Success Stories

MM.LaFleur’s Director Of Retail Shares With Us The Key To Its Growing Success: Pop-ups

Written by Arielle Crane

MM.LaFleur is a direct-to-consumer professional womenswear brand, founded by Sarah LaFleur, that’s making a big splash. It’s pushing the envelope for retail trends in workwear, revolutionizing the workwear space through luxury workwear, a personal-styling service, and pushing out powerful content that’s as multi-dimensional as it’s consumers.

The next stop? Disrupting the pop-up scene. Lucky for us, the brand extended their pop-up with us in LA and has its sights on other cities. (Check out all its other pop-up locations here.)

We sat down with Rachel Mann, the brand’s Director of Retail, to discuss their pop-up strategy and how it fits into their growth and creative vision.

Storefront: What initially inspired you to do a pop-up? Is this the first one?
MM.LaFleur: LA is an up-and-coming market for MM.LaFleur, and one that has a lot of growth potential. We have done several trunk shows in LA in hotel suites, but this was our first pop-up in a ground-level space. We’re excited to invest in developing the LA market.

How did you know it would be a good idea? What were the primary goals?
Our past visits to L.A. were successful, and our data shows that we have a loyal and growing customer base there.

The goals of this pop-up were two-fold: Acquire new customers in the LA area, and provide our returning customers with a rich and immersive experience that will allow them to experience our brand in a new way (and drive revenue, of course!).


Take us through the entire process of pulling off this pop-up — where’d you start? How’d you find the space, the staff, the products and displays?
We found the space through Storefront. We knew our dates, our budget, our ideal location, and our needs for square footage. We’ve used Storefront before and had great success.

We have a traveling pop-up stylist team based in NYC that helps to produce our pop-ups, and we supplement them with local hires in LA. Caroline Brown, our head of visual merchandising, cooks up the design of the space. She is really talented and able to work on a lean budget. Since it’s not our first rodeo, we’ve learned a lot about what works from previous pop-ups in other cities.

Our inventory assortment is based on our sales plan, and any regional nuances we’ve seen for best-selling products in the LA market.

What lessons have you learned so far? What would be your words of advice to brands?
Have a plan to drive traffic. Don’t assume that because you’re opening something ground-level that droves of people will just wander in and buy things. You need to create buzz and actively drive customers through the door. Events are a great way to kick things off. (Read this post on how to build an engaged community through pop-ups)

If this is your first pop-up, use it as an experiment! Not every pop-up is going to drive a ton of revenue, and that’s okay. Maybe your objective is to test new products and gather feedback, test a store experience that you might want to create at a later date, engage with your VIP customers, or acquire emails for follow-up initiatives. Failure can be great, as long as you’re taking notes and learning for the next time.

What is something you wish you had known prior to putting together a pop-up?
– Pocket Wifi is expensive (ha!).
– Something will always go wrong with your deliveries; plan for the worst.
– Task Rabbits are a great resource for building things or helping with steaming clothes and other set-up tasks.
– Accessible parking is critical (especially in LA).

How did Storefront specifically collaborate with you throughout this process?
We found the space of our dreams and were able to book it easily.

 

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About the author

Arielle Crane

Arielle is the Communications Manager at Storefront. Beyond offering up insights on the future of retail and pop-up shops, she also loves to write, travel and watch documentaries. She lives in Brooklyn, NY.