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How Pop-Ups Are Changing The Retail Game

How Pop-Ups Are Changing The Retail Game
Interview with StoreFront CCO, Joy Fan

StoreFront is a service that provides short-term retail spaces for pop-up locations. We sat with the company Chief Creative Officer (yes, that’s the title!*), Joy Fan. We joined her in SoHo  to get to know her better and get some insider tips.

Joy Fan, The Storefront CCO
Joy Fan, The Storefront CCO

Estee: Tell us a bit about yourself and how you got started? 

Joy: I’ve been involved in retail real estate for over 10 years. I started off as a designer, after which I worked in interior and visual design at Levi’s. In 2008, after a number of years between NY & SF, I recognized the opportunity for pop-ups rising from the downfall of the real estate market. My first partnership was at Westfield. At first, the brands were small and local, then it was national and now international brands such as Bonobos and Warby Parker. Ultimately, I joined the Storefront team to aid in the retail revolution.

Estee: How long have pop-ups been around?

Joy: Pop-ups have been around forever! Probably for as long as sample sales. Technology has added a different mix to the entire retail landscape, both from an e-commerce and real estate perspective. In the late 2000s, 10 year leases were beginning to expire. Between 2006-2008 they were refinanced and now those 10 years are up. Yet somehow, brands aren’t jumping to renew their leases. Subsequently, there are more retail vacancies than ever before. Retail has gone through so many changes as well. It has evolved in the past five years, with brands turning from a fully e-commerce approach to one that’s omni-channel and experience-based.

Ten years ago we started with a pop-up here and there.  Big brands, like Adidas, would host short-term events and conferences. With time, the economy has changed based on consumption patterns as more and more brands turned to pop-ups as solutions for marketing efforts, exclusive releases and short-term retail spurts. To the contrary, Macy’s, Bloomingdales, and Nordstrom were betting on the fact that real estate would continue to rise. The department stores are trying to reinvent themselves, and people are still leaving. That’s creating many vacancies.  Just to give you  some perspective, in January 2017 – vacancies were at an all-time high at 33%; while in January 2018, vacancies are at a whooping 37%!

Most people aren’t seeing the difference in vacancies, because we at Storefront are taking advantage of vacancies by offering brands pop-up opportunities, which excites consumers. In the old days, ‘short-term’ was a dirty word. It meant that you couldn’t manage a property and didn’t know how to engage with audiences. Nowadays, many brokers love short-term leases.

Estee: Can you provide examples of brands that implemented the pop-up strategy successfully?

Joy: Everlane is the biggest example – we powered their pop-up last year in Williamsburg. What’s funny is that in 2012 their CEO and founder said he would never be in brick and mortar. He would rather  shut down before he went to physical retail. Since then Everlane has done numerous pop-ups and now has a permanent location. When they introduced their denim line [in a pop-up], they had lines out the door. We’ve also worked with other brands such as Warby Parker and Bonobos.

Educating the public is one of our goals. We are beginning huge partnerships with landlords and institutions to ensure that the property values remain at competitive rates. We are glad to share and release any type of analysis and data.

Pop-ups are important because they deliver not just products, but true experiences. People get excited when they have the opportunity to touch and feel things. The experience alone is more ‘instagrammable’ than someone who said they spent a saturday shopping online.The social influence will remain the same with an elite space. You can expect digitalization to hit things like your checkout experience. However, going into the store will remain.

Inside the first Everyone Pop Up on Bleecker Street
Inside the first Everyone Pop Up on Bleecker Street

Estee: How are big retailers responding to the pop-up phenomena?

Joy: Bloomingdales created mygirlshops within their department stores. Nordstrom created Nordstrom local, and JCPenney opened up its Jacques Penné pop-up in New York City with us. Overall though, department stores struggle. We see pop-ups as a blank canvas. We give the entrepreneurs the power to put bets on that space using technology, on-demand delivery, and staffing. To then be able to add value back to the consumer and provide an educational tool.

Estee: What advice do you have for startups looking to launch pop-ups?

Joy: You may want to ensure you have a solid following before launching a pop-up.  

Foot traffic alone is not enough to garner traction and revenue. The key is to build a consumer base, create an opportunity to meet and interact with customers, and then use the pop-up as an opportunity to test the market and ensure that products are viable for what the startup has invested in.

Many brands that start online first and build up loyalty base. Then they go offline only later. Pop-ups serve as the perfect transition from e-commerce to physical retail and provide creative  opportunities which can include meeting the designer, a panel, or showcasing and elite or exclusive line.

