There was a time when going online was the wave of the future. Everybody wanted to get on board the digital trend and move their business to the World Wide Web. Retailers clamored to bring their goods to the internet, every business large or small wanted a web presence. These days, it’s next to impossible to find a business that doesn’t have an online component. Restaurants, stores, museums, service providers, and of course artists all have their own websites. The internet is a vast place which can be a blessing and a curse. While it may be possible to direct quite a lot of traffic to your site, the competition can also be impossibly stiff.
Because of this, and because of a recent trend toward going back to basics, the very same businesses who fought to find their online footing are now returning to the world of non-virtual sales. Enter the pop-up shop.
Pop-up shops began on the West Coast of the US in the early 2000s (and elsewhere before that–though the term wasn’t officially coined until then) and have come to represent a growing movement for all sorts of businesses. The concept is quite simple: find a bit of vacant storefront, acquire it for a short period of time, and set up a temporary space in which to display and sell your wares or exhibit and sell art.
Popup shops speak to a day gone by when this sort of business was not at all uncommon. Craftsmen and artisans would regularly initiate temporary marketplaces selling until their goods were gone then moving on. These days, most urban areas are seeing a massive resurgence of popup shops.
Finding space to hold a pop-up shop used to be a complex endeavor. Sometimes having the right network of connections could land you in a prime location, and other times it was necessary to just pound the pavement, seeking out promising storefronts and inquiring with whoever happened to be listing them.
Like pretty much everything else these days, there is now essentially an app for that. Well, a site at least. Storefront is a site dedicated to matching up those with available space with those seeking a place to mount a pop-up shop. Think Airbnb for business.
The site itself could not be more user-friendly. The landing page is clean and easy to navigate with a prominent search field and several major, clickable cities in a neat little row underneath. You can search by location and even narrow down by your particular project though it is wise to keep your parameters as broad as possible in order to return the best results.
If you need a little more help, Storefront offers a concierge service in major cities around the world. You simply fill in your geographic requirement and answer some questions about your specific needs–everything from how much space you need, your budget, or features like internet service or special accessibility. There are fields to allow a more detailed description of your particular project to give the concierge a better idea of your needs.
Going it alone though–or at least trying to–will definitely save you some serious money. Brace yourself when you click search, the prices for pop-up spaces very much reflect the markets they are in and are typically charged by the day. Be prepared to shell out upwards of several hundred dollars per day for a pop-up space in any major city.
Storefront is a great resource for more than just renting space. The Storefront blog offers content on all sorts of topics ranging from how to get the best return from your pop-up space to profiles of other well-known and up and coming pop-ups.
Storefront’s Best Practices page offers all sorts of valuable tips on how to make sure your pop-up is worth the time and money. Because while this is a trend that has been growing for quite some time, it’s safe to say there aren’t necessarily a lot of experts in the field just yet and the whole prospect can feel intimidating and overwhelming.
Storefront is changing the still nascent landscape of pop-up culture by eliminating the footwork of finding a space. This frees artists up to spend more time and energy planning what actually goes into their pop-up rather than fussing over the details.
Planning is key when undertaking an endeavor such at this. Although the very idea of a pop-up shop seems to suggest a fly-by-night operation given to last minute lack of planning, the truth is any successful exhibition requires a fair bit of preparation. Treat your pop-up like a buisness venture because that’s exactly what it is. Familiarize yourself with the market at hand, take time to read through Storefront’s suggestions gleaned from much experience in the field, and develop a plan of attack.
Time is of the essence when running a pop-up. Make the most of it. Organize your priorities, find your space, and let the magic of the pop-up–and the magic of Storefront–work for you!