Author: Catherine Fenning, 11 July 2017

Last week, Dr Charlotte Shi, a lecturer at Nottingham Trent University, revealed her research into the Pop-Up industry had found the format is increasingly important to household-name brands, whilst continuing to present valuable opportunities for newcomers to the market to test their products. Here I share with you three pop-up experiences currently in London, and highlight a key lesson from each.

Louis Vuitton x Supreme

After walking approximately 15 minutes up The Strand from Charing Cross, I had almost given up finding the temporary home of the Louis Vuitton x Supreme collaboration. Then, just after passing King’s College, I saw the queue. It was an incredibly long line of people, especially considering the non-descript building, with no Louis Vuitton or Supreme branding visible from the outside. That’s not to say there weren’t signs, however: Huge orange bags and vivid red and white products were in abundance. The laws of supply and demand were being employed to the nth degree, as shoppers were being allowed through the gates in their handfuls to the exclusive store (due to be open for only 3 weeks) where prices are rumoured to range between just over £200 for a bandana or keyring to £25k and up for a classic-with-a-bright-red-twist Louis Vuitton trunk. Despite little branding at the site, the power of the two brands, combined with word-of-mouth and the “limited edition” appeal have clearly been successful here – I briefly spoke with a Louis Vuitton official who said they were very happy with the store’s performance so far.

LVMH Pop-up

The Lesson: Get your (luxury) brands right and the shoppers will follow. If you’re not part of the LVMH Empire, it might be worth investing in a little more signage…

Magnum @ Seven Dials

At the heart of Seven Dials, there is the fabled Magnum pop-up. Immaculately designed - they certainly haven’t scrimped on their branding here. The premise is simple but brilliant: take a “naked” Magnum, dip it in molten chocolate and cover it in three of your chosen toppings (and more chocolate), all for a – debatably – reasonable £5.50. You can then take your Magnum and enjoy it in the themed store, in conjunction with Moschino. The emphasis of this store is definitely on “The Experience”, and it is delivered well; small touches such as signage spelt in lolly sticks enhance the appeal. This is an Instagrammer’s dream, which in itself markets the store, brand and Seven Dials.

Magnum Pop-Up Shop

The Lesson: The Devil’s in the details – the store looks great, and has plenty of fun quirks for its fans to enjoy. These details make the store and its contents ever so photographic, which in turn aids promotion.

@BirdStLDN

Just off London’s Oxford Street, by Selfridges, a side street has been reclaimed. The thoroughfare is now full of eco-friendly activities and pop-ups, all powered by sustainable energy. The Street claims to be the world’s first “Smart Street”, which focuses on offering a “traffic free, sustainable, innovative and experiential outdoor retail and leisure space”. The pop-up tenants will constantly evolve, presenting an ever-changing mix of innovative eco- and tech-focused food, drink, retail and leisure brands. During my visit, I experienced the novelty of walking over Pavegen’s energy-producing pavement to activate bird song and lights – it was enough to make me stop and fully appreciate my surroundings, including the Street’s Living Wall and the CleanAir bench (which recycles the surrounding “dirty” air into something healthier to breathe). Overall I found the site interesting, pioneering and pleasant; it presents a fascinating case study on how landowners can optimise any of their subprime space into something that will generate visits, rent… and potentially electricity.

@BirdStLDN

Source: @BirdStLDN

The Lesson: Offer visitors a unique experience and watch as they flock to you. This is a great opportunity for landlords to increase footfall, and for start-up or online brands to find their (physical) feet and expand their businesses. To ensure repeat visits, take a leaf from Bird Street’s book and ensure that your pop-up offer stays fresh and rotates between attractive brands that will spark consumers’ interest.

The pop-up industry offers landlords the ability to create interest, attract footfall and fill space, whilst providing brands the chance to trial products, design and messaging, both at relatively low cost, indicating pop-ups are here to stay (and go, and stay and go). For help contextualising the opportunity for future pop-up tenants, please contact Cathy Fenning.

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