May 19, 2015 Bernard - Retail Is Detail

Pop-Up Stores – A Brief History

Early adopters of pop-up stores

The concept of pop-up stores also known as the guerrilla store was popularized by Japanese fashion label Comme des Garçons. Its founder, Rei Kawakubo, opened the label’s first pop-up store in Berlin in 2004. Since then, the fashion label has been making its mark around the world through pop-up stores in Warsaw, Helsinki, Singapore, Los Angeles, Hong Kong, Glasgow, etc. These stores are usually only open for a year and are situated in unpredictable locations away from fashion hubs and districts. The temporal and anti-establishment nature of these pop-up stores has enabled the label to constantly evolve and build a name for itself in the fashion space. This pop-up concept was quickly embraced by the progressive fashion industry players as a way of bringing exclusive tastemakers to the stores.

Noting the appeal of pop-up stores to consumers, this guerrilla marketing tactic is no longer exclusively used by the fashion industry.

Retailers and brand owners value the pop-up store tactic for:

  • Creating an instant buzz;
  • Allowing for non-committal exposure;
  • Creating opportunities for brands to experiment;
  • Informal, cost-effective test-beds for new products and concepts

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