By Laura Fitch

A pop-up shop can be a really exciting way to drum up buzz for your handmade business, and it allows you to test out what a full-on store of your own would be like. As you’ll know if you’ve done one before, though, it can also be very stressful. But with some careful planning and creative ideas, you can avoid a ton of that stress and make your pop-up store a success.

Here are some tips:

A Pop-Up is an Experience

A pop-up shop isn’t just a place people go to buy stuff. It’s an experience. If you want people to go home and talk to their friends about your pop-up store, you have to create memories for them.

To do that, you of course need to think about the visuals (more on that below), but you also need to think about what people are hearing and doing at your shop.

For starters, you need to have a banging playlist with a really curated sound that matches the vibe of your store and your product. You should have sales people there who are chatty and fun – not just trying to sell the product, but creating a great experience and environment for people to hang out in.

You might be giving out fun drinks for people – whether that’s alcohol, cold-brew coffee, a refreshing homemade lemonade or some fruity herbal teas. Bonus points if these drinks are served in a visually appealing way that customers might want to share on Instagram.

You can also have things for them to do – comfy lounge chairs for them to chill out in, or an easy, fun game like Jenga that anyone could take part in. Make them remember the space and the fun time they had there, and they will remember you and your product.

Focus on the visuals

Your pop-up should be visually stunning so that people see it from afar and want to come over. That doesn’t mean it needs to be overwhelming. Less is often more. But it should have a strong aesthetic that lures people in. What this looks like depends on your own visual brand. It might mean bold, clean lines with some pops of bright colour. It might mean fresh-cut flowers and some big green plants, like fiddle-leaf figs, that create an inviting, soft space that people want to chill in. Whatever is the right aesthetic for you, commit to it. Pick one or two dominant colours that align with your brand and that convey a strong sense of what your store is all about.

Prevent long lines

Nothing ruins a great pop-up experience for the customer like a long line. Prevent that by arming yourself and your staff with tablets equipped with digital card readers so that you can check out multiple people at a time when needed. It may seem like a small detail but it can make all the difference!

Don’t get caught with bad WiFi

Your pop-up is probably going to rely on WiFi – for your playlist, for payments, and for a long list of other possible needs. But crowded public spaces can often have overloaded WiFi connections that can really mess up your day. Avoid this by bringing your own 3G/LTE mobile hotspot device. Again, a small detail that can make all the difference to running your pop-up smoothly.

Market your company as much as possible

Be sure to prominently display your logo and social media handles throughout the pop-up space. Make sure your bags and packaging display your logo, and make sure anyone who comes to your pop-up store walks away with business cards and free swag like custom stickers or temporary tattoos displaying your logo. A pop-up is all about increasing awareness for your brand. Go forth and use this amazing opportunity to make sure they won’t be able to forget you when they leave.