In October 2011 a tourist in London walking by the famous huge ferris wheel, The Eye, would have noticed an incredible sight — as riders were circling around the ferris wheel, they were met at the bottom by master chefs, who were serving them multi-course meals right in their capsules! What the lucky patrons were enjoying on-site was a pop-up restaurant.
Pop-ups are temporary retail, dining, and experiential events — they appear with very little notice or fanfare, stay open a short time, then disappear. Often, they take place in non-traditional spaces. And for many reasons, after having already become mainstream first in London and spreading across Europe and elsewhere, they are now taking the U.S. market by storm as well.
Many people associate pop-ups with some of the big brands — Nike, Google, Amazon, Target and literally hundreds more recognizable names are using pop-ups to test new markets, launch new products, or refresh their image. Entertainers such as Bob Dylan, the Beatles, Kim Kardashian, and others host pop-ups to introduce upcoming tours or to sell related merchandise. Even the National Football League has taken to hosting pop-ups in advance of Super Bowls.
But to a large degree, pop-ups remain the purview of local merchants and artisans. Whether via farmers markets, trunk and yard sales, seasonal marketplaces, supper clubs, open artist studios, or simply one-off pop-up stores and restaurants, pop-ups are at the leading edge of the emerging “shop local” movement..
Pop-ups are extremely popular and becoming more so. They are filling empty storefronts and popping up in all sorts of unconventional places. Most importantly, everyone can join in, whether as a pop-up host or a pop-up customer. If you can give a class on something you know how to do, or if you have been crafting beautiful jewelry or home decor accessories, pop-ups give you an outlet to turn your hobby into a money-making venture without making a big commitment in terms of time or money. A driveway can become a rentable venue for local yard sales. There are pop-up stores within stores, pop-up restaurants within restaurants, even pop-up hotel rooms within hotels. Pop-ups have been held at sea underwater, high atop Himalayan mountains, and even in people’s private dining rooms!
How does one launch a pop-up and what are the keys to its success?
This is the first installment of a regular series that PopUp Republic, the leading social media marketing company in the U.S. focused solely on pop-ups, will be submitting on the pop-up phenomenon. As a head start, you are invited to peruse PopUp Republic’s social media — its website, www.popuprepublic.com, where you can find pop-up information and a directory of close to 1,000 pop-ups across the United States; its Twitter page, www.twitter.com/popuprepublic, where interesting news about pop-ups is tweeted throughout the day; and www.Pinterest.com/popuprepublic, where the coolest pop-ups from around the world are depicted through photos and video. For further information, you can contact JBaras@popuprepublic.com.
And stay tuned for the next article in your local Patch for some more PopUpdates.