Adidas uses a pop-up shop to great effect, strengthening brand identification

Like mushrooms, they spring up overnight, and just as mysteriously vanish from sight. Now you see them, now you don’t.

 We are talking about the Pop-up shop, a growing trend first spotted in Tokyo, London, and New York City in the 1990’s.

Also known as flash retailing, these temporary retail spaces are often used to sell limited edition products, attracting large numbers of eager customers in a short space of time. When stock is sold out the shop closes, only to re-open, perhaps in a different location, once new products have been received.

A pop-up shop can be as simple as a counter inside an existing store, or located in a store front window. It can be housed in a container on a sidewalk or plaza, in an arcade, on a vacant lot, anywhere where there are potential customers. As space is rented for a short period (typically 1 day to 3 months) overheads are kept down, making this the ideal way to launch new products, generate awareness, move inventory, or test an idea or location. For small enterprises it means being able to do business without the expense of storage space or having to hire permanent staff.

A number of Capetonians however came up with a pop-up shop of a different kind.

Employing the concept of the temporary retail area, art director and designer, Max Pazak, and copywriter, Kayli Vee Levitan, from M&C Saatchi Abel started The Street Store in Greenpoint, Cape Town in January this year.

This charity initiative aims to provide homeless people with a “shopping experience” when obtaining second hand clothing. Cardboard posters with slots are fixed to a fence, and donated clothing hung through the slots. “Customers” can browse through the offerings and make their choice. Assistants are on hand to help them with their selection.  The benefits of this wonderful idea are two-fold: On the one hand it is environmentally sound, as it promotes the recycling of clothing. On the other hand it removes the stigma attached to hand-me-downs and preserves the dignity of the recipient.