By VIRGINIA BRIDGES
Scripps Howard News Service
---- — Pop-up markets. Pop-up restaurants. Pop-up shops.
The phenomenon takes many shapes as entrepreneurs use the markets as a tool to test their products and services, hone their business model, collaborate -- and, most importantly -- create a buzz and capture the attention of consumers.
For Christina Norsig, known as the “Queen of Pop-Ups,” a pop-up venture is defined as going into a location, setting up a temporary store and then leaving. Some pop-ups are markets with vendors under tents, others are held in empty retail spaces at malls or existing businesses.
“It is for a limited time,” said Norsig, who opened her first pop-up store in New York City in 2003 and later founded PopUpInsider, a national online exchange that connects potential pop-up retailers with landlords. Norsig also authored “Pop-Up Retail: How You Can Master This Global Marketing Phenomenon.”
The temporary nature, Norsig said, is one of the aspects that make the concept so compelling.
“I think it is a wonderful vehicle for small businesses to use, to build their business, and sample their business, meet consumers that want to be long-term customers,” she said.
In recent years, pop-up ventures in the Research Triangle area of Raleigh, N.C., have taken many forms, including seasonal holiday superstores, thrift and charity ventures, monthly markets and restaurants.
The Cookery, a Durham event space and commercial kitchen business incubator, took advantage of the temporary format by creating a successful pop-up restaurant called Hakanai, which lasted for three days in February.
The project took months of planning and required a Herculean effort from chefs, waiters and others, said Nick Hawthorne-Johnson. co-owner of The Cookery. But in the end, it created a unique experience.
Hawthorne-Johnson’s goal over the next year, he said, is to bring chefs from across the nation to The Cookery to do more pop-up restaurants.
Raleigh Denim rolled out its first pop-up venture -- Raleigh x Vetted Pop-Up -- in its New York City shop in March. The high-end Raleigh-based denim brand worked with Vetted, an online store that sells high-quality products with a great story -- including Raleigh Denim -- to create the market.
“It is technically a way to collaborate with another boutique that we like,” and connect with new customers that might not come into the store otherwise, said Victor Lytvinenko, who founded Raleigh Denim with his wife, Sarah. “We are just trying to keep it fresh, and see how things go.”
Some shops use the pop-up format as an opportunity for businesses to band together, test products or create a buzz by holding regular events.
In March, business owner Tracey Johnson and others started “Pop-Up Sunday at Ornamentea,” a monthly pop-up market in Raleigh that includes food trucks, vendors and a charity that benefits from donations in exchange for beer and other items.
“We just wanted to do a pop-up shop that was very community-oriented,” said Johnson, purchasing manager at Ornamentea, a craft materials store, and owner of Patina South, a collection of vintage and handmade jewelry and art.
Whitney Robinson, owner of Freshly Given, a business centered on transforming excess leather from local manufacturers into women’s accessories, opened a one-day pop-up shop in a building in Raleigh last July.
“A pop-up shop gets you outside of your own little world into reality,” Robinson said. “Just to see if you are marketable, or where you should be. And it’s good to have fun. It’s good to have interaction with real people. I would highly recommend it.”
Contact reporter Virginia Bridges of the Raleigh News and Observer at email@example.com.
Distributed by Scripps Howard News Service.