Ten Useful Items to Have in Your Pop Up Venture - dummies

Ten Useful Items to Have in Your Pop Up Venture

By Dan Thompson

Every pop up needs to have some things – besides the big things, such as an idea, great branding and so on. Pop ups need several smaller, more practical items that you can easily overlook.

Make a coffee machine or teapot available in your pop up

Ideally, have both a coffee machine and a teapot in your pop up. The presence of tea and coffee transforms your pop up. Your pop up instantly becomes more friendly and inviting, and your visitors feel more relaxed. Providing refreshments shows you’re not a normal shop, but something new and more sociable.

Create a corner (even if it’s out of public sight) where you can have the coffee machine on the go and boil a kettle. You don’t need to become a cafe, but if your customers are really interested, offering them a tea or coffee while they make up their mind may just sway them.

Add tables for your pop up

At times, you may need an extra work surface. For example, when you’re setting up, running a workshop, holding a launch party or packing up, a couple of extra tables are useful.

Folding decorators’ tables are ideal; unlike larger commercial trestle tables, they fold in half and fit into the boot (trunk) of a normal car. Don’t buy cheap wooden ones; they fall apart far too quickly. Professional painters and decorators use high-quality, metal-framed pasting tables, and the most stylish ones look really good and are firm and sturdy to work on.

Add seats to your pop up

Shopping is becoming far more social. A seating area in your pop up helps visitors feel more comfortable and increases the time they spend with you. A sofa is ideal, of course, although not always practical.

Have a few chairs around for people to take a breather or create a seating area with tables and chairs near your coffee machine.

Have a few folding or stacking seats as well, in case your pop up gets really busy.

Provide heaters (or a fan) for your pop up

Empty shops seem to be universally cold or far too hot. Electric fan heaters are fast and effective, but they do add to the electricity bill.

You know how shops always have a heater over the door? It creates a warm air curtain to stop cold air coming in – and it works. So put one heater near the door.

In summer, it’s guaranteed your shop will be far too hot. An electric fan keeps the air moving and cools down the shop quickly.

Provide WiFi access for your pop up customers

No pop up is complete without WiFi access. Fortunately, a gadget called a MiFi connects to mobile broadband and then acts as a WiFi router for up to five laptops or other devices. A MiFi, which is the size of a mobile phone, is ideal for creating temporary WiFi hotspots in empty shops and provides a reliable, robust connection.

Using a MiFi enables you to work on a laptop from the shop and engage with your audience on social media.

Offer WiFi to visitors, and they’ll stay longer, and you have more chance to engage them in what you’re doing.

Use bed sheets to soften your pop up space

Using fabric softens a space, gets rid of nasty echoes and hides clutter. Single bed sheets are about the right size for covering trestle or pasting tables. They also make handy curtains, can be pulled tight to make fake walls and are useful for window displays.

Buy a load in one colour to match your branding, and your space looks coordinated.

Have a toolkit handy at your pop up

You need a few tools, and with a useful toolkit, you should be able to pull off that Mary Poppins trick and look prepared for any emergency.

You don’t need anything special: just a claw hammer, pliers, scissors, a couple of screwdrivers and a staple gun. Add gaffer tape, masking tape, nylon fishing wire, small tacks or nails, drawing pins and staples, and you’re ready. Sticky tack, bulldog clips and dressmaking pins are also useful for displaying things.

Be prepared in your pop up with a stepladder

At some point in every pop up you need to reach a little higher. You may need to clean windows, hang artwork, touch up paintwork or just place something on a shelf.

Use a broom regularly in your pop up

Empty shops and other spaces regularly used for pop ups are dusty. A good vacuum cleaner is useful, but a broom, dustpan and brush are more useful for day-to-day use. Keeping your shop clean really improves its look, and even the most interesting, gritty and urban spaces look better when the floor’s swept.

Keep stacking boxes to organise your pop up

You have stock to organise, as well as day-to-day supplies, leaflets, cleaning supplies and a dozen other things. Without a little organisation, your pop up can start to look like it’s popped apart.