What is a “Pop Up” Shop?

According to Wikipedia “…a pop-up retail space is a venue that is temporary….The trend involves “popping-up” one day, then disappearing anywhere from one day to several weeks later. These shops, while small and temporary, can build up interest by consumer exposure. Pop-up retail allows a company to create a unique environment that engages their customers, as well as generates a feeling of relevance and interactivity.”

What does that mean exactly?  I found out a few weeks ago when my friends Michael and Hillary Anderson set up shop for two days in an upstairs space on trendy Melrose avenue here in L.A.

My friends own a brick and mortar clothing store called “Takapuna” in Santa Barbara. Once a year they bring their inventory down to LA for a two-day sale event at a rented space somewhere in the city. Michael usually calls the event a “Trunk Show”, but he much prefers to call it a “Pop Up Shop”. Unfortunately most Americans aren’t familiar with the term.  He says it’s used much more often in his native England.

I can now say that I’ve experienced first hand, the gritty, only open for two days, phenomenon of the pop up store. It was fabulously fun.  The “unique environment” Wikipedia mentions included in this instance a trek up a flight of narrow, dimly lit stairs.  (I felt like I was going to one of the one-night-only dance clubs I used to frequent in my 20’s.) Essentially it was a party.  I had to get there by a certain time, on a certain day, or miss out completely. Everyone at the event had been invited by the owners. Only at this party I  shopped for clothing while I sipped wine and made chit-chat with strangers.

The jacket, below, was really fabulous.  Unfortunately someone else got my size.  That’s the thing about shopping a pop up, you’ve got to get there and claim your goods before everyone else does.  Once they’re gone, they’re gone for good.

There was menswear as well.

I’ve known Michael since I was about 11.  He makes all my father’s clothes.  They’re best friends.

Well, you get the idea: shopping, music, wine, and fun.

Have you ever been to a pop up shop?  If so, what did you think?  Would you go if you heard about one?


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18 Responses to What is a “Pop Up” Shop?

  1. Hugo January 3, 2012 at 10:28 pm #

    Love the new layout!

  2. Arash Mazinani
    January 4, 2012 at 8:57 am #

    Never been to a pop up shop although love the concept. They also have sample sales in some big cities for designers. But you have to be somewhere like London or NYC.
    Arash Mazinani recently posted..How To Set Goals & Actually Achieve ThemMy Profile

    • Heather Fonseca January 4, 2012 at 10:22 am #

      I went to a sample sale years and years ago. It was fun but the only thing that fit me were the shoes! (Everything was model size.) I’m going to keep my eyes open for more pop up shops happening here in LA. I have heard about some but I don’t usually have time to go.

  3. Mary Jo
    January 4, 2012 at 10:30 am #

    I have such a problem with impulse buying that I avoid these things like the plague, but that said, it looks like a lot of fun! Hope you’re having a great first week of the new year Heather!

    xoxo Mary Jo
    Mary Jo recently posted..bright and back to workMy Profile

    • Heather Fonseca January 4, 2012 at 4:42 pm #

      I did do some impulse purchasing, but I love what I got so I guess it’s OK?

  4. Paula January 4, 2012 at 4:25 pm #

    Hey Heather–Happy New Year! The new layout is great–I changed mine too. Out with the old, I guess.

    Havent seen much of the pop up shops but we do still have trunk shows here in NE. Love that dress with the flowers!
    Paula recently posted..New Year MetamorphasisMy Profile

    • Heather Fonseca January 4, 2012 at 4:41 pm #

      I’m wearing the dress in my next post! I love it too. Unfortunately we’re having a heat wave here and I can’t wear anything the least bit wooly or I melt. I’m a bit behind on my blog reading but I can’t wait to see your new look.

  5. Sylvia
    January 5, 2012 at 2:20 am #

    They are everywhere here in Singapore. Many are not so temporary as they are setup in shopping malls. They are flexible shops as they have have short term leases. I think they are a great idea for new businesses to try out an idea. Once the idea works they can make the bigger investment of a ‘real’ shop. They are also fun to discover the new and upcoming trends!
    Sylvia recently posted..How to dress for a first date at 40?My Profile

    • Heather Fonseca January 5, 2012 at 9:36 pm #

      That sounds so cool. I haven’t seen that many here, but maybe I’m just not noticing them?

  6. Dress Code: High Fashion
    January 5, 2012 at 2:45 am #

    Looking like a cool place. I love the black and white jacket.

    Hugs, Jen
    Dress Code: High Fashion recently posted..Top 10 Picks: Joop Shoes S/S 12My Profile

    • Heather Fonseca January 5, 2012 at 9:34 pm #

      Oh me too. That jacket was great. Unfortunately it was $250 and I just couldn’t spend that much.

  7. Patricia Streeter
    January 24, 2012 at 9:17 pm #

    Wow, if I knew about these shows, I would definitely go. How can you find out when they will be held? What cities do they occur in? It sounds like a great way to get the girls together and work to grab each other’s sizes. Six sets of eyes and six pairs of hands are better than one!

    • Heather Fonseca January 25, 2012 at 12:21 pm #

      I usually find out about them from friends or from the blogging groups I’m involved in, but I would suppose that they’d be advertised in local papers too.

  8. No Fear of Fashion March 5, 2014 at 1:03 am #

    Ha… An oldy through Twitter. We have Pop up shops a lot in The Netherlands, but they are slightly different. What you describe is to me a crossing of our pop up shops and a “sample” sale.
    The pop up shops are indeed to interest the customers for a brand which is normally f.i. Only to be found online. Here they usually rent an empty shop space in the centre of a city. Depending on how long the shop is available they might be there for a week to three weeks. So it is also open for non invitees. When you have a sample sale it is usually by invitation and held by a brand not a shop. It can hold indeed just samples in sizes I don’t have anymore or stock which has not been distributed to the shops. So usually stuff from that particular season.
    Love the jacket indeed. Too bad.

    • Heather Fonseca June 9, 2014 at 5:35 pm #

      What I went to really was more of a sample sale, or just an old-inventory sale, but they called it a “pop-up shop” and it does sound like a lot more fun than
      “old stuff on sale”.


  1. Mini Dress | The Style Confessions™ - January 5, 2012

    […] took this mini-dress home after my visit to the Takapuna pop up shop and was so excited that I had to wear it the very next day. I really didn’t notice that the […]