Interview with Melissa Gonzalez (Pop-Up Architect)
CEO of The Lion’esque Group & Co-Founder of THE MARKET
1. In New York City everyone knows about Pop Up Stores and there are dozens of new ones opening each day. In Spain, though, this concept is just starting to spread. Could you describe, with your own words, the concept of “Pop-up store”?
A pop-up store is an event. It’s an opportunity for a brand to connect with customers, press and influencers in a unique and authentic way. A pop-up store is an temporary time to make a permanent impression.
2. Which would you say are the benefits for any designer to open or be part of a pop up store?
There are a number of benefits for a designer to open a pop-up store. Benefits will vary depending on the over-arching goal, but universal benefits include: testing a new market or product line, customer engagement and brand awareness. Designers can test price points, styles and deeply immerse their customers into the story behind their brand and design process.
3. And specifically for emerging designers from abroad wanting to enter into the US market, what does it bring to them?
By launching a pop-up store, designers can test the US market, gather customer feedback. They can test fit, pricing with customers; they can present to wholesale retailers and they can grow awareness among press, bloggers and stylists.
4. These days, the pop up concept has spread all around the city and the offer is overwhelming. What makes RS POP Shop different?
RS POP, part of THE MARKET at the Roger Smith hotel is truly a turn key solution for designers. Setting up a pop-up store can feel overwhelming, especially when entering a new country and market. At THE MARKET we offer comprehensive packages, which include features beyond simply renting a space. Our packages include rent, wifi, electric, alarm, have bathrooms, a painting crew, design guidance, a brand video and social media and marketing support.
5. Are there any specific actions you carry on in order to help the designers connect with the fashion industry (in terms of buyers, media, etc.)?
We work with our clients months before arrival to be sure they are prepping the necessary assets for press, calendar of events and where possible strategic sponsors and partners for cross-promotional opportunities. We also work with our clients to prepare an editorial calendar for social media campaigns.
6. Are there any specific requirements that a designer should fulfill before deciding to open a Pop Up Store?
First and foremost, a designer should understand their goals before moving forward with planning a pop-up store. Goals, brand voice and customer profiles are crucial in order to effectively plan successful pop-up activation. Understanding these elements will inform location decisions, size of space, design and marketing choices.
7. You are one of the two heads and masterminds of THE MARKET. How would you describe your role and Mr John Knowles? How did you come up with the idea in the first place?
John and I co-founded the revolving pop-up store concept at the Roger Smith hotel together in 2009. We began with one store, called RSPOP and we have since grown the concept to 3 revolving storefronts, ranging from 300 to 800 square feet. We also have a 4th space under construction, which is set to launch at the end of the year.
The idea was born out an experiment with a model casting which evolved into a trunk show and ultimately a pop-up store. It’s has been running monthly since Fall 2009.
8. Last September Beiñ opened its first Pop Up Store in RS POP Shop space. What did you think about Gloria López (founder and CEO of Beiñ) and her team?
Gloria Lopez is an extremely passionate businesswoman. She is truly dedicated to bringing up and coming talent into the US market. See this video
9. And last, but not least. All emerging designers are young entrepreneurs and you are an entrepreneur yourself… Some words of wisdom to share with them?
As an entrepreneur, my biggest piece of advice is take it all in stride and remember this is a marathon, not a sprint and there will be hills and valleys, and sometime sprints. They key to success is being adaptable and nimble, and remember to have fun.