Are your children hungry for fun?

Ever had a nightmare taking the kids out for something to eat? This weekend there is a fabulous pop up theatre event taking place in Camden Lock, London, for youngsters.  Brought to you by A Line Art and Oxford Playhouse, Ready Steady Colour is a make-believe restaurant where aspiring young foodies can go to play.  All they need to do is to grab a table, choose their ‘food’ and then colour it in!

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The setting is a pop up restaurant, and the guests are your children.  They order a plate of black and white ‘food’ then let their imaginations take over, whilst being served helpings of glittery ketchup paint and yellow mustard paint (amongst other things), all the while being entertained by the servers with comedy, music and storytelling.

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Ready Steady Colour will be run like a real restaurant and you can book a table in advance, or simply walk in off the street (subject to space). Opening times are:

20th March   10.00am      1.30pm        4.00pm

21st March   11.00am      1.00pm        300pm

22nd March  11.00am      1.00pm        3.00pm

Tickets can be booked through:

http://www.oxfordplayhouse.com/theatre/3417/Ready-Steady-Colour—Camden/Wednesday-18-March/Unit-7,-East-Yard,-Camden-Lock,-NW1-8AF

Prices: £5 for adults, £4 for children.

 

 

 

51Gpbt43CcL._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-v3-big,TopRight,0,-55_SX324_SY324_PIkin4,BottomRight,1,22_AA346_SH20_OU02_Eagle-eyed pop-up entrepreneurs will already have heard about The Pop-Up Paradigm, a new book by Melissa Gonzalez – but don’t worry if you haven’t, as we’re going to take you through everything you need to know before picking up. This is a great read for first-timers and seasoned pop-up veterans alike, so don’t miss out on it!

What is The Pop-Up Paradigm?

It’s a book about refreshing your business using pop-up ventures like retail outlets, restaurants and events. Gonzalez focuses on the importance of bricks-and-mortar stores, pointing out that while digital marketing is effective, it doesn’t offer the same level of face-to-face interaction that can really boost loyalty and engagement.

It’s a relatively quick read, clocking in at just under 120 pages, but it covers a lot of ground, starting with the relationship between customers and technology and moving right through to the evolution of retail. It provides examples of luxury brands that have successfully tried pop-up ventures, and even provides suggestions on creating a fully-formed customer experience.

Who is Melissa Gonzalez?

Melissa Gonzalez is a retail strategist and the founder of The Lionesque Group, a team of pop-up event producers or “pop-up architects” in New York City, LA and Austin. She’s worked in retail for over 15 years, and her valuable insight really shines through in this, her first book.

Should I buy the book?

This book alone probably won’t give you everything you need to launch a pop-up – small businesses on a low budget may find some of the advice unrealistic, and total beginners might find themselves a little out of their depth. However, it’s a good, inspiring read for anybody thinking about making the leap.

Did you read the Pop-Up Paradigm already? We’d love to know what the community thinks – drop us a line on our twitter page and let us know!

Are you ready for Valentine’s Day?

love There’s only one week to go until Valentine’s Day – so have you got a date? Well, even if you haven’t, it’s worth heading out to some of the UK’s top pop-up events. We’ve hand-picked a few of our favourites – if you’re holding an event of your own, make sure you tell the world about it!

Dinner in style: The Deck, National Theatre, London

This year the National Theatre opens The Deck to the public for the first time, for a four-course Valentine’s meal prepared by one of the country’s top chefs. Visitors will enjoy a starter, main, dessert and cheeseboard, with vegetarian options available to all – and when dinner’s over, guests can catch a 5pm or 8pm show. This isn’t the first time the National Theatre has help a pop-up experience, but a chance to dine in The Deck comes rarely, so don’t miss this if you’re in the area and looking to catch a show.

Learn more: http://www.nationaltheatre.org.uk/shows/the-deck-valentine%E2%80%99s-day-pop-up-restaurant

Fantasy dining: All Men Must Dine, Andaz Hotel, Liverpool Street, London

The Andaz Hotel is hosting a very special Valentine’s Day pop-up treat this year: US TV network HBO has teamed up with The Wantering Chefs and the Grosvenor Mixologists to create the ultimate Game of Thrones dining experience. Guests will be treated to a Westeros-themed banquet complete with a carefully-selected drinks menu – perfect for the fantasy lover in your life!

