View Full Version : POP UP SHOPS- looking for info and expertise please

16-05-2011, 03:51 PM
Hi everyone, I'm looking to open a pop up shop for approximately 2 weeks to sell a range of lovely hand crafted works.

The plan is to find a suitable shop and invite artists and crafts folk to rent a shelf or rail for a small fee (60? per week) and take x% commission on sales. They would also work 1/2 day for the duration of the shop to help staff it.

Apart for rent, business rate and insurance are there any other boring back room issues that I need to consider?
Does anyone have any experience in organising one or taking part?

Any input, much appreciated.

Lorraine. x

17-05-2011, 06:31 AM
Hi Lorraine,
It's a nice idea, when you say they will "work" you may want to look at this wording further as this could be viewed as employment which could therefore involve extra work.

How do you plan on getting people into the shop and purchasing. If it's only going to be open for a couple of weeks then you need to make sure your target audience are fully aware of it's opening period.

Is there any reason you could not open it permanently rather than for just 2 weeks? If you are getting x per week/month per shelf from artists/crafts people then that could quite easily cover costs etc.

Personally I don't think that you can charge both commission and shelf hire, you are essentially charging them twice for the same thing. I also expect that then asking them to staff the shop may be a little much, however I may be wrong.

I would love to go have a shop like this to go in and browse/buy from.

I think the first thing you need to do is research the local artist/craft community and gauge there interest. I think that you would need a shop unit in a reasonably prime position due to your short opening period.

Hope this is of some help.


17-05-2011, 09:06 AM
Hi Ed, thanks for your input. The comment about employment is particularly interesting.

I recently applied for a space in a pop up shop in London and was declined which is why I would like to organise my own. The set up I've described is similar to what's happening in London which is run by an experienced group. That's why I trust their format.

I think 60 per week plus commission plus half a day's 'volunteering' is pretty reasonable. A one day craft fair usually costs 20-30 and you have to stand around all day selling yourself. I guess the x% commission covers the time that the artist is not staffing the shop, in the same way a retailer would mark up a wholesale price.

I actually have a couple of units in mind already. One is in THE swanky shopping area of Manchester, surrounded by posh delis, designer boutiques and offices. The other is in the arty boho area where the rent should be much cheaper. The leaseholder of the unit has 2 years left but he's closed the shop as the landlord recently did a lot of renovation work to the building. The leaseholder claimed the noise and scaffolding ruined his business so he closed but is still paying rent. Was thinking of offering him half of his rent for a couple of weeks. Surely that's better than receiving no money?! The renovation work is now complete but the shop is still empty. This particular unit is on a street corner so it has passing traffic on two sides.

The reason for not opening a shop permanently is because I don't have enough capital to ensure it's sustainable. I can sign up for a couple of weeks and be sure of success but in the longer term, it will take tons of admin which to be honest, is not something I want to do. I'm a creative at heart, not a shop keeper. The whole point of a pop up shop is to generate hype and excitement for a couple of weeks, get people to impulse buy, test new designs and get internet sellers onto the high street.

Getting crafty folk to sign up should be the easiest part of the whole thing! I've got plenty of contacts from fairs I've done before and I'm a member of Folksy and Etsy which are websites dedicated to handmade craft.

If there's anything else I've missed off, please let me know. I'm mainly worried about the insurance and logistics side of this.


17-05-2011, 09:23 AM
That all sounds reasonable. I've had a look at your facebook page and the things you make should sell. Once you have "rented" all your shelf space, maybe you could hold an open night with a few drinks and nibbles to drum up some interest and to get all of the people who have things in your shop together. This could bring some sales in, plus passers by at night would be curious what is happening.

When choosing the shop venue, you need to choose what kind of customer you will get from passing trade. Having offices, boutiques etc nearby could be advantageous as you could let the offices know what you are doing and then you would get trade from people who go to the boutiques.

You would also need to look at refund policy I think (may need to check), as with you being the "seller", buyers could come back to you.

Shame I'm not in Manchester as it would be good to come see how you do with it.