New Pop-Up Retailing – On and Offline, USA
A host of American retailers have been refreshing the pop-up shopping model – both on and offline – by upgrading to more refined, transient retail venues and pop-up e-boutiques based on limited-edition collections.
In February, US-based denim line Citizens of Humanity invested heavily in its first pop-up in West Hollywood – hiring interior designer/creative director Rene Holguin to create an airy, loft-like space. It included sections for locally made art and home décor, as well as a lounge and espresso bar. Befitting the investment, the shop is being run entirely on an appointment-only basis until it finishes in August 2013.
While the brand is currently stocked in department stores and boutiques across the globe, the pop-up represents a test-bed of a design concept that may well lay the foundations for a permanent standalone store.
Applying the popular ‘flash sale’ concept (where time-restricted sales foster a sense of urgency for consumers to buy) to pop-up retail, San Francisco-based e-tailers Quitokeeto and Project Bly have both debuted e-pop-ups dedicated to small but full-priced home decor collections.
Quitokeeto – launched in 2012 by US cookbook author Heidi Swanson and her web designer husband Wayne Bremser – generates excitement by popping up with new collections only every two to three months.
Similarly, Project Bly debuts a new collection of textiles, furniture, décor and accessories culled from various global locales every two months. It’s currently showing a selection of items sourced from Mumbai, India, while a collection from Bolivia is set to debut online in May. Expect more to come from suppliers in Malaysia, Uzbekistan and Ghana.
More traditional travelling pop-up shops are still enjoying success (see Brands on Tour: The Benefits of Nomadic Retailing for more). This is exemplified by the popularity of recent mobile ventures by US-made menswear line Northern Grade, which took its pop-up to five US cities for brief one-day stints earlier this year; and spectacles retailer Warby Parker, which has been touring its Class Trip boutique – housed on a school bus – across the US for the past six months.