In What's New, Industry News by Lauren Parker, Accessories Magazine

Melissa Gonzalez, CEO and Founder, Lion'esque Group

Melissa Gonzalez, CEO and Founder, Lion’esque Group

Pop-ups are all the rage, from pureplay e-commerce sites or brands that want to test out a brick-and-mortar, to retailers that want to try out a new concept or location. The rise in retail vacancies also means that space options are more prevalent, and the evolution of technology is beginning to democratize what’s possible in bridging the online and offline worlds. We caught up with Melissa Gonzalez, founder and CEO of “pop-up architects” The Lion’esque Group, as well as author of  “The Pop Up Paradigm: How Brands Can Build Human Connections in a Digital Age,” to glean insights into helping you run your next pop-up as smoothly as possible. Here, she offers her Top 10 tips:
1) Define your goals

Pop-Up Shops allow you to achieve multiple goals in a temporary setting, using a relatively low-cost alternative versus investing large sums of capital in order to sign multi-year leases, however, honing in on your goals from the start will inform you as to what your plans and strategy should be for your pop-up shop.

  • Some questions to consider and ask yourself:
  • Are you growing brand awareness for a specific product line?
  • Are you testing a new market?
  • Are you experimenting with what works and what doesn’t?
  • Are you educating customers because you notice a learning curve towards conversions?
  • Will you have inventory or will this be a shoppable showroom?
  • Are you testing the launch of a new partnership or collaboration?
  • Are you flushing out inventory with a sample sale?
  • Are you leveraging a highly seasonal business
2) Have a Style Guide

Think about how you will immerse customers into the lifestyle experience of your brand. What is your color palette? What key fixtures, materials and elements further the ethos of your brand’s DNA in a physical space?

Raden Pop-Up on Spring (photo credit BFA)

Raden Pop-Up on Spring (photo credit BFA)

3) Map your budget early on!

Brands tend to be surprised to learn staffing is one of the largest investments after rent. It’s always ideal to understand as many budget components as possible early on so you can make savvy decisions about where you can pull from or add to along the way.

4)  Be patient and savvy about location

Based on your goals, take the time to be strategic about choosing the RIGHT location, not just the one you can afford. Where is your target customer? Where else does he or she currently shop? Also think about aesthetic compatibility – does rustic makes sense or does an industrial space make more sense? Should it have an open loft feel?


Ovadia & Sons Pop-Up on Greene Street

5)  Map out your timeline

Don’t sell yourself short on options because everything is planned with unrealistic timelines. Understand if you will need custom store fixtures or will you be able to make off-the-shelf purchases; have a solid grasp on inventory production timelines, take time to create a marketing plan; invest time in properly hiring staff and creating a training manual and operations guide.

6)  Communicate!

A pop-up activation has numerous lines of planning from operations, to design to execution. Ensure the entire team that’s involved is kept up to speed from day one to avoid setbacks and costly “re-thinks.”

7)  How will you learn from your pop-up?

While in-store sales will always be a component of your goals, there is plethora of qualitative information you can gain from a pop-up store. Think about what you want to learn and how you will create opportunities to do so in-store via sales associates and customer activity.

8)  Start your marketing plan at least a month in advance

Your marketing strategy should have multiple components, depending on the length of your pop-up. Traditional media outreach will have the longest timelines, so be sure to know your targets and have the needed assets for outreach prepared (high resolution products shots, product descriptions and exclusive pricing information). Also take time to plan a calendar of in-store events with strategic partners to amplify awareness about your store; and create a dedicated landing page on your website for customers and media to easily access your store information.

M.Gemi Mocs

M.Gemi Mocs

9) Dedicate time to training

Store associates and brand ambassadors are one of the most important touch points with your customers in-store. Be sure to invest time in training them on your brand’s story, design process, product information and overall best practices in customer service.

10)  Capture the moments…

This is one area many forget with so many moving parts. Be sure to capture high resolution store photos and event coverage. These assets will provide strong marketing materials during the pop-up and after doors have closed.

In-Store Event at TheRealReal Pop-Up (photo credit BFA):

In-Store Event at TheRealReal Pop-Up (photo credit BFA)

Want more info? Be sure to check out “The Pop-Up Paradigm: How Brands Can Built Human Connections in a Digital Age,” Gonzalez’ new book:

The Pop Up Paradigm cover