Pop-up shops are on the rise, with many brands and businesses using them as a way to tell their stories within an artistic space, creating an aesthetic experience for customers and testing out concepts and locations. Oramai London founder and Sustainable Pop-Up curator, Isabella Broden, gives her top-tips on setting up and running your own sustainable pop-up.
I started Oramai after an extensive career in the fashion industry working for various magazines and luxury brands. Being an insider, I witnessed the gross misuse of resources, where I struggled to align my own values to those of the industry. I wanted to create a revolution against the ever-growing “fast fashion” and create a space and community other like-minded people.
Creating a brand is not easy, and especially when you want to innovate a very old business model like fashion. Struggling to believe in myself, I reached out and discovered others that where embracing sustainable changes. I realised that together we could go further, so, by uniting brands and inviting other inspirational people to host talks and educate customers – the Sustainable Pop Up was born.
You need to know what you want to achieve for yourself and customers. I wanted a carefully curated multi-brand concept store, bringing together a unique combination of global sustainable style that offers customers a unique shopping experience that truly embodied the ethos of Oramai and the brands included.
We had a pop-up bar built by leftover building pallets, a chair built from drift wood from the beach, we embraced plants and only used natural materials, working closely with a sustainably-focused interior designer. By combining fashion with industry experts and wellbeing mentors, we created an environment that embraces the ambiance of sustainable luxury and encourages the consumers to make conscious decisions in their daily practices.
Creating an Experience
I believe in engaging with customers. People are becoming more concerned with who and what is behind a brand, they want to know what inspires you and understand why you do what you do. Online shopping is convenient but the real approach, the organic approach, the customer approach is still the most important. Without customers you have no brand.
By creating a pop-up, you create the bridge between digital and retail. Clients that love what they see but still aren’t sure, can come in, feel the fabric, see the colours and try the sizes. I think Pop Up is the most important sales channel of today, for new and aspiring brands.
Every pop-up is different depending on your brand and your mission. My mission is to bring inspiring brands together to evoke the conversations around sustainability – therefore, I organise a lot of talks and workshops on related topics such as tastings of organic wines, book signings, and movie screenings. I also I suggest for each brand to host a brand event to be able to invite their friends & customers to an intimate evening.
Cost, Location and Marketing
There are a few things to think about when it comes to the admin side of the set-up; costs, location, marketing to name a few. For me, and many of the other brands, I like to be in the pop-up myself so that I can interact with customers, which is one way to keep costs down as you don’t need to hire staff.
Location can be tricky as you want to get it right but keep the costs down. Research is key. Travel around, think about footfall, what are the busy areas? Is it mostly tourists or locals? I always spend a lot of time on the location and around the area beforehand to get a real feel of the place and the people.
When it comes to marketing, if there are other brands involved in the pop-up too then you’re all in this together. Utilise social media channels and word of mouth to create buzz (thank you Instagram!). Get involved in online conversations about sustainability and really cement yourself in the space.
One of the best things about a pop-up as that they just… pop up! They are limited and not around forever, but as we are building a community we have people that are hungry for our concept and look forward to our next pop-up. Each time our community grows and the event gets bigger and bigger. Keep building and using this momentum.
For our next pop-up event we are very excited to be trying Notting Hill for the first time. The location is just off Westbourne Grove and between the Reformation store and the deliciously organic Farm Girl restaurant, and we will be creating the conscious consumer’s dream destination. There will be a big launch party on October 4th so come and see us and join us in building a community that together can change the future of fashion!