26 Pop-Up Shop Success Stories to Learn From

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Written by Tristan Pollock

There is no doubt that it is hard to open a successful pop-up shop. There are many hoops to jump over before the doors open, and what then? Consider these 26 Storefront Powered pop-up shops who took the leap of faith, and had a successful payoff.

  1. Utilize all space you’re given: Chloe & Isabel had a small table to display their merchandise for Storefront’s NYC market pop-up shop launch. With this limited space, the jewelry company created a dynamic presentation that reflected both the brands personality, and peaked the customer’s interest.
  2. Add strategic seating: J. Hilburn knows that their target market, men, don’t love marathon bouts of shopping. Inside their pop-up shop in NYC, the brand added elegant seating for men to take a second to un-wind and appreciate their surroundings.
  3. Think out of the box: Mobile fashion truck TopShelf is used to rolling in to craft faires, makers markets, and outdoor events. By thinking outside of her mobile “box” and opening up a stationary pop-up shop where customers knew the brand would be at all times, TopShelf helped gain more of a steady loyal customer base. This could also work for food trucks, car companies and brands that utilize kiosks and vending machines.
  4. Add unique art: is an online resource for all things art. Classic, contemporary, sculpture, canvas, print… you name it. But it is one thing to see a digital jpeg online of Van Gogh’s “Starry Night”, and another to appreciate it in person. opened a pop-up shop gallery in SF to showcase purchasable exciting art, and other unique crafts. Art generates interest, and sparks creativity. Collaborating with a local artist whose aesthetic reflects your brand would be a distinctive touch and instantly elevate your space.
  5. Realize pop-up shops need not be tangible: is an experimental Marketing and Advertising agency. It makes sense then, that they would experiment with taking their concept to an experimental offline environment.
  6. “Do good” for others: Sahalandy sells high quality silk scarves crafted by the partnership with skilled Madagascan women. The “silkies” (as these women are called) hand-weave rare Boracera wild raw silk into Sahalandy scarves to maintain their cultural heritage, conserve the environment, and provide for their families and community. When customers know their purchase reflects a good cause, they are more apt to open their wallets. Consider benefiting local organizations/charities near your pop-up, and see how the money flies.
  7. Engage both genders: Androgyny manufactures a line that focuses on wearable fashion for both men and women. The branded started with one closet staple, a premium button down shirt that looks good on more genders. When Androgyny opened up their pop-up shop, they enjoyed both men and women purchasing merchandise from their apparel company. That is double the foot-traffic, and potential consumer base. Even if you aren’t a menswear, or womens-wear focused line, adding a benefit for the other sex can bring in more exposure and revenue.
  8. Add visual displays that reflect you: Northern Grade is a menswear line with classic sensibilities. They took complete advantage of their pop-up shop by creating an atmosphere that reflected their personality. The visual merchandise and props to showcase the clothing included rustic tables, magnifying glasses, pallet boxes and travelling trunks. It was as if you walked into a 1930’s man’s home, who wore modern on-trend and tailored clothing. Adding visual merchandise and clothing props that represent your brands image create more of a complete picture for customers entering the store.
  9. Brand yourself: Parcel kiosk company Bufferbox didn’t need anything other than their kiosk model when they opened a pop-up shop inside San Francisco’s coffee shop The Coffee Bar. Immediately, Bufferbox’s bright green bold branding woke up the weary eyed patrons that came to enjoy a cup of joe. When a brand has clear and dynamic branding, then you can open up a space in the middle of Aboriginal Australia, and gain a new consumer. If you are not 100% sure of your branding, then go back to the drawing board.
  10. Time is of the essence: Albert Ming creates tailored clothes for the stylish, hyper-busy man. He understands that this lifestyle segment doesn’t have all the time in the world to peruse merchandise in order to find the perfect outfit. For Albert Ming’s pop-up shop, he took the guessing game out. The store and apparel clearly stated the intention behind the product, making it easier for these men to target clothing that worked for them, and be on to the rest of their jam packed day. Consider categorizing your product to make it easier for your customer to locate different areas of interest within your store.
  11. Make the Rounds: Seapony Couture is an accessories line that has benefited from opening several pop-up shops in various San Francisco neighborhoods. By engaging with several different customer segments in these locations, the brand is gaining wider exposure and networking in the Bay Area community. One pop-up shop is good, but more is better.
  12. Think Global, Act Local: With one owner stationed in London, and the other in the States, Lazy Twins is a globally recognized brand (even if they haven’t expanded globally). However, they understand that they best benefit from placing pop-up shops in areas that best suit their target demographic. By thinking locally, they were able to open a successful pop-up shop in San Francisco. Don’t let the ideal expectations of your brand take away from where it will best profit.
  13. Be Festive: California based women’s clothing brand Nooworks manufactures their clothing using ethically sourced materials. In order to separate themselves from other brands that share the same image, they positioned their pop-up shop to coincide with the holiday season. While other competitors took to craft faires and markets, Nooworks opened their pop-up shop in one of the most highly trafficked shopping zones in San Francisco, The Westfield Centre. What is normally a busy mall, the foot-traffic more than doubles during the busy holiday season. Positioned next to Bloomingdales and other elevated retailers, Nooworks established itself as an exclusive emerging eco-friendly label. That’s something to enjoy egg-nog over.
