How could Scottish independence affect the retail sector?

With only a few hours until the results of Scotland’s independence are revealed, how would a yes win affect the retail and business sector?


This complex argument is overshadowed by many “what-ifs” and “maybes” – as it is, nothing is certain; if voters wanted an independent Scotland there would be an 18 month negotiation period to iron out the logistics of parting from the union. However, there have been many vocal supporters and opponents of independence and how it would affect business.


For a start there is no guarantee that Scotland would still be able to use the pound as their currency, in fact the Bank of England has suggested it would not allow it, and the country would have to make its own currency.


There’s also no guarantee of entry into the European Union, something that many businesses rely on, so these two factors have formed the basis for the argument against independence.


A dent in the food industry

One of the biggest industries in Scotland is food manufacturing with big brands such as Tunnock’s and Irn Bru based in the country, with staples such as whisky and smoked salmon huge exports. The Scotch Whisky Association has been outspoken about its worries of independence, saying that while Scottish whisky is imported to 200 countries, the government plans to only maintain between 70 and 90 missions.


Large retailers have also issued concerns about the red tape that can often lie with working with other countries, saying that they may have to pass on the cost to consumers. Sir Ian Cheshire, chief executive of Kingfisher, James Timpson, chief executive of Timpson, and Marc Bolland, chief executive of Marks & Spencer co-signed a letter expressing their worries, saying: “We know that running a separate pricing system in Scotland will mean taking the difficult decision as to whether or not to pass on the increased costs through higher prices to Scottish consumers.


“And it won’t just affect us, it will also impact on our thousands of suppliers, many of which are small to medium-sized businesses.”


Things would carry on no matter what

However, supporters of the Yes campaign see this move as scaremongering, and in fact, many heads of retail chains seem indifferent to the vote. In a recent interview with Retail Week, Jonathan Hart, chief executive of Thorntons said: “Independence is likely to cause a little bit more administrative burden but I don’t expect any change in our business.”


Hobbycraft echoed this sentiment, saying that they doubted there would be any immediate impact on their seven stores in Scotland. Next has also said they will remain “absolutely committed” to Scotland and Sebastian James, chief executive of Dixons Carphone said that he could imagine business being operated “in a loosely federated way like we do with Ireland.”


Overall it seems that if Scotland were to leave the union, there would be some initial teething problems and some key points that need to be addressed, such as the issue of currency and the European Union.


For many large-scale businesses, trading with another country would be water off of a duck’s back, and there is no reason why many small businesses won’t benefit from independence either. On the other hand, a no vote means that the country stays together, benefitting from many of the international trade agreements and the positives of EU membership.


Whatever’s decided, it will be a ground-breaking day not just for business, but the UK as a whole.

Pop up shops set to storm the economy

shoppingPop up shops seem to be the words on everyone’s lips recently, as more and more retailers, marketers and small businesses look to pop up shops to get their ideas off the ground.


And it’s a trend that’s not going to go away any time soon, with pop up economy growth set to increase to 8.4% according to research by EE and CEBR. This is more than double than what the high street is set to see.


EE is set to help 3,000 pop ups with their technology needs, which is just one slice of the market. Here at Popupspace, we also help hundreds of businesses all over the UK source temporary spaces for their latest projects: something that many businesses find difficult to do themselves as the market is becoming increasingly competitive.


All of this fantastic news equates to £2.1bn that pop up shops and spaces will contribute to the UK’s economy, as shoppers are set to visit pop up shops more frequently and splash the cash in greater numbers.


If you’re intrigued by the idea of a pop up shop and want to be taking part in the latest trend, but don’t know where to begin: talk to us! We can help you get started in the world of pop up, and give you advice on where to set up your temporary shop.

Our top popups of the week

perkExperiential marketing seems to be making waves within the pop up community, with lots of intrepid business people and marketers using pop up shops to create something a little different to the usual shop setup. Here’s our picks of the popups that have been hitting the headlines this week.


As usual, if you’re interested in starting your own popup shop, get in touch with us – we’ll source you’re the perfect location so you don’t have to.


Central Perk – New York City

No coffee shop is as iconic as the fictional Central Perk, featured on the hit show Friends. To celebrate the show’s 20th anniversary (oh gosh, has it really been that long?) Warner Bros Studios has set up a popup shop on Lafayette Street in New York City.


Complete with the iconic sofa and actual coffee, the shop also features some of the props from the show, and actor James Michael Taylor who played Gunther will be popping by.


