If you are planning on selling your handmade goods offline, you will need to get creative in where to sell them. Here, I have compiled a list of 12 examples of Pop Up Shops. Pop Up Shops are a brilliant, often low cost, way of showcasing and selling your handmade items.
They are all places where I have traded on at least one occasion, and they have all been a success. Some of them I attended on a monthly basis for 3 or 4 years, as they were that lucrative for me.
Still undecided about what type of craft to focus on?
Examples of Pop Up Shops:
Many large call centres let traders set up in the staff restaurant or in their reception area during lunchtimes. This is always very popular with staff as often these buildings are located away from shops. The larger call centres tend to be near busy motorway junctions for easy access.
The best way to find any call centres within your travelling distance is by using Google. Make a list of the big banks, supermarkets, insurance companies, mobile phone network companies etc, and look for their Head Office or contact centres. I found loads by typing in something like ‘Barclays call centre’ then seeing what would come up underneath the search bar, eg, ‘Barclays call centre Manchester’. I would then find the landline number for them. You have to do a bit of detective work to find the landline number. It’s a waste of time calling the freephone number as often that will take you to a call centre abroad. I found most of the landline numbers from their website, under ‘calling us from abroad’.
When you get in touch and book a day to go in, try and find out when the staff get paid. You may have to go and do your first pop up, then ask someone who buys something from you. I would also suggest avoiding a Friday as it is a notoriously quiet day in places like this, due to people working part time or working from home.
Hospitals have always been my most successful pop up shops. I have taken 4 figures during a 6 hour day in the run up to Christmas at some hospitals. Not all hospitals allow it though.
There are usually 3 main departments to ask when trying to book at a hospital: Facilities, Fundraising, or the restaurant. I have found that the hospitals that allow you to trade in the busier areas, like the main entrance, are always a lot more successful than if you are in the restaurant. Pop up traders in hospitals are always a favourite with staff and patients, as they are always unable to get out and shop, so they love it when the shops come to them!
You have to take into consideration what it is you sell when approaching a hospital. Many hospitals will not allow cake or sweet stalls as it is not in keeping with a healthy lifestyle. You may also struggle if you make and sell cards, as many of the hospitals will have a shop in there that already sells them. Always let the organiser know exactly what it is you make and sell, and don’t miss anything out. You don’t want to risk not being invited back because you were secretly selling cakes!
Some hospitals who do not have regular traders will sometimes have seasonal market days so it is always worth enquiring about them too.
There can be 3 different pop up opportunities in shopping centres. Some will rent out their empty units on a daily or weekly basis. Many shopping centres also have casual spaces to let, in the form of carts or mobile units in the walkway parts of the centres. A third way you can enquire about would be for any festive events. The best people to speak to would be either Facilities or the Market Manager.
Large Buildings with Multiple Businesses.
Here in Liverpool where I live, there are many large buildings in the city centre which are occupied by multiple businesses. They share the main entrance and reception area. If you know any buildings like this where you live, go in and see the person on reception, and ask if they allow traders.
Costco sometimes hold local business days where you can set up a table within the store to promote your business. You need to speak to the store manager to see if it is something they do.
Local Council Markets.
Most large towns and probably all cities will no doubt have more than one council run market. Many of these markets will have casual spaces available which means you can try it out for a few weeks before committing to a regular pitch. Contact your local council for more information.
Racecourses regularly host large shopping events or family fun days throughout the year. Check their websites for event information.
These can be a bit of a minefield, so it is VERY IMPORTANT that you do your research! Visit the market before you book on to see if it is well attended, and if anyone is selling anything similar to you.
When I first started out, I went to some really rubbish markets where the organisers didn’t advertise it properly or took bookings from people who just bought things in and sold them cheaply, which then makes it impossible for the other traders to do well (well done me for being so calm and diplomatic describing some of the events I have been to-I promised my mum I wouldn’t use swear words in my blog…)
Holiday camps can sometimes have casual retail space available throughout the summer months. The camps are often used as hosts for End of Season dance and sporting events, which can be another opportunity for a pop up shop.
Exactly the same as Holiday Camps really. Have a look on their websites for any upcoming events or casual retail opportunities.
If your local park is large and run by the council, they could hold events throughout the year. I attend events at my local park at least 4 times a year, from dog shows to Summer and Winter Fairs.
Look for posters in your local park or if they have a ‘friends of’ group, check out their website or social media pages.
Local Community Pubs.
Local community pubs will sometimes host Family Fun Days and/or charity events throughout the year. Speak to the manager. If they don’t do anything like that, suggest they do as it’s good for their business too!
For any type of pop up shop or event, you must have Market Traders Insurance. Prices vary, but I only pay £52 per year for mine though Hayes and Parsons
Just in case you don’t think these 12 examples are enough, I have another 21 right here for you!
Can you think of any more examples for pop up shops? Let me know in the comments below!