Pop Ups Aren't Just For Books
The new retail Pop Up store is making waves in Joburg. Don't know what we're going on about? Read on
by Thandie Dowery Posted: 2010/10/25
Something is causing a stir on the Johannesburg retail scene. It's there one moment, and gone in the next. We're talking "Pop Up". And you need to see it.
The Pop Up Store is a new phenomenon in the South African retail industry that has been creeping up on consumers in drips and drabs. And because they are so sporadic, it's a bit hard to spot them. And they're even harder to spot when you don't know what it is you're looking for. Thankfully, Adrienne Wiggins, owner of the Rewardrobe Pop Up, puts the concept into perspective - "A Pop Up Shop is a store that sets itself up temporarily in different locations to create a buzz among its customers."
Keeping this in mind, I can recall my 1st encounter with one eGoli when I was hunting down reasonably priced vintage furniture in Parkhurst (it isn't a wonder why I wasn't successful - "cheap" and "Parkhurst" are definitely not synonymous). There I was driving down the famed 4th Avenue and what did I see?! An entire store dedicated to my favourite thirst-quenching beverage - Vitamin Water! I milked them for all I could get - that is unlimited, FREE access to the colourful drink. Thank goodness I did because, low and behold, the shop was gone in a couple of months. No more pink, yellow and orange signage. Just vacant retail space. The sight was so sad that a tumbleweed literally rolled past while I wept inside.
The Pop Up Shop can be hosted by one retailer or it can be a collaborative effort as Nola Williams, from the Stuff That's Nice Pop Up, explains. "Often individual designers team up to draw like-minded [sellers] in gallery-like spaces or interesting venues," says Nola. Her description brings to mind one particular Pop Up. Every month Deer Hunter, a shop in Greenside, hosts a sale where space is provided for other people to have their very own Pop Up Store. Called 'Junksale,' this Pop Up sees a collective of designers, students and stylists selling goods from their own labels. You can pick up anything from vintage clothing, to handmade jewellery, to handbags. And, they've got a loyal fan-base which has been scooping up all the hot items, while you're reading this article wondering, "Why haven't I been there?"
Well, if you're a person "with a taste for something different...who values sweet finds and individual attention" - that's Nola's definition of the Pop Up Shopper - then you should have been there. Adrienne sheds more light on the Pop Up Shopper - "usually they're a trendier consumer who is trying to find something different to what is available in chain stores."
One wonders why so many retailers and sellers opt for the Pop Up route as opposed to simply opening up shop. Turns out that a Pop Up is actually simpler. Both Nola and Adrienne offer a view into the retailer and seller's psyches, citing financial commitment as a major factor. "The [seller] can keep their costs down - i.e. no heavy rentals/staff costs, etc," shares Nola. Another viewpoint is that this nomadic retail experience never has quiet periods, like their more stationary friends - "We started with the Pop Up...then opened a shop, and then realized we were way too stagnant like that. It's just more exciting and we can reach more people with a Pop Up" says Adrienne.
And for the average Joe and Jane, what is the draw card for these groundhog-style shops? Well, Nola suggests one reason - "they're fun, fresh and something new to do in Joburg over a weekend versus fighting your way through a swarm of people in a big mall over ''pay day weekend."" Adrienne adds, "They are more like going to an event than to a store." Nola continues, suggesting that you're getting unique, "once-off pieces" without the once-off price tag (meaning I'll-never-blow-this-much-money-like-this-again price tag).
Let me divulge about the Pop Ups that I know of. At Dirty Little Secret - a vintage pop-up fashion, music and performance art space that caters for men and women - you can scoop up vintage clothing. Held in Jeppestown, it's pretty sporadic so I'm not sure when the next one is but you can Pop Vie a mail at the below addy and she'll keep you posted. Junksale, in Greenside, is a mixed bag of fashion and takes place either the 1st or second Saturday of each month. Stuff That's Nice is more women's clothing and stocks vintage. There are no size-exaggerating change room mirrors, and there is the added perk of a glass of bubbly upon entry. The Stuff That's Nice Pop Up will soon be taking place monthly. The next one is on Friday, the 29th and Saturday, the 30th October. Rewardrobe is an offering of pre-loved and gently-worn clothing that was initially hosted in Woodstock, Cape Town. They will be touching down eGoli in March 2011.
Get more info:
Dirty Little Secret - contact Vie Arem email@example.com
Junksale - look up 'Junksale' on Facebook
Stuff That's Nice - www.stuffthatsnice.co.za
Rewardrobe - check out www.rewardrobe.co.za
Know of any other great Pop Up stores? Let us know!