Where to even begin? As some of you know, we had a pop-up store in Shoreditch for two weeks at the beginning of August. The support I received was unbelievable! The store was full of flowers and gifts from friends, supporters, and Rama followers, some of whom have been with us since day one, three years ago.
The best part for me was the stories we shared. Online shopping is nothing compared to the in-person experience! I am a massive people person and I was so energised meeting you all - I felt like I was flying on my walk home each evening!
When I first shared the idea of opening a pop-up I was met with a lot of doubt, all from loved ones with my best interests at heart. But, as they already knew, when I have my heart set on something there is no stopping me! I took a leap of faith and the whole experience exceeded my expectations.
It made me realise that when you get out of your comfort zone and do something that is in your heart for so long the help and support will come from places you least expect.
Here are some lessons learnt (or confirmed) during the two weeks:
- You realise how much support is out there for you if you just ask. People love to help if they can so don't feel bad. No one had ever achieved anything on their own. Those that state otherwise are either deluded or lying.
- You get to meet your customers. This has been the best part! Some have been following us on Instagram since the day we launched in 2018. Some even travelled from outside of London just to visit the pop-up! I don't have the words to describe what I felt!.
- Everything comes together in the end. I know this sounds generic and overused but it's true. But there is a caveat: you must be authentic. The pop up was 110% me - from the colour combinations, the tea I served, the books I curated, even down to the room scent! If you try to copy someone else that's when the trouble starts.
- There will be mini disasters but you just learn to roll with them and find solutions. In real life I don't have a Plan B - my Plan B is to enforce Plan A! But it doesn't work that way when you organise your pop up. Always try to think of what you would do if something went wrong or didn't arrive in time. There will be things you don't think of or couldn't foresee but you will find a solution, even if it is just accepting that not everything can be 100% how you envisioned it.
- Leave enough time for set up – it will take twice as long as you think! The same goes for your budget - there is always something extra!
- Keep your expectations low for your first pop-up. Don't put so much pressure on yourself - the first time is as much about getting your name out there as about making sales.
- Stay for longer if you can. As mentioned above, it takes time for people to know that you are there. I once read a stat that it takes around nine interactions with a brand before someone buys so you need to play the long game. We would have loved to have stayed longer but this opportunity was only for a few weeks - we will definitely be staying longer next time.
I hope these lessons help you if you are planning a pop-up or are considering a leap of faith. You only regret the things that you don't do!