Learn More: https://social.hbouk.com/game-of-thrones/popup-restaurant-competition/competition

Love Thyself: Broken Hearts and Promises, Bloomsbury House, London

We’re in love with this event from pop-up organisers meredithbespoke. Spread over five rooms, this townhouse party takes you from love-themed cocktails and movies to kissing booths, slush puppies and a dedicated disco room – and a screening on Tarantino’s “True Love”. Mend a broken heart, or celebrate love with yourself and your friends this February 14th at this inspired Valentine’s Day event.

Learn More: http://www.designmynight.com/london/whats-on/pop-up/broken-hearts-and-promises

Top apps to help run your pop-up

CaptureManaging a pop-up venture, whether it’s a shop, restaurant, gallery or event, can put plenty of strain on  your resources – after all, when everything is temporary you may not have the tools and equipment used by larger, permanent installations. It’s for this reason that we’ve put together a list of the best mobile apps to keep your pop-up running smoothly, without the the costly layout.

SuperPlanner

Android | iTunes

SuperPlanner should be first on the list for anyone organising events and pop-up spaces – this nifty app will calculate anything from capacity to staffing, and ensures you can carry a whole set of management tools with you on the run-up to the opening night and throughout your time in the venue.

Square Register

Android | iTunes

Square Register is part of the Square service that allows you to carry your shop register in your pocket – whether your staff are kitted out with tablets or willing to use their own phones, this is a great way to access information like inventory, discounts and sales data on the spot. In the US, Canada and Japan, you can also process debit and credit card payments – watch out for this capability to be brought to the UK soon.

Desk.com

http://www.desk.com/

This frankly brilliant service is a must for all small business users – for just under £25 a month you can get all your customer inquiries and feedback in one place. Desk.com’s “Universal Inbox” pulls mentions from your emails, comments sections and social media to make sure you never miss a customer issue.

Hootsuite

Android | iTunes

Hootsuite is a great app that does the opposite – it allows you to post out to all of your social media channels at once, ensuring quick and easy promotion during your pop-up’s lifespan. You can post pictures and videos with one press of a button, so you can quickly get back to focusing on the event itself.

HeyTell

Android | iTunes

Okay so we rolled our eyes at this at first. “Instant voice IM”? Surely that’s just a phone, right? Well, this app does have its own advantage over traditional calling; it essentially turns your phone into a walkie talkie with multiple receivers, ensuring you and your staff can stay connected with little barrier to communication.

How a tablet or iPad can transform your business

ipadsA tablet or iPad may at first seem a costly expense for your business, but utilised well, they can transform your offering and save you money in the long term. Here we look at just a few ways that you can utilise mobile technology to run your business.

 

Displays

Your tablet can be the perfect way to provide signage to customers that can be easily changed depending on your location and the products you have. It saves on wastage, as you won’t have to invest in lots of one-off physical signs.

 

Additionally, you can use a tablet to show customers more information about your product, including videos and photographs. If you’re selling an experience, such as a holiday, or a digital product, it’s the perfect way to visualise your sale.

 

Point of sale

We’ve discussed using iPads as a point of sale system before and they can be a really convenient way of managing your money without the need for bulky tills and physical cables. What’s more, you can use specialist apps that connect directly to your accounting software, to save you some paperwork, plus instead of printing receipts for customers, you can simply email them.

 

Organisation

From planning your staffing schedules, to managing your accounts, there are a whole host of ways tablets can be really useful for the day-to-day managements of your business. Apps such as Deputy enable your employees to let you know their availability through their phones and then you can easily see what your work schedule is, and who has clocked in on time. This also makes it easy to issue timesheets and payments to your employees.

 

Ordering

Lots of companies use iPads in a creative way to allow their customers to customise orders, but they can also come in handy for ordering items that you might not have in stock, or if your customer wants to get goods delivered to their home.

 

However you want to use these convenient pieces of technology, one thing is for certain: they can save you a lot of time, money and resources in the long term. A great investment!

Our top blogs in 2014

As 2015 draws ever closer, we take a look back at some of our most popular blog posts about popups, business and marketing techniques. These gems may just give you the inspiration to start something new!

Start ups

hello-my-name-isHow to promote your start up
From websites to advertising, how to ensure your start up gets the best coverage.

How to hire your first employee
Interview techniques, how to spot a dud CV and what you should look for in a good worker.

Top three books for entrepreneurs and independent retailers wanting to open a pop up shop
Some bed time reading for budding entrepreneurs – definitely add these to your wish lists!

