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Fox & Furb launches it's first Pop Up Shop at John Lewis, Chichester with The Great Brand Exchange

Updated: Jan 19

Want to hear my TOP 10 TIPS for running a local pop up shop in a large retailer?


I learned so much from running our first pop up shop with The Great Brand Exchange and definitely want to share it with anyone thinking of running one.


Our story.


I was buzzing around the Fox & Furb workshop getting everything ready to launch our new furniture range in person at John Lewis at the end of 2023 once I had my booking confirmation through.


It was the first time our newly developed furniture would be showcased in person since filming Make it at Market, series 2 with the BBC earlier in the year.


I had no idea what to expect, I just knew I wanted our set up to showcase our new furniture & soft furnishings range and introduce everyone to our bold, bright and bespoke upholstery brand.


I was initially quite nervous, but saying yes more in 2023 seemed to be inviting in some fantastic opportunities so my gut feeling was to just go for it.


hayley hosting pop up shop in John Lewis fox and furb

Let me share what I learned...


Here's my TOP 10 tips:


1. DONT BE AFRAID TO GO HUGE ON YOUR BRAND SIGN


Own it!


I was worried my huge A1 sign was going to be too much... but in the grand scheme of things the shop floor was HUGE!


Small text on a singular sign can easily get lost. I say go big or go home on this one. The worst that can happen is people get blinded by it and come over to ask what all the fuss is about!


A lot of customers initially thought I was part of John Lewis running a featured display!


If my sign writing was a bit bigger, it would of saved a lot of "I actually don't work for John Lewis, I handmake all this furniture" conversations....


Our Brand sign, next time I would make the smaller sub heading larger for more impact.

....it wasn't all bad though, because interacting to say, "I actually don't work for John Lewis, I am a local business running a pop up shop," worked as a nice hook to get customers talking with me about what I do!!


This lead to visitors reading about my brand story (a more personal sign about your business and you), taking a business card or asking about an upholstery commisson or new product to buy.


Loved that #silverlining


That, and the charismatic, fantastically loud 'greeter' John Lewis had stationed on the door who really made everybody smile and get talking.


This leads me onto tip no.2


2. JUST START WITH HELLO, GOOD MORNING!


Day 1, I was NOT confident. As someone who generally works on my own in my workshop at home most days, I found it incredibly scary to put myself out there and be like;


"hey, come look at all this, I made it...what do you think?!"


I realised I was actually incredibly shy when it came to talking about myself and my products.


I had worked so hard, for months designing a bold (not everybody's cup of tea) unique furniture range and I was terrified of failure.


What if no one likes it?

What if the price is not right?

What if I have put all this hard work in for nothing?


We have all had those horrible little thoughts creep in at one time or another haven't we..

My best advice is to simply try and shake it off as quickly as you can.


All it took was a few lovely chats with some lovely people and those negative worries just started to disappear. Those chats all started with "Good morning".


By the end of the weekend I was chatting away with everyone and anyone and it was an amazing confidence boost!


And if all that fails...see tip 3 below.


3. ENLIST HELP FROM FAMILY & FRIENDS


Not only because the long days is a lot for one person but because there is no greater cheerleader then a family member or friend who is incredibly proud of you!


And so they should be, they have seen all the behind the scenes work, late nights, early mornings and hard graft you have put in!


----Let them BRAG! ----


Watching my husband talk about me and my products and hearing everyone's positive comments and lovely compliments was a huge boost for my self confidence.


Confidence is contagious!


4. DONT BE AFRAID TO ASK QUESTIONS AND GET FEEDBACK


Yes, we all primarilly want to make a load of sales and leads...


But... hosting your own pop up shop can also be a unique opportunity to test the waters with new products and ideas in person where people will give you invaluable feedback.


My mother in law once said to me,


"Not everybody will like your stuff, and that's ok."


And that really resonated with me.


So I decided to focus on finding out who does, and focus on them.


Ask questions to your potential customers, let them test out your products and tell you what they think. If they all don't like something maybe you make a small change and that re-designed product is a huge success. If you don't ask, you won't know.


Knowledge is power.


Once you get to know your focus market you can really increase your business and learn how best to promote your USP to the right audience.


That in turn will lead to more sales and customers that come back and tell all their friends about how engaging you were.


This leads on to tip no. 5...


5. INTERACTION


One of our most popular products to date has been our iconic folding footstool...the Foldstool®.


