Pop-Up Retail Store Layout and Design

Pop-Up Retail Advise

Businesswoman talking on cell phone in new office
Hero Images/Getty Images

A pop-up retail store is a short-term retail space that appears seemingly out of nowhere, quickly drawing in customers, and then disappears when the optimal selling season is over. You'll see large retailers such as Target, Saks and Macy's incorporating pop-ups in their main retail space to briefly promote trendy events, such as merchandise tied to a movie premier, special event or designer. Pop up retails stores can also briefly set up shop in a vacant storefront in a mall or other type of shopping center.

Page one of this article discusses finding the right location and mix of arts and crafts for your pop-up retail shop. Page two discusses pop-up shop management. This article wraps up the topic by covering tips for your pop-up floor plan, visual merchandising and advise for avoiding pop-up retail store pitfalls.

Designing Your Pop-Up Retail Store Floor Plan

After you line up your location, you need to start your visual merchandising by laying out your floor plan. If making this a cooperative event by having other artists and crafters share the space, draw up a chart showing where each vendor will be located on the floor. Make sure all your vendors know exactly how much space they'll have. Rent any needed furniture or equipment.

Arts and Crafts Pop-Up Store Advise

  • Advance planning is key. Like starting up any new facet of your arts and crafts business, it's not easy or an overnight project to set up a pop-up store. Unoccupied storefronts in hot retail locations aren't always that easy to come by.
  • Your pop-up strategy can backfire, if a you don't practice good visual merchandising, have a stellar shop layout and great customer service. You will probably be occupying your pop-up location for a maximum of three months. Approach this time with an open mind. If something about your set up doesn't work, be ready to change it.
  • As the pop-up retail store organizer, the best way to protect yourself, if sharing space with other artists and crafters is to get a partially non-refundable deposit from each artist or crafter interested in participating in the pop-up retail store. I recommend a deposit of half the pro-rated cost to rent a location as soon as you've signed the lease agreement with mall management. You'll need cash to give mall management a deposit, but equally as important, paying a deposit indicates serious interest on the part of your participants.

Shutting it All Down at the End of Your Arts and Crafts Selling Season

Your last step will be to make sure you leave the pop-up retail store location in the condition specified in your lease. You'll get back your deposit (and be welcomed back next year) by exiting in a professional manner.

If renting space to other artists and crafters, make sure it's part of their contract with you that they exit in a similarly professional manner. A good motivator is to make the return of their portion of the deposit, dependent on removing all their unsold inventory, displays and cleaning their portion of the store. This is boilerplate in just about every least I have seen.

More Information About Pop-Up Retail Shops

  • Cool Hunting - Holiday Pop-Up Retail Stores Around the World. Great images of eight store displays and interesting stories about brand-name and independent artist and crafter pop-up stores. Check out the visual merchandising for the Flurry. This is a relatively inexpensive shop set up but looks totally cool and definitely not thrown together for a temporary situation.
  • Portland, Oregon Area Pop-Up Shop Gets Into Holiday Season - more information about Flurry, one of five temporary stores in Portland featuring the works of local artists and designers. This pop-up appears to be subsidized. See if you can get your local government on board to revitalize your downtown or another area.
  • Mt. Pleasant (Washington DC) Temporium Pop-Up Retail Store offers handmade goods for sale from 30 local, independent crafters and artists, as well as special events that include autobiographical and theatrical storytelling, crafting, trunk shows, educational panels, and live music.
  • ArtsCetera - a weekend only pop-up store in Brooklyn, NY.
  • Want to do it on a smaller scale? Consider a retail mall kiosk.