Pop-up retail, or at least the modern-day version that we know and love, has been around since the late 1990s and the launch of the Ritual Expo, a one-day annual event in Los Angeles that quickly gained popularity for its cutting-edge mix of music, fashion and tech, attracting big names like Levi's and Motorola. The fashion world really took notice in 2004, when Rei Kawakubo's Comme des Garçons opened up a hugely successful temporary Berlin space in 2004.
Initially a promotional tool, the pop-up developed into something of a retail necessity, prompted by rising rent and rates and the ongoing decline of the traditional high street.
So, while big names continue to use promo pop-ups to launch product (everything from pizzas to binge-worthy television dramas, often with plenty of merch opportunities attached), the creative energy and excitement of the new also brings more distinct and exclusive brands and collections into a more mainstream setting, breathing new life back into physical retail.
And that sense of excitement is very real, as proven back in 2010 when an academic paper from the International Journal of Retail & Distribution Management demonstrated how "innovativeness and shopping enjoyment, noted as growing tendencies among consumers, affect beliefs, attitude, and behavioral intentions towards pop‐up retail". Or, in other words, we enjoy buying stuff from retail spaces that project a sense of new and nowness.
And, as Angela Blundell, founder of Concrete London, explains, beyond the obvious advantage of greater awareness, they also allow for deeper engagement and dialogue with consumers. "We have the opportunity to create a more experiential experience for the consumer which is so important to have in order to engage properly with your consumer".
Pop ups are a great opportunity to introduce new talent to consumers, in a market where the industry is flooded with thousands of brands. How can we put a brand to the forefront of consumers' mind? "Consumers need to feel that they are buying into a Brand that has integrity and this is why Brands need to display their consciousness", add Angela.
Concrete London are now showcasing a series of pop ups around London this Fall to introduce a variety of ethically conscious Brands who are working towards a cleaner environment for future generations and in return reducing the huge amount of landfill waste that the fashion industry create. These Brands use ethically sourced and produced collections that have a story to tell their consumers to educate and at the same time, offer a solution to buying more consciously. All partners are Female Founders which will be a main theme running through the pop ups, as the requirement to celebrate more women in business is never stronger.
Read our next blog to hear more about our Female founders in business.
Concrete London's next pop up of Female Founders is at Oxo Tower Art Gallery, Barge House Street, SE1 9PH from 25th - 31st October 2022.