With it being such a unique product, their is nothing else like it on the market which means most people who came to chat to us at the pop up had no idea how it worked or what it was until we SHOWED THEM!


It was like a lightbulb moment the first time I did that live demonstration. It even gathered a bit of a crowd!


The demo made a huge difference and lead me onto thinking, how can I get people to engage with the products more, see tip no.6.


6. REFLECT AND GRAB A NOTEBOOK


My husband may disagree with this tip while he trips over a piles of notebooks filled with ideas, lists and business notes on a daily basis BUT... each day, I wrote down any thoughts I had while running the pop up shop.


Reflecting on what worked well (and what didn't) really helped my productivity and growth over the weekend.


Following the success of my Foldstool demo on day 2, I decided to make some smaller signs to put on my furniture..

(Just printed at home and put in a little picture frame nothing to expensive).


Fun little engaging signs that read things like;


"have a seat, did you know I am covered in recycled fabric"


and


"ask me about my unique folding legs".


By having more interactive signage, it meant I didn't miss any potential customers because if I was talking to someone, they were intrigued and waiting to chat with me about my products.


7. EMBRACE THE QUIET PERIODS, THE DAYS ARE LONG


I found this really useful, because full disclosure sometimes the quieter periods did drag!


(I also had a 2 hour round trip each day and I needed a few quieter periods to rest and grab a quick coffee and cake break!)


Stepping back to view my stand from a customers pov, helped keep me busy when their wasn't as many people in the store. This also grabbed the attention of those who were around and helped me try out new display ideas too.


You don't want to be overrun all the time. Quieter periods gave me an opportunity to film some social content and make notes for the next day too.


All the staff at John Lewis in Chichester made such a big effort to come and see me and my products during quieter periods and were instrumental in making my first pop up shop experience such a positive one.


8. SHARE THE NEWS BEFORE DURING AND AFTER ITS EXCITING!


Spread that news!

Your small business is going to be in a large major retailer, that is so exciting!

And people will want to hear about it all.


Ask your family and friends to share the news on their socials too, it costs them nothing but can help spread your reach.


I posted a few reels and stories in the lead up, as well as whilst in store as a great way to engage and encourage some local support.


The Great Brand Exchange also provided some excellent advice and resources prior to the pop up shop and as a bonus they are all about the reshare, so make sure you tag them in your posts!


My top tip is to use canva or a similar app in advance and have some templates ready to post incase your busy or re-share your announcement reel about being in store and post quick pictures in stories from your days at the pop up shop.


9. INCENTIVES


Running a competition whilst in store or even posting online about a "see in store only exclusive" is a great way to drive people down to visit in person.


I held back a few new products and released teasers on my socials to keep the interest up for those who couldn't visit in store.


There are so many options, from discount codes for new customers to giveaways so choose something that you feel will work best for you and your brand.


9. HAND OUT AS MANY BUSINESS CARDS AS YOU CAN


Don't worry when people say;


"I will have a look at your website when I get home,"


Just give them a business card!



My business cards on display.

For me, I make furniture as well as 'take on the day cushions & homeware products' so I wasn't too surprised that our larger ticket items such as barstools didn't sell as well on the day.


I was realistic, people want to go home and have another look, measure up and order fabric samples before deciding.


BUT I made sure I gave out as many business cards as I possibly could to give myself the best chance for after sales too.


I am a firm believer in putting yourself out there no matter how scary it feels. All it takes is one card to materialise into one sale, and that sale gets seen by 'X' amount of friends and so on...


So go for it, give those cards out to anyone who will have one. You never know what connection or lead you might make from exchanging that little piece of paper.


10. AND FINALLY..CELEBRATE A JOB WELL DONE!


BE PROUD!


Celebrate a successful pop up whether it's from sales, networking or learning more about your target market and brand direction. It's going to be a different experience for every business.


I had so many sales and commissions that came in weeks after the event from people I spoke to and I can't wait to book in another one when we have our next exciting furniture pieces ready to launch and do it all again!


If you would like to hear more head here to view my Instagram live with The Great Brand Exchange following my pop up shop experience.

They are all about promoting us small businesses, offering support and facilitating getting small local brands into large retailers to showcase our amazing stuff! If you are thinking about it, I highly recommend checking them out.


I talk about how my pop up went, share more first time tips and just generally give a bit of insight into running my small business and my journey so far.




Hopefully you have found these tips helpful and if you have any questions I am all about supporting other small businesses, so just drop me a message.




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