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Pop-up stores bring brands closer to costumers

27 January, 2011

REC 02

Temporary retail spaces known as pop-up stores “pop” into existence for a short time to help promote a brand’s image. Often located in places designed to surprise consumers, they are “born” with plans to close already in the works.

Pop-up venues are becoming more widespread due to the fact that they allow brands to connect with consumers; they provide customers with an opportunity to immerse themselves in the brand’s imagination. Some recent examples include the Lee Klabin brand, which opened its first pop-up store during Paris fashion week in order to give its customers a chance to explore the mind of a woman and, by doing so, discover part of the company’s history. An American company, Kate Spade, opened a temporary space in London’s Covent Garden from mid-October to November, recreating the young Kate Spade’s ideal New York apartment.

Another factor which helps to explain the growth of pop-up stores is the current financial crisis. As a result, more retail spaces are available in desirable areas. This, in combination with the fact that companies are often cautious about taking risks in such trying times, has increased the number of pop-ups, which are being used to test the waters in new locations before making the decision to rent a retail space on a long-term basis.

But this isn’t the whole story. Pop-ups are booming and pushing the limits of traditional stores, trying out formats such as luxury brand Elemis’ SpaBus or the PUMA Rewind Forward truck. If a customer wants to experience something unforgettable and become part of a different and “exclusive” happening—whether that means receiving a special treatment or buying a remake of one of the brand’s historic items—he or she has to connect to the company’s website or learn about the traveling store’s location on social networks.

Pop-ups also sprouting up in Catalonia

Temporary stores have also popped up in Barcelona as a marketing ploy designed to connect to customers. A famous example was Comme des Garçons’ “Guerrilla store,” which, in keeping with the label’s tradition, was opened for a year and spent a minimal amount of money on interior design. Another international brand which briefly sojourned in Barcelona was Nike, which opened a pop-up store during the Beijing Olympics as part of an effort to market one of the brands’ new lines in 8 global cities simultaneously.

A more recent example was Pink Tank, a space in the Boulevard Rosa shopping gallery dedicated to fashion and trends which opened the City Window project last October. Over the course of three months, the project aimed to create a new display each month, presenting pieces crafted by designers from three major world fashion cities: London, Paris, and New York.

This summer, a Catalan company, Sita Murt, also decided to open its first pop-up boutique in Sitges. The store, located in the center of the city and decorated in pink and white, sold not only pieces from the brand’s collection but also products which had been chosen by or created especially for Sita Murt, thereby bringing the world inhabited by the label a bit closer to the consumer. The company plans to continue their pop-up project in various cities throughout the world.

Another pop-up-related initiative, which took place in an old tanning factory in Igualada’s Rec neighborhood from November 25-27, 2010, aimed to provide a space for selling excess inventory belonging to 25 brands and designers including Custo Barcelona, Antonio Miró, Josep Abril, Miriam Ponsa, Pepe Jeans, IKKS, Cooked in Barcelona, Buff, Punto Blanco, and many more. The third edition of this new experiment, REC.02, brought together brands, designers, and other cultural figures. According to figures provided by the organizers, more than 25,000 people, 80% of whom came from outside Igualada, attended the event.

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