How to decide on a name for your business
From the obvious to the mysterious, your business’ name should reflect what your company is all about.

Pop up management

recycled-displayGetting creative with pop ups: creating an experience
How to make your pop up more than just a shop, by creating an experience.

Three quick tips on how to make your pop up shop sustainable
These simple tips will ensure that you will leave a guilt-free footprint.

What point of sale systems are ideal for pop up shops?
A traditional till, or a fancy iPad system – what suits your business?

The benefits of a pop up shop
In our tell-all article, we explain exactly why pop up shops can be beneficial to you.

Marketing

felixShould you ditch the website for social media?
We take a look at the benefits of opting for a social media-only presence online.

Experiential marketing: what’s it all about?
Our top experiential marketing campaigns are put under the spotlight here, explaining what exactly makes a marketing campaign experiential.

Getting the most out of your social media
How to utilise social media to the fullest if you’re a start up, or if you’re running a pop up shop.

How to give your business a PR boost
What can you do to help increase your presence in the community? Here we look at a few easy PR wins.

Business

brainstormingThings you can do on your down time as a small business
When business is slow, here are a few things you can do to keep the momentum going.

Contactless card payments and their benefits
Why contactless cards can be a godsend for your business, especially if you’re dealing with small transactions.

Alternatives to discounts for small businesses
When you can’t afford to reduce your stock, here are a few ideas to help promote your business without resorting to slashing the price of your products.

To bag or not to bag: should your provide carrier bags for customers?
We take a look at the pros and cons of giving away bags to customers.

Bitcoins explained: how they can work for your business
What exactly is the bitcoin currency, and how can it benefit small businesses?

Free working space from Barclays and 3Space

Group of Business People Working on an Office DeskAs an advisor for 3Space, we’re proud to announce that they are partnering up with Barclays Bank to provide free working space to local enterprises and innovators.

 

The scheme, dubbed Hatch, will see under-utilised Barclays’ properties transformed into spaces for entrepreneurs, startups and local businesses and community groups.

 

These spaces are ideal places to serve as a community hub, and a haven for small businesses to hit the ground running.

 

Currently there is already a Hatch in Oxford, and three more are due to open next year.

 

Andrew Cribb, CEO and Co-Founder of 3Space said: “Through our experience in transforming otherwise empty buildings across the UK we have identified a need for a type of local space where creatives, social enterprise, non-profits and local entrepreneurs can work, collaborate and experiment, creating value from an otherwise under-utilised resource, whilst also providing the foundation for sustainable local economic development.”

 

Each space will make use of the existing layout, and the Oxford Hatch has turned the former bank vault into a space equipped with a 3D printer and workshop tools.

 

Free training will also be provided by Barclays staff to support business growth and give technology advice.

 

Read more about the innovative programme at 3Space.

How to promote your start up

times-squareIf you’ve just set up your business, you might be looking into ways of getting more customers and more coverage. How can you make an impact and compete in a market saturated with other similar businesses?

 

A website

One of the first things anyone will check when looking into your company is your website. Have you got one set up, and is the content on the website valuable? Having no website can lose you business, but having a bad website with no information on it can mean that you have a lasting negative impression on a customer.

 

Spend a good chunk of your marketing budget on getting a website up and running. There are some great free solutions out there on the market, as well as some build-your-own alternatives, but if you don’t feel confident with the out of the box solutions, consult a great designer, programmer and copywriter to give you a website that will last you years to come.

 

Social media

The next thing that your customers will use to research you is your social media profiles. With so many social media outlets to choose from, it’s advisable to choose a medium you feel comfortable keeping up to date, rather than signing up to every social media website and letting it stagnate.

 

Twitter and Facebook are obvious starting points, but if you’ve got a business that can translate well into a visual medium, then other social networking sites such as Instagram, Pinterest and Vine may serve you well.

 

Keeping on top of social media can be a tricky feat, so you may want to consult a specialist, or take it in turns to manage your social media accounts for a day.

 

Advertising

Nothing beats a bit of traditional advertising. From taking out an ad in the paper, to promoting yourself on a billboard or bus stop, outdoor advertising can reach markets that might have otherwise never been exposed to your business.

 

To drum up some immediate business, print vouchers and hand them out in the street, or drop flyers through letterboxes. You can also target local businesses that may be interested in your services.

