Singhnature was asked to host a How to Pop Up Workshop presented by Shopify during their Toronto Retail Tour at The Burroughs Building.  Arati Sharma, Shopify’s Community Development Manager approached me to host a 7 Steps on How to Pop-Up with a curated panel of Pop-Up experts including Jodinand Villaflores Aguillon of AHOMERUN! and the gentlemen of JM & Sons  Andre Jr. Ayotte & Mackenzie Duncan.

Here are a few photographs captured by Andrew Williamson.




1. Conceptualization.

What’s your unique pop up idea? Brainstorm, write it down and let it be your guide to popping up. Ask yourself “Why? What? Where? When? and, How?” Why will popping up benefit or give value to your business or brand? What is the value of popping up? Where can you pop up and gain the most exposure and brand awareness? When will you pop up? Is it going to be a Holiday Pop up to give an extra push in sales during the Christmas holidays? How will you execute popping up within a budget and in a timely fashion that will not take away from the existing business?

2. Budget.

Create a budget and stick to it. What are your expenses? Location, marketing, branding, fixtures and transportation, are just a few things to think of, but don’t be afraid to go into the minute details. How can you make your budget work for your needs? Look for in-kind support from family and friends; don’t be afraid of bartering or reaching out to get sponsorship. You have to think outside the box and be resourceful.

3. Inventory.

Think about how much product do you have and how much product you need to have for the Pop-Up. Know your demand and be mindful of your audience and inventory levels. You don’t want to be stuck with more inventory than you need. Be sure to have a system in place that will help track your sales and inventory whether it be an excel sheet, or a POS system that will make process easier for you. Shopify creates a POS system which provides you with great tools and resources to manage your Pop-Up.

4. Location

Look for a space to cater to your audience in terms of location, size and street traffic. Always sign a contract to secure your space and don’t be afraid to negotiate your lease. Think outside the box with locations and be prepared to do a lot of cold calling, along with follow ups with landlords. A few examples of places to host a Pop-Up are in shops, gallery spaces, vacant retail locations, shipping containers and monthly markets. A great online tool to use is Store Front. It is like the Air BnB for Retail locations.

5. Visual Presentation.

The layout of your merchandise affects your sales, so be creative. Always remember to ask for a floor plan in order to create the layout. You will need to merchandise:

1. props
2. fixtures
3. pricing
4. tagging
5. lighting
6. window
7. display
8. signage (inside and out)

Ask these questions: Will you be buying the fixtures or will you be renting? Do you have items from around your house that can act as useful props or act as fixtures? Work with what you have and really figure out creative ways to keep the budget low in this area. A Singhnature rule of thumb is to always Recycle, Reuse and Reinvent as much as you can when popping-up.

6. Sales/Marketing.

Create sales targets for the time frame you are popping-up and set daily goals. Marketing is key to the success of your pop-up. Utilize free social media platforms such as Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Mail Chimp. You can also reach out to bloggers, publications, and always push your pop up by word of mouth. Collaborating with established retailers, bloggers, or brands is a great way to gain exposure and to help cross promote the pop up event. Keep in mind the value of why you are popping up and how it’s going to benefit your brand, whether it is a push in sales or solely experiential marketing. Always ask yourself what you want to gain out of this experience: sales vs. marketing, or both? Lastly, launch the pop-up with a celebratory party. This creates buzz and a great way to get the word out about the pop up via social media outlets.

7. Operations.

Is the beginning and end process of point of sales environment? This includes everything from the transaction of sales, creating a budget, managing expenses, customer service, insurance, and security, Internet, outsourcing and hiring help. Operations can be the most grueling part of popping up but it’s the glue that holds the whole experience together. This is where you take charge and lead, outsource help and delegate tasks. Shopify can help with inventory and operations for pop-ups. It’s a great place for e-commerce solutions, with its POS design for brick-and-mortar retail, and on the go pop-ups.

For more on 7 Steps of How to Pop Up.

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