If you're looking to get your product and brand out there, there's not a plan much better than organising a pop-up shop. We talked to Jerome, founder of the Camden Watch Company who recently opened their flagship store, about how to organise a successful pop-up. He tells us what are the key things to consider when setting up a pop-up, how to make the most of your space and why it can be just as valuable an offline activity as online.
Tell us a bit about yourself
I’m Swiss, born and raised in La Chaux-de-Fonds in the heart of the Swiss watch valley and my co-founder Anneke is a British watch designer trained in Switzerland. We’ve both been living in Camden for around five years now and we love it here.
Give us a potted history of The Camden Watch Company
Anneke and I run the London-based watch and product design studio AMS Design Studio together, and last year we launched our own watch brand. We both love Camden, we live here, work here, play here, so we decided to base our brand around this area.
Camden is famous nowadays for the music culture and the markets, but it also has a very rich industrial history. It’s this side of Camden that we decided to use as inspiration for our watches. They are all vintage Victorian style pieces, with inspiration drawn from the railways and canal boats, but all with a modern twist.
Why did you decide to set up a pop-up shop?
At AMS Design Studio we are a B2B business, and it’s very important for us to understand the end consumers of what we produce. So when we launched The Camden Watch Company last July, we really wanted to combine the idea of getting the name out and also getting some really valuable first-hand feedback from consumers about the kind of watches they buy and why.
What are the key things to consider before setting up a pop-up shop?
There are a lot of elements that go into setting up a pop-up, and the more prepared you are beforehand the smoother it will go.
First, and arguably most important, the shop has to look good. For many people, this will be the first interaction that they have with your brand so it needs to be strong. We’ve seen a lot of great pop-ups, but unfortunately, we’ve seen a lot of bad pop-ups as well.
You don’t necessarily have to spend a lot of money, but you do need to think about the look and feel of you shop and spend time finding items that fit. Sometimes all you need are a few key pieces to make that difference between ok and something really special.
You might also need to think about how you want people to pay, cash only? Card? It’s simple but often overlooked until the last minute.
You should also make sure before promoting your pop-up that you will receive the space on time. We have a lot of examples where venues were given later than expected.
Lastly, you need to try and find a location that fits your brand. What kind of customer do you want? Where do they shop? If you’re spending time and money organising a pop-up you want the best return possible.
What are your top tips while you’re running the shop?
Take advantage of the fact that you have physical space. Use it to run events, to talk to your existing clients, attract new clients. We ran supper clubs in our pop-ups, and we have helped others run movie nights and talks in their pop-ups. It’s a great way to get people talking about your brand who may not have heard about you before.
And make sure that people realise that you’re only there for a short time and let them know how to find you once your gone!
How did you maximise the effect of the pop-up shop on raising awareness online? And on sales online?
We actually launched our brand with a pop-up so the impact was very obvious. People who had never heard of us were stopping by the shop and buying watches, others were going home after spotting us from the bus and googling buying watches online. We had new customers every day and that would never have happened without the pop-up.
It seems obvious, but we also made sure that anyone who seemed interested left with something special. In the first pop-up it was handmade notebooks and postcards, in the second pop-up (at Christmas time) we gave away handmade Christmas crackers with sweets inside.
When we ran the second pop-up the sales online increased a lot. We had customers come into the shop who had been to the first pop-up, asking us where our next space would be, it’s around this time that we thought about opening our own shop.
Next is happening now, after the success of our pop-ups we decided to open a flagship store in the Camden Stables Market. Our main market is online but we were really keen to have a permanent space in Camden. It is now up and running and we’re so happy to finally have a space to call our own.
Have a look at the Camden Watch Company online.