 

Experiential marketing

Create an impact with a pop up shop and wow your customers with an experience they may not have ever had before. If you’re new to the market, a pop up shop can be a great way for customers to experience your product without the commitment of buying.

 

Take a look at some of our top experiential marketing campaigns here for some ideas. And if you fancy getting involved in the world of pop up shops, drop us a line and see what we can do.

How to prepare for the Christmas rush

christmas-baublesIf you’re holding your pop up shop during the festive period or your small business gets extra busy in the build up to Christmas, being prepared is the only way to ensure you can get through this season successfully.

 

There’s lots of opportunities to retain customer loyalty, get your name out there and rake in more business, so don’t simply ride the wave and hope to get out the other end unscathed. Embrace the busiest period of the year and use it to your advantage.

 

Train your staff

If you’re running a pop up shop you may be using temporary staff that don’t necessarily feel like a big part of your company as they know they will be moving on once you pack up and move elsewhere. However, they are your most important asset so treat them like it.

 

Hire extra helping hands: you’ll need it, and spend time training them for every possible situation that could happen in the store. Disgruntled customers, extra busy periods, stock running out, and how to keep happy customers happy.

 

Make it easy for customers

Have as much stock out on the floor as possible, and make it easy for customers to find a staff member. Whether that’s by making your staff wear a uniform, Christmas decorations, or big name badges, make sure you can easily spot your employees.

 

Keep your displays simple, but eye catching and use as much as your shop floor as possible without making it cluttered. There’s nothing more frustrating than being in a shop that is full to the brim with products, people and fixtures and fittings!

 

Have a back-up system in place

If you run out of a particular product or won’t have an item in for a while, then don’t turn the customer away. Invest in a mobile device such as an iPad and encourage users to book online or leave their email address so you can let them know when you’ll have the product back in stock.

 

Get protected

Make sure that you have some sort of pop up retail insurance in place. It will protect you, your customers and your stock, so that if there were any accidents or incidents in your store, you won’t have to worry about being out of pocket. When things get busy, there’s a much higher chance that you’ll need to protect yourself too.

 

Make the returns process clear

If there’s one thing people care most about at Christmas, it’s how to return an unwanted gift. If you’re not going to be around town after Christmas for your customers to return their purchase, make sure you print clearly on their receipts how to return items to you, or set up a dedicated page on your website for this purpose.

 

How to improve your customer service and retain relationships

shooping-trolleyCustomer service is at the core of any good business. It’s especially important in any customer-facing industries such as retail, hospitality and even e-commerce. If you’re offering a customer a product, then good service is of upmost importance.

 

Customer service should not just focus on solving problems with unhappy customers too – you should also focus on retaining loyal customers by offering an all-round good service.

 

Remain positive

Always remain positive no matter what. It may seem odd to be a beacon of positivity, but if you are negative in any way this can impact on your customer, especially if they are already annoyed at your service!

 

When dealing with annoyed customers, use positive language and try to steer them away from focusing on the bad. Never raise your voice and remain calm and collected.

 

As a rule, you should always smile too, even when you’re on the phone – believe it or not, customers can hear you smiling!

 

It may sound like a lot of work, and a lot of fakery but it will retain your customers, and you can always blow off steam in the staff room with your fellow colleagues.

 

Remain visible

There’s nothing more annoying than going into a shop and not being able to easily pick out a member of staff when you need one. Consider a uniform, or if you’re not the type of company that wants to enforce a strict dress-code, use badges or lanyards to make your team members visible.

 

When customers enter the store greet them with a friendly “hello” and ask if you can help at all. However, don’t hover around them. If they don’t need your help, let them get on with it. An off-hand approach can be more positive than a hard-sale approach. Most customers will feel uncomfortable when pressured, and even if they make a purchase, may feel like they had a bad customer service experience, as you were hovering around when they were making the choice!

 

Remain humble

Don’t be afraid to admit you don’t know the answer to a customer’s query, but don’t leave them hanging. Offer a solution: “I don’t know, but let me check with someone who does,” “I’m not sure about that, give me a moment to check our stock room,” etc. There’s nothing wrong with admitting that you aren’t sure on something, but you will have a problem if you can’t offer a customer an alternative solution.

 

Finally, and most importantly, thank your customers for shopping with you at the end of their purchase and through other mediums such as email marketing or social media. Your customers will feel appreciated, and you will get more repeat business if you acknowledge their importance.