All about pop-up shops

5 min readJun 30, 2017


(An interview with Soumya Jain and Fletcher Viders of PopMark by Ciara Doran)

Weirwood Tree—part of the Game of Thrones pop-up bar by HBO in DC

Can you explain what a pop-up shop is and how it works?

A pop-up shop is any temporary retail store. They can take many creative forms, such as utilizing empty storefronts, mall kiosks, or shipping containers. The first step to setting up your pop up space is to find the best location for your brand and budget. Understanding goals is key. Are you looking to gain visibility? Or, are you trying to market a new product? After finding your space, physically setting up your store design, merchandise and online announcements can take a few weeks.

When did you first hear about pop-up shops and how are you involved?

Living in Los Angeles, both experimental activations and underutilized spaces caught our attention. Some of the busiest and best places in the city such as Melrose, Hollywood, and Santa Monica are filled with “For Lease” signs as rising rents have pushed out smaller tenants. Along with our generations “Get it before it’s gone” trend, thanks to FOMO (Fear of missing out), pop ups are the perfect short term activation to bring new ideas and experiences into the community. However, planning these can be very difficult. That’s why we started PopMark. We offer an online platform to plan, book , and publicize your pop up shop! Connecting together space owners, vendors, and brands, PopMark wants to help you connect with your customers in a physical way.

Do you think this is a trend or will we see more and more of these popping up on an on-going basis?

If it is a trend, it’s certainly not going anywhere soon. The pop up industry has grown to 10 billion in sales and over 60% of customers have attended a pop up shop in the past year. According to a Gartner survey, 89% of brands believe that their differentiation is up to customer experience. Online solutions aren’t personal. Hence, the pop up trend continues to grow in popularity.

How long does a pop-up normally operate for before moving on?

These stores can last anywhere from 1 day, a few months, and even a year. This can both depend on your brand success in the space and the goals of the space owner. For example, some spaces are looking to constantly refresh their merchandise and may offer a 1 or 2 day pop up space. Other leases that usually require 10 years would be willing to consider a 1 year pop up lease. Many pop ups go on to open physical retail stores after testing different pop up locations.

How do pop-ups advertise? Do they literally just pop up or do they create a hype?

It depends on the strategy! If your space is small, and you have many fans waiting for something like a new product launch or an album release, pop ups are kept on the DL. For example, Rihanna’s pop up with Fenti announced and launched a pop up the same day. And there were instantly lines out the door. However, many other brands slowly create a hype strategy. Take Kylie Jenner! She dropped hints for months about her upcoming line and progress of her store at the Westfield Mall. It’s especially important for smaller brands to spread knowledge of the location to their fan base to make sure everyone knows the details.

How can we find out where they will be?

Usually brands advertise about their pop-ups through traditional or social media (email, facebook, instagram, snapchat etcetera) Sometimes partnerships with influencers can help spread the word. Some niche websites cover it as well but those are area specific. Our instagram does shoutouts to pop ups in USA so more can know about it, and most of it is user-generated content. Know of a cool pop-up in your area? DM us on insta — @thepopmark

Are there any particular ones that you really enjoyed or stood out?

Nike’s sneakeasy pop up for Air Max day in Los Angeles, New York City, Chicago and Toronto

There are so many cool pop-ups happening all over the world! Loved Nike’s takeover in four cities for Air Max Day, Quero’s exceptional store decor in LA and NY, social impact pop-ups in Quakertown to help people affected by Heroin, the women’s march pop-up to unite activists, dog-centric retail by BarkBox that let dogs pick their favorite toys… the list goes on!

What is the best thing, in your opinion, about pop-ups?

What we love about pop-ups is that they are blank canvases for people to get really creative and build something unique. This motivates individuals and brands to go above and beyond to make it an experience worth the short time it will be around for. The consumer has different expectations from a pop-up than they do from a regular store — they go there for the “WOW” factor, be surprised, delighted and be able to discover new ways of connecting with the brand. We believe it is a crucial factor to build brand loyalty.

Is it mainly well-known brands?

Eméché Cupcakes pop-up at Boombox Wicker Park, Chicago

Not at all. There has been a paradigm shift in retail overall, and pop-up experiences are part of any brand’s omni-channel strategy. Location is arguably the most significant factor for opening a pop up and usually it is the biggest hindrance for upcoming brands to adopt the pop-up model. However, we are working on making that accessible for everyone so anyone with an idea can adopt this resourceful marketing and distribution strategy.

How would you go about setting one up?

Although it might seem daunting at first, we’ve simplified the approach for pop-ups to 3 basic steps:

  1. Find the ideal location where your customers want you to pop up
  2. Plan and execute with the right vendors
  3. Spread the word

These steps involve multiple aspects, but with our help you can find the right spot based on social and location data analysis, access our list of pro-vendors and publicize with influencers / media outlets to have the right experience!

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(This interview was first published on Ciara Doran’s blog —

Read other articles by PopMark:

Pop-Up on a Budget : 5 Money Saving Hacks for Your Brand

Why a Pop-Up shop — Time to hangout with your customer!




Best way to find, create & attend #popupshop, #popupevent and any short-term commercial space. Launch your next #popup with us!