First Everlane Pop-Up through The Storefront pop ups and sample sales ny
First Everlane Pop-Up through The Storefront

Estee: What do you have to say about other startups in the temporary retail space?

Joy: My approach to all these companies is positive: any owner who adapts a pop-up strategy as his or her business model is headed in the right direction. Parasol Projects have been around since 2012, and have seen success both independently and in collaboration with us.

Estee: What’s The Storefront’s strategy in the coming year?

Joy: The best direction for us is to ensure accurate database of availabilities at all times. This means extreme detail on the technical side. Everything now is on demand. You have to be just as fast with your features. Additionally, The Storefront is rapidly expanding internationally: more cities in the US & Europe.

We look to the brands that fit our demand. We have a specific secret formula that we use to track brands, and study how to grow. The key is to listen to our demand and consumers. That is our formula – listening to consumers.

You can purchase e-commerce brands anywhere.  Our brands aren’t just looking at one location. They can test where they want to open up a brick and mortar. Anyone who is in the pop-up realm is an asset to us.  

Estee: What is your advice for startups looking up to Storefront?

Joy: Always listen to your customer. You have to first grow from 5 consumers to 100, and then you can grow to 1000. When you follow the trends you forget about loyalty. Loyalty is actually the key! The loyal customers will be the ones to direct you into the future.

*In response to our joyful reaction of the CCO title, Joy responded: “Ha, is that a surprise? We are in the space of disrupting retail and real estate so we are constantly innovating. What makes us unique is our drive towards community and creative solutions.”

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Score Some Great Winter Finds at the Heike Jarick Sample Sale

By: Cristina Martin

Yesterday I went to check out the Heike Jarick sample sale. Heike Jarick is a new and emerging contemporary brand based out of New York City.  It was a great place to score some discounted winter pieces as we move out of the season. The Heike Jarick sample sale had everything from coats to fur to dress shirts for any occasion. The clothing was around 70% off. Shirts went from a retail price of $375 to $150. The Portland Coat went from retail price $1,687.50 to $325. Good News! The Heike Jarick sample sale has now been extended until next Friday! Now you have some extra time to get some winter deals.

What: Heike Jarick Sample Sale
When: Feb. 14, 2018 – Feb. 23, 2018
Where: 306 W 38th St. Suite 1502 NY, NY

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Coats & Blazers at THE ARRIVALS NYC sample sale

One of the hottest contemporary brands is hosting a sample sale in SoHo. That’s right – at The Arrivals NYC sample sale you will find a variety of coats (some for men, others for women, and others in UniSex) for up to 70% off. The lowest cost item I found cost $75, while the most expensive items were $400 after the discount was applied. If you are a huge fan of the brand and are used to paying full-price then you should definitely check out the sample sale before it ends. As always, images & prices below – enjoy!

What: The Arrivals NYC sample sale
Where: Feb 9th – Feb 18th I Sun-Tue 11AM-7PM I Wed-Sat 11AM-8PM
Where: 42 Crosby St, NY, NY

 

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Boho Heavy Coats – Nicholas K Sample Sale (not to be confused with Nicholas Kirkwood)

Lovers of behemian style robe-sweaters, sequined coats and sheep-skin berets will find a heaven at the Nicholas K sample sale. We double checked – Nicholas Kirkwood (the glitzy shoe brand) has nothing to do Nicholas K, a NY based brand of wild clothes and accessories. Aside from the sweaters (with sleeves coming out somewhere from the depth of scrunched material), jackets that could double as bath robes and heavy sequined coats – that all cost north of $300, we found a few things we loved: 1. the cashmere-fur throw – perfect gift and sold for $125, furry slippers for $50 and really petrifying cuffs made out of animal skin ($40).

If that stuff excites you, head over to the sale:

What: Nicholas K sample sale
Where: 260, 150 Greene St, NY, NY
When: Feb 6-11, 2018. Tue-Sat 11AM-7PM I Sun 11AM-4PM

 

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The Cutest Cashmere Slippers at the Snowman Sample Sale

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Clothingline combined the Cashmere and Snowman sample sales into one and we checked them out on the first day! While items were still pricey – with cashmere sweaters between $60 and $90, the selection of sizes was quite broad (XS-L) and so was the variety. The Snowman coats were all 50% off retail prices, which left them in the $240-$260 range. We are crossing our fingers for markdowns as the sale progresses.
If you want to hit it up, you have till Thursday. Photos with prices below. Enjoy!

