At the Naomi Purkiss Boutique pop up. Photo Credit: Nemo Roberts.

2. The fine print.

Read the contract. Find out exactly what is in the terms. When can you get in? What’s available for you to use? What do you need to procure?

“Make sure you know what’s included in the space – electrics, lights, wifi, what you can and can’t use on the walls – this will help you avoid unexpected surprises.” Eleanor, One Nine Eight Five.

Get your documents in order. If you’re doing the event with other businesses, you’ll need to create your own contract with them. Oh, and check with your local council for info on licences, etc plus make sure that everyone who’s showing is insured.

“Make sure you have a clear idea of the footfall on the particular street you are on, otherwise you rely on word of mouth and your own publicity to make the shop a destination.” Alison, Ally Bee.

3. Prepping and Planning.

Budget for everything, and then some more. Promotions, marketing materials, dressings, fittings and props, photographer and filmmaker. You’ll want to make sure that you document the run up to the day and the event adequately.

“It is really important to share responsibilities. Divide work equally. Have a rota to split stand time and do your bit.” Katie and Caroline, Lala and Bea.

Spreadsheets are your friend. Use them to keep track of expenses, tasks that need to be done, your marketing campaign, exhibitors, sponsorship.

“As you will be in a retail setting, customers will expect you to have all the trappings of a retail store such as payment options, window dressing and well displayed opening times.” Charlotte, The Stitch Society.

4. Spread the word.

Cross promoting wins. Contact local organisations, events and networks and offer cross promotional opportunities in exchange for publicity.

“Have plenty of postcards available for all the brands. Don’t forget to include website, contact info and social media info.” Katie and Caroline, Lala and Bea.

Let local papers, forums, groups and networks know about your event. A local newspaper will almost certainly cater to your target market. Thanks Dulwich Diverter!

“Don’t hold back with your promotions. You have to put in work to get people to come.” Naomi, Naomi Purkiss Boutique

Plan your marketing. The month before the event was busy. We tweeted and tagged, linked and liked till our little fingers dropped off!

“Invite relevant people from the industry. Maybe invite a well known speaker, or have a blogger event. Host workshops in that space.” Katie and Caroline, Lala and Bea.

Create a hashtag for your event. Choose a good one! Throughout the day make sure you monitor that hashtag, tweet and reply on the go! Check out #BStore16 on Twitter!

“Plan to have some kind of a street presence. An A-Frame board, balloons, anything to catch people’s eye and alert them to the fact that something different/exciting is happening at this location.” Naomi, Naomi Purkiss Boutique.

Organise a Prize draw if you can. Who doesn’t love the chance to win a little something-something? We had bags, scarves, skincare, and even an art print!

“Plan a private view evening. Thursdays are generally good – offer drinks and a discount, especially if you know loyal customers are planning to come.” Nikki, Kreisdesign.

5. And it’s showtime!

Give yourself plenty of time for set-up. You may need to think quickly and creatively as your plans move into reality.

“If your space is small then don’t put out every product that you have, its much better to have a considered space where people can see each product clearly.” – Eleanor, One Nine Eight Five.

“Don’t display each brand separately, but style brands together in a way that is visually appealing and cohesive.” Alison, Ally Bee.

Encourage visitors to share tweets and photos. Not only will this leverage their networks, but you’ll also get some really good resources and quotes for later.

“Price everything individually (if possible) so that it’s easy for the customer to make a quick decision.” Naomi, Naomi Purkiss Boutique.

Enjoy your event. We had such a brilliant day at the department store. We met so many of our talented members, had amazing footfall, made some great contacts and generally had a grand time.

“Enjoy meeting people, have conversations with them and not necessarily about your product. Make sure you have time to network with the other vendors too.” Joanna, Juta Shoes.

Not so bad after all!


Got any more tips to share? Let us know in a comment or a tweet!

Want to know more about becoming a Blue Patch member? Click here.

Preeti is the Marketing Manager at Blue Patch. Born and raised in India, she spent some time in the US, completing a degree in Psychology and Biology, after which she moved to the UK in 2010 to study an MSc in Finance and Management. She can often be found obsessing over her plants, trying to clamp down on an ever-increasing collection of nail polish or exploring and taking photos of random corners of London. She loves browsing new popups around London, especially ones with jewellery.