The high street has undergone a huge change since Charley Crocker started her first pop-up shop in 2014. Starting out with live window displays, a luxury Booktique and a Pop-Up Indie Bookshop, before moving on to Pop Up Horsham and larger retail units in Surrey and Sussex.
Charley is an Amazon best-selling author of crime thrillers and psychological thrillers as Daisy White/D.E. White. When she’s not busy creating the next bestseller, Charley can be found scoping out retail units and getting stuck in behind-the-scenes and front-of-house in a wide number of pop-up shop schemes.
Founding the pop-up shop business in 2014, Charley has delivered a number of pop-up shops across Surrey and Sussex. Working with local councils and landlords to develop empty retail units or potential retail areas by creating a pop-up shop which enables small businesses and start-ups the opportunity to sell their products on the high street.
The first pop-up shop was in Horsham’s Swan Walk and consisted initially of booking in featured authors to support Charley’s vision which included book signings and launches. The store quickly became fully booked with Featured Authors, and stocking works by over sixty authors and publishers. This quickly expanded to include other items to go with purchasing your new book including chocolates, cushions, a gallery full of local artists and photographers, free editing advice, and mini-makeovers, and an opportunity to quiz authors and artists.
Several other pop up stores and a pop-up village ensued over the years in Haywards Heath, Guildford, and Gatwick Airport, before returning to the Horsham high street in November 2021 with the biggest pop-up shop challenge to date which included refurbishing two floors of retail space in an empty shop unit within two weeks.
The challenge as usual was to develop and transform an empty retail unit. Add commercial value and turn it into a vibrant retail asset within the community, and at the same time, support and nurture local entrepreneurs by providing the platform to grow their businesses without a huge financial cost.
The scale of the Horsham Pop Up shop project and the huge change to the high street following the coronavirus pandemic meant this latest pop-up shop needed a larger team and its offering needed to be bigger than ever before.
The need for physical stores has been called into question by the pandemic, but with so many new entrepreneurs using the time to start new business ventures and with shopping habits changing, and customers becoming more demanding, the pop-up shop culture has well and truly earned its position on the high street next to the larger retailers.
Before planning the Pop Up Horsham shop, Charley collaborated with Matt and Laura Bennett, who independently own their own design and marketing businesses. Starting out by scoping the opportunity and the huge retail space in West Street, the team set about recruiting entrepreneurs/sellers to fill the store and developing a brand.
Working from the ground up, the team created a bespoke shopping experience with retail space downstairs and a large events area upstairs as well as three social media walls and full branding throughout to establish the store’s identity, as well as creating licensing agreements, information packs, store guidance, a website, social media profiles, liaising with the landlords, Horsham District Council and promoting to the media.
The team understood just how important it was that online shopping has boomed since the start of the pandemic, with internet sales jumping from under 20% to more than 32% in just three months at the start of the first Covid-induced lockdown, and experts expecting the trend to continue after the pandemic, they developed a hybrid retail concept which enabled both selling online and in-store.
Keeping to the roots of early pop-up shop successes the Pop Up Horsham project also enabled small businesses and start-ups to book a small space or hire a window area for one day, with of course the live window displays creating every changing opportunity for customers.
As the launch day loomed quickly within days of gaining access to the shop, and with a huge amount of logistical challenges which comes with taking over a largely empty, retail space, the team worked flat out with suppliers, the landlords/project owners, and the new entrepreneurs/sellers to ensure the shop was fully fitted and ready for its opening on 2nd November.
Following a highly successful media and social media launch campaign, media interest was gained from local and national media with the BBC’s The One Show visiting to film the day before the launch which meant there was a tight deadline to deliver.
Pop Up Horsham opened its doors to customers on November 2, 2021, to great acclaim to the team who soon realised that they had formed not only a great partnership but a brilliant business collaboration and The Pop Up Shop Agents was born.
Understanding the future of the pop-up shop collaboration and working on the success of Pop Up Horsham, The Pop Up Shop Agents is now a full-service creative agency.
Providing unique, engaging, physical pop up shopping experiences for retailers and customers alike. Offering bespoke packages from conception and beyond, recruiting sellers, store managers, managing finances and legislation through to marketing, branding, social media, and PR. With a simple mission: to support small businesses, entrepreneurs, and start-ups, giving them the opportunity to dip their toe into high street retailing by proving affordable pop-up spaces. As each of us is independent small business owners ourselves, we understand the importance of working and supporting our local community by offering 121 business mentoring, workshops, and clear advice on access to business grants/funding.
And looking towards the future…… Pop-up shops provide the opportunity for small businesses to sell their products on the high street, test products, and develop their offering. To customers, it creates the feeling of having an exclusive product that might only, ordinarily be available online, but also an exclusive experience. The very nature of a pop-up shop is that it is only available for a limited period of time, the retailers in-store are changing so there is always something new, which adds to the excitement which rivals long-standing retail chains.
Contact us to find out more about The Pop Up Shop Agents and talk to us about developing your empty retail space.