What: Cashmere and Snowman sample sale
Where: 261 West 36th Street, 2nd Floor, NY, NY
When: February 06 – February 08

 

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All Under $50 at the Karen Miller Sample Sale

The Karen Miller brand is having it’s second sample sale this year at Clothingline. While I’m not the biggest fan of the brand, I have to admit that prices are quite low. Everything except for the leather items is under $50. There are lots of options for larger sizes (6-12) in clothes and quite a few shoe options as well. The sample sale has clothes for women only – and includes dresses, jackets, tops, cardigans, skirts and pants. A lot of the merchandise is dirty or damaged, so make sure to double check the items before checking out. If you like the British brand, then you still have two days to shop at the sale.

What: Karen Millen sample sale
Where: Clothingline, 261 West 36th Street, 2nd Floor, NY, NY
When: January 30 – February 01, 11AM-7PM

 

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Absolute Stunners at the Herve Leger Sample Sale

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We have good news and bad news. The good news is that the Herve Leger sample sale for women at 260 has the most phenomenal items at crazy discounts. Many items are over 90% off. The bad news is that items are still quite pricey. So here is the rundown: most items are size small, but the selection of dresses is enormous. Embellished and non-embellished band-aid dresses, long and short, beautiful skirts, tops and jackets. No shoes, fragrances or handbags. Collections span current seasons to past. Every item is over $100 except for the bathing suits, which are an amazing $40 (down from $790!!!). The sale opens to the public today so make sure to snag some goodies while they last.

What: Herve Leger sample sale
Where: 260 sample sale, 150 Greene St
When: January 30 – February 04, Tue 9AM-8PM I Wed-Sat 10AM-7PM I Sun 10AM-5PM

 

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We All Need Clean Awesome Boots: Modern Vice Sample Sale

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After the major snow storms, all of my boots were covered with white and grey stains from the chemicals all over NYC streets. As soon as I saw the Modern Vice sample sale, I headed down there for a new pair of knee-high boots ($498 at retail, $75 at the sale). I’ve been wearing them ever since. The sale is in the Modern Vice HQ, where you could see the production process in the back room. There is a wide selection of shoes and boots in all sizes. Cowboy red & silver boots, snakeskin boots, and fancy stiletto boots from the Archive private collection. This is one we definitely recommend.

What: Modern Vice sample sale
When: now-Feb 2nd, Mon-Fri 11AM-6PM I Sat-Sun Closed
Where: 247 West 38th Street, 3rd Fl, NY, NY

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Jocelyn Fur Sample Sale Opens To The Public Today

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Jocelyn Fur has the coolest fur jackets in the world. Aside from the regular regal fur coats and jackets that you see in the movies featuring royalty from the Upper East Side, the brand carries a number of modern contemporary parkas, with colored fur lining the inside of denim jackets or rain coats. Prices at retail easily reach into the thousands. Yesterday, I headed over to check out the merchandise. It was great to see Deb from JenX – who gave us the warmest welcome and explained that all items are up to 60% off. We found coats for as low as $300. As a perk, there were shrugs and fur jackets from Oscar de la Renta at the sale as well. If you have a few minutes during lunch today, definitely sneak over to the sale – it was opened to the public today – no reservation required. As always, photos and prices below. Enjoy!

What: Jocelyn Fur sample sale by JenX
Where: 224 west 30th st, 11th floor
When: Today, Fri Jan 26th 11AM-6PM

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Less Shoes, More Clothes at the Schutz Sample Sale

Photo Credit: Glamourai

If you were hoping for an awesome selection of Schutz boots, don’t bother going to this sale. Go to the Modern Vice sample sale two blocks away. If you are looking for awesome pieces from The Arrivals (gorgeous wool coats, parkas and leather jackets), Kal Reiman goods or dresses from Mi Jong Lee, then Clothingline has a nice selection at even better prices. Oh, and not to forget the 2 racks of bodysuits from Alix – all for under $65. The thing I love most about Clothingline sample sales is that prices drop every day. So if you aren’t sure about a certain blazer or pair of pants, come back on the last day. Good chance you’ll get desired items for an additional 40%-50% off. As always, photos and prices below. Enjoy!

What: Schutz, Arrivals, Alix sample sale
Where: Clothingline, 261 West 36th St, 2nd Floor, NY, NY
When: Jan 24-26, Thu-Fri 11AM-7PM

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