  14. Stay Humble: Sustainably practiced knitwear line Fluffy Co already enjoys vast exposure due to being a vendor for online retailer Mod Cloth. Bu this hasn’t stopped them from hitting the pavement and gaining more exposure with their pop-up shops. Regardless of how popular your website is, never under-estimate the power of meeting your consumer face-to-face. Cultivating valuable relationships is paramount for lasting brand success.
  15. Collaborate!: StoreEnvy understands power in numbers. The online retailer played host to a collaborative pop-up shop at the Crocker Galleria in San Francisco. Brands available on the website were invited to participate in an offline location store where they could receive a lot of foot traffic that may not normally be interested if there was only one brand present.
  16. Test new markets: Street fashion and surf-wear line After Eleven enjoys the sand and sun in sunny Southern California. The chillier San Francisco atmosphere was their next location for expansion. But before they opened a more permanent brick and mortar shop, After Eleven chose to test The Bay Area market first. They got their toes wet by opening a booth at an outdoor vendor market to see if After Eleven resonated with the customer. If you are unsure of a location, test small first… then make a bigger commitment later.
  17. Offer a deal: When car rental company Zipcar opened a pop-up shop in Harrington Galleries, San Francisco, they didn’t roll out an army of cars. Instead, they utilized a small booth with incentives that every customer loves, exclusive coupons. Consumers who visited the pop-up relieved a $30 dollar driving credit towards a Zipcar, and had the option of joining their membership program for only $30.
  18. Light it up: Eco-friendly candle company Typelites transcends target markets. Everyone loves good smelling products, and they love it even more when their house continuously smells like their favorite scent. Type.lite’s come in a variety of fragrances, and bonus, give off a beautiful glow. Consider adding candles to your next pop-up shop to add this special touch that consumers appreciate (everyone loves how they look by candlelight).
  19. Pick a killer location: Sharmbaa is a relatively new brand specializing in unique multi-use scarf shrug hybrids. In order to not only gain more exposure, but the RIGHT exposure, they chose to partner with The Roger Smith hotel. The MARKET at The Roger Smith hotel is situated on a busy street corner in the heart of the hotel district in NYC. Thus, both residents in NYC and tourists were able to enjoy Sharmbaa’s merchandise at an accessible location.
  20. Cater to your audience: Although Little Vida sells children’s apparel, their real target market was mothers. They smartly knew that little ones can often get testy when running errands, even if the payoff is for them. Little Vida’s pop-up shop added activities for the kids that included face painting, music, games etc., to keep them happy, and parents shopping.
  21. Check events: There is no doubt that Bay Area’s Silicon Valley is the epicenter of all thigs technology… sorry Seattle. is a computer technology company who wanted to unveil their newest ioMemory platform. desired a pop-up store option to demonstrate the platforms power of accelerating databases, virtualization, cloud computing, and big data. In conjunction with the Oracle Openworld and VMworld conferences, opened up shop in San Francisco in close proximity to these technology savvy conferences, thus optimizing their pop-up shop by filtering the consumers they wanted for their brand. See if any brand relevant conferences, events, concerts, etc. are happening near your potential pop-up shop, and position yourself near them.
  22. Crave happiness: Pretty Parlor A Go-Go is a mobile beauty truck based in San Francisco. Through their quality services and products, Pretty Parlor A Go-Go ensures that every woman feel beautiful and happy when they leave their storefront. Make sure your customer feels happier when they LEAVE your pop-up store than when they ENTERED.
  23. Edible incentives: Artisan chocolate company Cocotutti opened up a pop-up shop in San Francisco to let foodies try their delicious and unique product. Offering edible treats and sweets at your pop-up shop will make customers linger longer, and enjoy the experience more.
  24. Be the first: Ministry of Supply is the first company to meld performance wear, and professional attire. With such an inventive and ingenious design, it made sense to capture the public’s attention as fast as possible, before potential competitors sprang up. If you have a new product that can change the landscape of retail, don’t give other brands the chance to catch up and take over your share of the target market.
  25. Welcome feedback: Customizable watch company Modify Watches believes in fun and originality as the cornerstone of their business model. They understand that everyone isn’t created equal, even if their product is. Modify Watches sells one product, watches. However, within this narrow category, they have over 300 variations of colors, additions, sizes, etc. that fit every consumer’s needs. Their pop-up shop functioned as both a storefront, and a sounding board where customers had their opinions heard on what they feel Modify Watches could benefit from adding. When opening your pop-up shop, welcome the idea of hearing customers concerns, likes, dislikes… after all, they are the ones purchasing your product.
  26. Surprise your audience: For Kanye Wests’s New York City YEEZUS Tour concert, the artist opened up a pop-up shop before the event to sell his merchandise. Instead of going the traditional route and selling fan gear inside the concert, he opened in a public space where fans can purchase branded apparel, regardless if they bought tickets or not.

All of these successful pop-up shops are unique and made the pop-up shop experience work for them. Let their experiences help your pop-up shop work for you too.

Northern Grade Pop-Up Shop



About the author

Tristan Pollock

Co-founder of Storefront.