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Top tips for running a pop-up


Top tips for running a pop-up

Seeing other artists and stalls at comic con was part of what inspired me to start my business, so launching my online shop with a pop-up at the MCM London Comic Con in 2011 felt like a good place to start.



Pop-ups have always been an important part of my business – in particular specialist events such as Hyper Japan and Comic Con - and I’ve seen first-hand the impact they can have. Every time I learn so much based on the first-hand reactions I get from customers, so now I always run several pop-ups throughout the year.


Are pop-ups right for your business?


Although a permanent location can work for some people, whilst you’re establishing your business popping up can help generate a real buzz. Being there for only a limited time can make your products special, and particularly at events. If people feel like they only have one chance to buy your products in person, they’re more likely to do it.


Figure out how much you need to sell to break even. I start planning at least 8 weeks in advance and block out at least one week before and after to sort out stock and packing. There have been times where I’ve found myself ironing display t-shirts at midnight or driving around trying to source supplies when a delivery didn’t arrive on time!


Beyond sales, pop-ups allow you to make new contacts, reach new people and can even be a press opportunity.  As I own an online shop it’s great to meet customers in real life. I can instantly see people’s reactions to my products first hand so I know what kind of designs are working. Being able to talk to customers also strengthens their relationship with the brand and for me; it’s a perfect excuse to make a colourful impression in real life.



I launched my online shop alongside a pop-up event, and knowing I had a definite deadline before the event gave me accountability to get everything up and running in time. There wasn’t time for any delays! At your very first event you have to take a risk and just go for it. So make sure the cost of the space is a cost you’re comfortable with if it turns out to be a learning exercise.

How to secure your location…


Pop-up-2.jpgAs my brand is quite specialist, I look to what my customers like and focus on getting in front of them. Comic con is a really popular event for me but can be hard to get into. (It’s like booking Glastonbury tickets).


Think about where your audience would go. Twitter is a great source of information if you follow influencers in your field and see what events they’re excited about. B2B shows will be in industry press and consumer events will often be covered by YouTubers and bloggers. Become part of the community and you’ll hear about opportunities!


If you’re looking for a high street pop-up shop, register on directory sites like or to get notifications when spaces are available near you.


Once I’ve had a successful event somewhere I tend to keep coming back at least once a year. You can build a loyal following - at some annual events I get complaints if I’m not there!

Popping up and standing out


Getting ready for events is a huge amount of work that can be really stressful. It’s also exhausting – early mornings, long hours and lots of hauling boxes around when you’re setting up. Make sure all your efforts are worth it.

At pop-up events you can be competing with a lot of different businesses in one small space. So your branding is really important. You need to be recognisable and make sure your customers remember you.


I get around this by making my stall as colourful as possible! Check your stall from an outsider’s point of you – what’s the first thing you see when you walk up to your stall cold? Is your company name is clear?


My top three tips for pop-up shops:


  1. Plan ahead – get as much ready as you can in advance. Don’t leave it till last minute.
  2. Make lists of everything you could possibly need, so you’re ready for anything!
  3. Promote your pop-up to your customers – and take pictures or videos to extend the reach.


Looking for advice on running a pop-up stall? Ask in the comments.



Great post! Great idea, I hope to do one later this year or 2018.