How To Start A Pop-Up Shop – And Make HUGE Profits!

Want to make money quickly without having to invest lots in start up costs? Of course you do! Pop Up shops look like they are here to stay and they’re a great way of getting to market quickly, generating a buzz around your brand and getting quick feedback as to whether you are onto a winner.

Pop-ups can be very rewarding, lots of fun but do have a steep learning curve and if you mess up the launch of the store you may not recover from it.

Why set-up a pop-up shop?

Pop-Up shops are a quick way to enter a new market at relatively low risk with the potential to make high returns extremely quickly. Pop-up shops are seen as cool and trendy and it’s easy to create a buzz about them. However, there are steps that you need to take in order to make it a success.

1) What are you going to Sell?

Obviously the first thing you need to decide on is what you are going to sell. Are you creating and selling your own goods? Or are you going to resell someone else’s goods?

It’s important to match your business to the area, if you’re thinking of a trendy hipster place like Shoreditch Box park then its best to choose products that will appeal to that demographic, such as new trendy clothes or cool art work.

If you’re going for a pop up within a shopping centre or just a short term lease then there’s lots of money just opening a shop around certain times of year such as selling fireworks around bonfire night or Christmas presents, wrapping etc in December.

2)Work Out Your Budget

The pop-up industry is well established now so there’s many locations that will be open to offering short term lets and many business parks specifically set up for pop-up shops, for example Shoreditch Box Park.

You’ll need some funds to cover set up costs such as insurance, shop fit out, marketing material and stock. Some key questions to answer are:

  1. What is the rental?
  2. Are there any other costs such as utilities?
  3. Who is liable for what?
  4. Is there internet and WiFi, how can customers connect?
  5. What kind of insurance will you need?

3) Location

Location is the most important factor when starting up your pop-up. Tube stations and train stations are a great place to guarantee footfall. Examples of great areas for pop-up shops in London are Shoreditch, Brick Lane, Old Street Underground Station.

You also need to ensure that the location fits the brand and there’s not too much competition already.

RSVP have detailed a list of supper club locations in London that they curate, these include Covent Garden, Islington, Brick Land and Haggerston. They can be contacted on for details on venues.

AppearHere is the worlds biggest market place for short term retail space so it’s a great resource to research where you could set up and also what the costs are. You can go straight to their site here

3) Design your stand

You can either do this yourself or get help from a designer. We wouldn’t suggest investing too much up front before you get an idea of if it’s going to work or not. It’s more important to invest initial funds in a great location and great products.

Some good designers are:

Green Room Design, they are one of the leaders in designing pop-up shops. You can see some of their work here

Another market leader in this area is The Yard Creative, they’ve been designing pop-up stores for over 10 years and have some great examples that you can see here

4) Marketing & Promotion

A good location will certianly help your business but you still need to convert passers-by into customers. Generating a buzz about your business pre-launch will help you get off to a great start. There’s many ways to do this by using Social Media such as Facebook and Twitter as well as getting people on the street to hand out flyers.

You also need to nail the marketing while your shop is in operation. Again, printed flyers in nearby areas with high footfall can be a successful way of doing this. If you have the budget for it a quick slot on a local radio station can be a good investment.

It’s also important to keep promoting after you close, whether this is after the weekend or after your stay at the particular location has come to an end. Share your great pictures and stories across social media to keep a relationship going with your customers so they revisit you when you pop up somewhere else or to keep them coming back while your existing location is still in operation

5) Get the Right Staff

Pop-ups can be made or broken by the quality and energy of their staff. In major locations like London there will always be lots of people looking for temporary work, however this can also make it more difficult to identify the best people and also retain staff.

Some great places to look for temporary staff are:


Staff Heroes:


6) Know Your Exit Plan

You need to know what you are working towards. Is it to set up other similar pop-up shops? Or to test a concept that will be launched into a full scale retail unit.

Whatever it is you need to plan it out from day 1.

Example of a Successful Pop-Up Businesses

Bulk (London)

This innovative Pop Up based in Dalston came up with the bright idea of creating a packaging free supermarket. Customers bring along their own empty containers and then fill up on oils, pasta, cereals, nuts etc and then pay based on weight.

Great idea and they’ve been so successful they’re moving to a permanent location




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