Lessons learnt from having a 'Pop Up' store

{Images by Cath Connell from Leaf. Paper for Life}
If you are a regular to The Haby Goddess blog & Facebook page you will be well aware that last week  Kate from Hug Me Harry and myself rented a vacant shop in Emerald, Victoria and transformed it into a pop up store.

Now that my office/warehouse is almost back to normal with stock nicely put back into their place, I want to share with you some of the lessons learnt over the past week.  What worked, what didn't and some words of advice. 

Pick your partner wisely.
And I did! Kate and I worked beautifully together and I couldn't of asked for a more hands on partner that gave me the support and inspiration I needed to get through the week. You will be spending a lot of time together so you need to get along, be on the same page in terms of direction, have the same outcome goals and be able to share the heavy workload.

Time frame
Pop up shops are not something you can plan too far in advance.  Landlords are not going to commit to one weeks rent 6-8 weeks in advance in case they secure a permanent tenant.  You will generally have only a two week lead in time before opening.  So once you commit you need to get your skates on!

Setting a budget
There are no guarantees for anything in business.  While Kate & I had wonderful success this time round, who knows what the outcome might be next time. So many factors come into play. How much can you afford to lose financially if you don't make any sales? What is your financial goal? How many sales do you need to achieve this? Is that realistic?

A sense of Community
We went into this adventure thinking we would draw mainly from our collective online presence, subscribers, readers & customers with a Melbourne base.  While there were visits from our customer base (and this was most definitely a highlight), 95% of the traffic and customers were local to the store.  Keep this in mind for advertising etc.  

Use other local businesses.  I was surprised at how excited and willing to be involved they were.

{Image by Cath Connell Leaf. Paper for Life}

Things don't always work out as planned
Ok, time to swallow some pride here. 
I planned a crafting workshop to be held on one of the mornings.  It was to get my Haby Goddess customer base involved along with other crafty locals.  But it just didn't happen - no-one came!  I was a little bit devastated. I'm The Haby Goddess, this is my thing, this was something I had really wanted to work but it didn't.  After discussing it with Kate I know why it didn't turn out as planned and I was able to accept this.  Don't let these set backs ruin your week or lessen your mojo.  Suck it up and MOVE ON quickly.

Something has to give
If you look back over this blog, you will see that it's been a little while between posts, my weekly newsletter didn't go out and posts on Facebook were scarce.  I'm a one person show and already struggle to fit everything into my day.  Just because I decide that I'm going to have a pop up store doesn't mean that another 6 hours a day are going to miraculously appear. 

You either need to be super organised (I wasn't) or something has to give - and that's OK, it's worth it.
It didn't end at 5pm when the store door closed.  I still had to come home, tend to my online business that I had been away from, be part of my family & finalise the day at the store.

Now the dust has settled
WOW! We did it.  It was the most awesome few weeks and wouldn't take it back for anything.  There are so many people that helped us along the way - so a big thank you hug & kiss to all of you.

Will we do it again?
You will just have to wait and see xx


Carmel Morris said...

The crafty session sounds like it would have been great fun, had it worked. Maybe, if you do it all again, would you consider taking a limited number of bookings?

It sounds like you had a lot of fun all the same :)

Bree said...

Before I even read your post I was going to say that I bet pop up stores just don't 'pop' up! I would guess a lot of hard work and planning maybe even more so than a normal shop.

Good job though. It looked super cute.

Whitney said...

This is so helpful and so timely! I have been toying around with the idea of a pop up store for my online thrift store I am trying to find as many tips as I can.
Thank you so much for sharing your insights and hindsight! It really helps!



Patchwork and Play said...

Hardly a waste of time if you learnt from the experience! I wish I could have come along but I was away interstate last week! I'll be looking out for your next 'pop-up'!

Rie said...

I can't believe no-one came to your crafty session... If I hadn't have moved to Tassie I would have been there with bells on!

Caroline said...

I LOVE those prints in the picture on the lower left! Do you or your friend sell them in your online store? Please share where I can find them! I would've loved to have come to your pop-up store, but I'm in the US, so it's just a bit far.

Carol-Anne Baldwin said...

Good on you for everything you do! I would have loved the workshop if I lived closer (I'm in Brisbane!). The pictures looked great...good that you are a real 'doer' and not a procrastinator like me! :)

Catherine said...

Wow - this really does sound amazing! I'd love to see some photos - your pictures always look great so I'm sure you had a beautiful set up.

Good on you for going after something you wanted. Congratulations!

Anonymous said...


Thanks for the information. We run an online store and live in Emerald. I think I saw the pop-up store but am not sure. Great blog entry though, I've often wondered how it works with those short term stores.

Thanks for your post, I appreciate it.

The O's said...

A great post and from your heart which is what is important. Running my own online store some customers just don't give you the courtesy and respect that you have a family as well as running your store. It's so easy to forget there is a real person with feelings, tears and pride behind the virtual world we bring to them. A shame no one came to your session! Maybe you could have a 'press ready' release for next time, even if it costs you money to stick it in a local paper you could get back 10 fold :-)

I have been toying with the idea of popping up as there is a spare shop locally to me but know what energy is required for an Expo and at the moment that energy is being spent on my family.

Good luck!

Jodie @ The Haby Goddess said...

Thank you so much for all your lovely comments. It means a lot to me.

Caroline, prints featured are from www.hugmeharry.com