Pop-ups set to bloom as insurance scheme rolls out

It just got a whole lot easier for companies dreaming of opening up a pop-up store, with Sydney-based start-up Pop-up Brands about to launch a range of short-term public liability insurance policies.


Pop-up Brands, launched in late 2012, connects those with vacant commercial space to start-ups, via a listings platform. Aspiring pop-ups can browse options and apply online to lease spaces for several months or even just a couple of days.


Finding the space, negotiating a short lease and short, yet affordable, insurance policies have been key issues holding start-ups back from launching pop-ups so far.


StartupSmart recently spoke to fashion designer Tom Gunn about the challenges of launching a pop-up store.


Founder and director Marianella Watman told StartupSmart innovative pop-up stores run by online entrepreneurs were the future of retail.


“We’re only just at the beginning, and in our view, pop-ups are the future of retail,” Watman says, adding that Pop-up Brands has connected over 1000 entrepreneurs to spaces already.


“Everyone is going online, but we’re always going to need that one-on-one time with customers. Nothing will ever replace the need to touch and feel a product, to find out your size, to talk to the staff,” Watman says.


She says pop-ups provide an opportunity for in-depth and casual feedback and validation.


“You can pop up where your demographic is, just for a weekend, for example. It means you don’t have to have the long-term lease, so you can test the market and reach out to the people you want to speak to,” Watman says.


She says the other key value is marketing, with investing in your pop-up’s fit-out also paying off.


“It’s another marketing channel,” Watman says. “The elaborate world of your pop-up itself needs to be thought about. It’s a way to get people to find out about you. It’s about having good strategy around using that physical space.”


Watman recently worked with online shirt tailoring company Joe Button, who shared a pop-up store for two weeks with designer eyewear brand Bailey Nelson in Melbourne. She says the opportunity for customers to sample the fabrics and meet the team behind the brand was a powerful opportunity to increase trust and boost sales.


Watman says the most successful pop-ups have a clear, location-specific strategy for getting the most out of the investment.


Pop-up Brands is set to launch an international platform of the service in August, but Watman says the insurance options it is developing with an insurance provider should be available shortly before that.


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