Vancouver has opened up its doors to the pop-up shop movement. Seemingly enough retail opportunities for small businesses have never been so attainable. This collaborative system encourages retailers to weave their brand into the fabric of the community while still operating on a temporary basis.

As these shops begin to pop up around the city, we as designers begin to work out the creative how-to’s on approaching such a temporary space. The idea of designing a nomadic retail setting is exciting, and we feel motivated to connect people to that. When looking for a pop-up shop space, we encourage clients to find a space that suits their specific needs.

This will be a whirlwind of a time for most, so here are some tips to get started:

  1. Timeline is going to be an important factor, particularly with the fast pace of a pop-up. We recommend that if you’re doing any work outside of cosmetics to the space (think moving walls, adding plumbing, etc.), focus on submitting your drawings to the city for your building permit early. This is a tedious process for any project — trust us when we say you’ll thank us later!
  2.  When designing or sourcing out display fixtures for your pop-up, keep flexibility in mind. Showcasing your product effectively is going to maximize your product sold, and changing your display setup should be an efficient process. Overall setup and tear-down of the pop-up shop will also be easier. This will leave you with more time to focus on your time within the space.

For small businesses in particular, a brick and mortar space is a big commitment and can oftentimes be intimidating. Variables such as long leases and large overhead are often worth considering beforehand. However, the  pop-up strategy allows for a testing phase and can even make the transition to a permanent location easier.

Pop-up spaces are not only benefiting Vancouver retailers; fitness studios, exclusive dinners, and promotional events also are jumping at the opportunity to experiment in a space. Everyone is finding value in having the chance to test out their product in the local market before they launch into a permanent store. These spaces provide an opportunity to build brand awareness and get the buzz going around the exclusive space designed for them. Here are some great examples of recent Vancouver pop-ups, including Karma Athletics which was designed by yours truly!

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