A great example of how to use a pop up for publicity, it will be in town until October 18 – be sure to drop by if you happen to be state-side.


tatty-devTatty Devine – Southbank

Another anniversary popup, Tatty Devine will be popping up on the Southbank to celebrate 15 years of being in business. The pretty plastic jewellery will be making a statement in the area at the Royal Festival Hall shop, where you can buy your own work of jewellery art.


micISWAI – Chelsea

Celebrity popup of the week goes to Caggie Dunlop from Made In Chelsea fame who has opened up her own pop up shop selling clothes and accessories she’s designed.


Based (where else?) in Chelsea in King’s Road the popup is around until 6 September, so you better get your skates on if you hope to catch a glimpse of the star herself.


Death From Above 1979 – Toronto

An example of taking popups to the extreme, bass and drum duo Death From Above 1979 have opened a tattoo pop up shop to promote the release of their new album – the first one for ten years.


As part of this they gave lucky fans the chance to get tattooed for free. Talk about rock ‘n’ roll.


You might not want to go as far as to tattoo your customers, but if you’ve got a fun idea for a popup – get in touch with us and see how we can help you out!

Finding Inspiration for Pop ups

Creativity – 1. the state or art of being creative. 2. the ability to transcend traditional ideas, rules, patterns, relationships, or the like, and to create meaningful new ideas, forms, methods, interpretations, etc.; originality, progressiveness, or imagination


…and mostly easier said than done. It’s sometimes hard to feel inspired to create. It’s not exactly like a tap you turn on or off when you want (although there are the lucky few), so it is important to feed the creative beast by seeking inspiration from the world around. When you get that craving to create an incredibly wonderful environment, atmosphere and concept, you can learn a lot if you just keep our eyes open and take note of some remarkable designs already in existence. And seeing as its still summer, we thought we’d celebrate some amazing hotel designs we’ve come across on our travels to point out different experiences you can create which, in turn, will hopefully get your creative juices flowing.


Plane HotelA Plane Hotel SuiteLocated on the edge of the Manuel Antonio National Park, this exclusive resort in Costa Rica is a special suite in a vintage 1965 Boeing 727. The two bedroom suite is perched on a pedestal of 50 metres and as the cockpit juts out beyond the edge of the cliff, you can enjoy a panoramic view of the sea and surrounding area. With hand carved furnishings in Indonesian teak, this place provides a perfect example of that truly authentic relaxing experience (unless your afraid of heights!)


The Invisible Roommirro-cube-hotel-2: How unique it would be to  spend a night in this lovely mirror cube room where you can blend in with nature? This mirror cube is part of the TreeHotel in Sweden, best known for having rooms suspended among the trees. It’s a 4x4x4x4 room covered in reflective glass on all sides enabling this room to be almost invisible to the naked eye. But it doesn’t stop there, you can stay in the birds nest, the UFO or the Blue Cone. We highly recommend checking out their website and having a look at more of their designs.

The Boot Hotel

The Boot Bed N’ BreakfastRemember the woman who lived in a shoe? Designed by Steve Richards, this is a two up two down luxury cottage based in the heart of the Ruby Coast, Tasman Bay, New Zealand. The boot adopts sustainable practices and delivers a perfect fairy tale accommodation feel. A comfy lounge with open fire, a queen sized bed, and Juliet balcony all add to this being the perfect romantic get away. With 2.4 hectare garden surroundings, you could also take a Hansel & Gretel walk leaving pebbles in your path so as not to get lost.


Whilst you’re on your summer break keep those eyes firmly open you as you can find inspiration all around. And if you would like to have a creative pow-wow why not get in touch, we love new ideas and can help you make them a reality.

Getting The Most Out of Your Social Media

ROI in Social MediaIn light of Marc Jacobs first ever ‘Twitter Pop Up Shop’ held last weekend, we thought we would share a few basic tips on how to ensure you are getting the most out of your social media campaigns. Marc Jacobs enticed his clientele by giving them the opportunity to use creative tweet updates using the hashtag #MJDaisyChain as payment for his products. Marc Jacobs successfully increased engagement with his fans and followers through this unique social media reward campaign. (Read more here)


We all know it is vitally important for businesses these days to have an online presence. Along side a website it is common place for a business to present itself on social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, Instagram or Pinterest. However, how much time do you really have to spend on social media? The amount of time you spend shouldn’t matter as long as you use your time efficiently. And the best way to do this is to measure the success of your social media activity. Most social media sites now provide you with their own insights to your activity and will give you a run down on which of your posts/updates were the most popular, how many times any links were clicked, and so on. These are the type of statistics you need to keep track of to help continually grow your online presence. Here we present 3 simple aspects you can track to ensure you get the most out whatever amount of time you would like to spend on social media.



