All you need to know about setting up a Pop Up at Old St Station

Earlier this year we set up a Dona Rita pop up at Old Street station. Since then we received a lot of questions regarding our experience.

In this post we’ll answer the questions that were asked to us, as well as questions we initially had prior to our pop up.

Dona Rita’s pop up stall at Old St Station

How?

The company behind making this possible are Appear Here. You can do everything online. Their customer service is great.

Did you have to pitch?

No, but when we applied we also sent them a PDF document with supportive information about who we are and what we sell.

How long?

Our pop up lasted 2 weeks.

How much?

£1,730.00 inc VAT.

Was it long enough?

Considering this was our first ever pop up, yes.

How big is the space?

You have an area of 2.6m by 2m to play with.

Is it safe?

Yes… and no. While you’re there, it’s pretty safe. But at night the homeless people try to get into the stall and steal any valuables. So you should bring 3 padlocks with you and make sure to never leave anything valuable there over night.

Is it clean?

No. It’s actually pretty dirty. You’ll want to bring some gloves to open and close the covers. If you’re selling food you’ll also probably want to give space a good clean before hand (like we did).

Can I do it alone?

As per Appear Here’s contract, you need to be there from 7:30am — 7:30pm every day. It’d be very pushy to do it by yourself. In our case we had a friend helping us for 4 hours per day (thanks Jojo 😘).

Did you make money?

Yes, in total we made £5.2k gross.

We sold 9,147 cheese balls

What are the busiest times?

The station is especially busy in the mornings and afternoons. But in the morning everyone’s in a bad mood and late for work. We made most of our sales between 5:00pm and 7:00pm.

What was your product?

We were selling only one product, which is the only thing we do: Brazilian Cheese Bread — Pão de Queijo. This is a very popular snack and we feel like it was the perfect type of product to sell at the station. A lot of people are in a rush and want something they can grab & go. We noticed that stalls selling main meals weren’t selling too well. Maybe people don’t feel too comfortable buying main meals in the station…

How to get people’s attention?

The footfall at the station is immense. However most people won’t even notice that you’re there. We feel like the best way to capture their attention was by having a unique looking stall and playing music out loud. We created a Dona Rita playlist on Spotify full of Brazilian tunes. People loved that. The way we decorated our stall was by making it look very tropical and homey. We put up a backdrop in the back which we printed from Flyer Alarm.

Clara at the Dona Rita pop up. Photo by Zsuzsa Zicho

Did you have WiFi?

There’s the London Underground WiFi but you’ll keep getting disconnected. We bought this EE 4GEE WiFi from Argos and it did the job pretty well.

Would you do it again?

Yes. In fact, we are! This time we’ll be at Old Street station for one month. Find us there during the whole month of November 🎉

Final tips

  • Ensure you have enough stock up front. In our case we anticipated we’d sell 5,000 balls and in the end we sold twice as much. As a result we had many long nights in the kitchen.
  • Be nice to the homeless people, give them some free food or drink.
  • Watch out for the school kids at around 3pm. It’s a good idea to remove any free samples you may have if you want them to last 😂
  • Usually the last day of your Appear Here contract you won’t be able to trade, as that’s when you need move out and hand over to the next trader.
  • Promote your event as much as you can. We did that via our social media channels and we wrote a press release. We had TimeOut London, Evening Standard, Hot Dinners and more writing about us. We couldn’t be more grateful for these! 🙏
  • Get prepared to have thousands of commuters asking you for directions.
Rita with our last customer of the pop up

Special thanks to the guys from Just Another Slice who handed us over the space along with loads of tips! You should definitely check them out, their brownies are divine!

Thank you Zsuzsa Zicho for the lovely photo of Clara 💛

Stay in touch

We’ll keep posting our experiences on here. You can also follow us on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.

Thank you
Pedro

👋

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