POP-UP stores are sprouting across Cape Town with many young entrepreneurs using the concept to test the market and expose their products before moving to a new venue.
Shopping malls and landlords are also benefiting from these instant shops by renting out retail space which could have remained unused for a few weeks or months.
Leigh Thomas, retail leasing manager for the V&A Waterfront, said the Waterfront had its first pop-up store last May.
“They create a point of difference, thereby enhancing the customers’ shopping experience. The concept allows us to have a store open and trading continuously between leases, thereby eliminating dark stores and the perception in the market that goes with that.
“And there is the obvious generation of income for the landlord, which covers the period of time often required to finalise a long-term lease on the premises.”
Former boutique owner Kumari Govender, who manages the StyleSociety blog, said that when the effects of the recession hit her customers last year, she closed her boutique. Her first pop-up boutique was at a Cape Town hotel and she has since arranged several pop up sales in the city.
Her next pop-up boutique will be opened in November, she said.
“It is a good way to get your product out there without being tied down.
“Because you can move to a new venue, it helps to extend your market.”
Tammy Foote and Lauren Terras recently opened their pop-up store, TLC, at the Space for Life on the Foreshore.
The plan is for it to be open for another month but this could be extended.
Foote said they had planned to sell their furniture online but some of their customers wanted to see what they were buying. She said the fact that pop-up stores were temporary was a benefit as people had limited time to visit it and customers wanted to see what it had to offer before the store moved on.
“You can also reinvent your business. If what you are doing is not working, you can do something else when you pop up at a new venue.”
Union Made Showrooms, a sales and distribution agency for several fashion brands, recently opened a pop-up store at the Cape Quarter Mall in Green Point.
Commercial manager Nat Iqana said there was less risk involved in opening a pop-up shop.
“You are not entering into a long-term lease. It allows you to test the market in these economic times.”
Maciek Dubla, media and marketing manager for Design Indaba, said its pop-up shop, called Pop Shop, that was based at the Waterfront for two months, was the “physical manifestation” of the Design Indaba online shop.
He said it was the ideal opportunity to showcase their designer wares.
Dubla said the pop-up store concept allowed for the flexibililty to close down and open up again in another spot.
In doing so, it constantly created a hype around Design Indaba and made people aware of their online store.
Thurlow Hanson-Moore, founding partner of thewinwingroup, which has set up pop-up stores for several brands, said by branding a store as a pop-up, consumers expected it to close after a month or two and to move to a different location with none of the stigma of trying to start a store and having to close after a brief period in business.
“On the contrary, the fact that you are in a location for a short time creates hype and demand,” he said.