Over the next month or quarter why not use these 3 simple social media goals to measure the success of your upcoming social media activity. (Setting up a social media campaign is always the easiest and best way to do this. If you would like some ideas of social media campaigns to run we suggest having a read of Jeff Bullas 5 Simple Tips to Increase Engagement with Social Media)



Measure Engagement (Likes & Followers): Take a look at the number of followers and likes you currently have on which ever social media platform(s) you may use and over the next month/quarter track how many more followers and likes you generate through your posts and updates.


Grow Your Reach (Interaction: shares, retweets, favourites and likes): While your social media campaign is live, track which of your updates and posts are being shared, retweeted. This helps to expand your reach and the more shares you get the better position you will put yourself in to influence other social media audiences as well as your own. Pay particular attention to these updates and posts, what they are about, when you posted them, and try and gage why your audience may favour these over others and try and repeat more of the same.


Improve Impact & Conversion Rate (click-through’s of your links): As mentioned before, most sites will provide you with your click-through rate or roughly translated the number of clicks you get on the links you post. These statistics are vital to measure the success of any social media promotion or ad campaign you may be running. Or if you are simply looking to get your audience signed up to a newsletter or drive more traffic to your site. Your website will also give you statistics on how many clicks to your site have been generated through your social media platforms.

If you would like to learn more about social media analysis tools here’s a list you may find useful.

One Can Never Have Enough Good Books

To satisfy the bibliophiles out there we couldn’t rest with just giving you our Top 3 Reads For Entrepreneurs and Independent Retailers Who Want To Open a Pop Up Shop. No! We merely skimmed the surface with covering the setting up, retail success and the social media side. But what about the psychological side of business: dealing with change; resolving issues; communication; the journey as an entrepreneur as a whole? How does an entrepreneur deal with all these circumstances to maintain and reach the success of longevity in business? We’ve been speaking to our plethora of budding entrepreneurs and collected some great titles we hope you will love or at least give a go.


Its Not How Good You Are

It’s Not How Good You Are, It’s How Good You Want To Be – Paul Arden 

This is a great handbook written to help make ‘the unthinkable thinkable, and the impossible possible’. Paul Arden, in a mere 127 pages, advises on how to deal with issues like problem solving, communicating, playing your cards right, making mistakes and creativity, all notions that can be applied to aspects of modern life. Told in a compilation of quotes, facts, pictures, wit & wisdom this is an easy read and a must too!






Oh, The Places You’ll Go! – Dr Seuss

Every child’s favourite author writes in the style of the classics we all know and love, Cat in The Hat & Green Eggs and Ham. Dr Seuss writes about our journey through life, with all its disappointments and happiness, its unpredictability and uncertainty. A simple message is delivered on how life is a Great Balancing Act but through it all There’s fun to be done. With is humorous verse and illustrations it’s very appropriate for children, however I think it takes an adult to understand and sympathize with the message, and you’ll be surprised how many adults have found this book highly motivating. Will you succeed? Yes, you will indeed. (983⁄4% guaranteed.)



The E-Myth RevistedE-Myth Revisted: Why Most Small Businesses Don’t Work and What to Do About It – Michael E. Gerber

Gerber has written this book all about why small businesses get stuck, and how to get things moving again. Voted #1 business book by Inc. 500 CEOs this is an instant classic dispelling the myths about starting your own business. Stemming from years of experience, Gerber successfully points out how common assumptions, expectations, and even technical expertise can get in the way of running a successful business and walks you through the steps on how to grow your business.

E-Myth \ ‘e-,’mith\ n 1: the entrepreneurial myth: the myth that most people who start small businesses are entrepreneurs 2: the fatal assumption that an individual who understands the technical work of a business can successfully run a business that does that technical work

Top 3 Books For Entrepreneurs and Independent Retailers Who Want To Open A Pop Up Shop

We all know that pop up shops provide entrepreneurs with a fantastic way of bringing their ideas to life. Pop ups offer unique opportunities to promote your brand, reach out to customers and sell your products – all without the risk of taking on a long lease. But where to start? Many of our clients are sold on wanting to try high street retail, but have little experience in setting up a shop. We’ve put together our Top 3 reading list for small businesses and independent retailers wanting to pop up.


Pop Up Business For Dummies is a typically accessible introduction to pop up from the For Dummies series. A complete guide to the basics of planning, starting and running a successful pop up venture, this book is particularly useful for anyone running a craft business and includes case studies and hints from experienced pop up people.


Written by one of the UK’s best known and respected retail experts, The Retail Champion: 10 Steps to Retail Success covers a wide range of topics from defining your goal through to customer engagement. Author Clare Rayner provides a wealth of advice to help independent retailers compete in today’s competitive market.


How to promote your pop up venture? Social media are essential free tools for anyone wanting to spread the word at low cost and connect with potential customers. Brilliant Social Media: How to Start, Refine and Improve Your Social Business Media Strategy is a practical guide to get you started and show you why social media is an important part of every marketing strategy.

Spoon {Cereals} Secures £50,000 Investment from Dragon’s Den

DDragons D & P

Deborah Meaden & Peter Jones

Last week’s Dragons’ Den saw pop up Spoon {Cereals} succeed in securing a £50,000 investment from dragons Deborah Meaden and Peter Jones. Both dragons invested £25,000  and each will have a 15% stake in the business.

Founded by Annie Morris and Jonny Shimmin, Spoon {Cereals} was created out of the frustration of the lack of  available healthy choice on-the-go breakfasts for commuter types. The business started life around 6 months ago trading at food fairs and markets, its aim to provide all with ‘a more adventurous bowl of cereal’.

The business offers a  menu or a ‘build your own bowl’ choice. Pick from a tasty range of home made nutritionally balanced granolas and mueslis. Add some of their scrumptious yoghurts and fruit compotes, then top with a range of nuts, fresh fruits and healthy sprinkles for the serious cereal enthusiasts out there (see their sample menus, pricing starts at a very affordable £3.50).

Spoon Cereal_MSethi-4357

image by Marc Sethi

The cereal entrepreneurs popped up a breakfast bar back last April at Old Street Station as part of the launch of the area’s new development. This proved to be a great success and saw them convert a number of  non-cereal lovers and, in turn, really helped build their brand and they now have another in Canary Wharf.

Spoon {Cereals} not only have their pop ups filled with their fresh pots they have also successfully started a range of packaged cereal products available from Harvey Nichol stores (nationwide) and selected London based delis. The next step for Annie and Jonny is to supply their packaged cereal products to the wholesale market. And now with the secured investment of £50,000 it certainly looks like this will become a reality.  Look out for Spoon {Cereals} coming to a shelf near you soon.

Congratulations to you both Annie and Jonny! (View the whole Dragons’ Den pitch here, fast forward to 29 minutes in.) If you didn’t believe in the longevity of pop ups before, you certainly do now.

Let’s hear it for Pop ups!


What a week of great news! According to the latest figures reported, us pop up’s will boost the UK economy by £2.1 billion! AND, not only that, its been predicted that our industry will grow by 8.4% over the next year which will be 2.5% faster that the traditional UK market. On this basis, we have been a major contributor to the recently reported 0.8% growth in the overall UK economy in the last quarter. And we can certainly surpass this figure if we had even more resources (cue EE and BRC).

Since Pop ups started sprouting back in 2003 there has always been the challenge of finding such resources as short-term lets, affordable business rates, insurance and IT solutions. And although these resources are more readily available now through services like us, there is still room for improvement. For this reason it is very exciting to hear that EE and BRC (the British Retail Consortium) have banded together to help break down the barriers pop ups face by setting up a campaign which will essentially be a step by step guide on ‘How to set up a pop up’ delivered by a team of pop up entrepreneurs. Their aim is to help 3000 entrepreneurs set up their own pop ups over the next 3 years. (Little do they know that we’ve been doing this since 2008 – keep up.)

As part of this new campaign EE have also announced that they will be launching a 4G bundle targeted at pop up retailers which will provide instant 4G connection for 30 days and can also include other products, for example the iZettle portable payment card reader. (You can read the full article here.) Exciting times.

So yes, it is time to break out the champagne and celebrate the fantastic pop up revolution! With resources now plentiful we can beam to infinity and beyond. And remember, you don’t have to wait until this campaign is set up, simply get in touch with us and we can help you get your pop up started. All together now: Hip Hip, HOORAY!

Presentation is everything

Following on from our last blog post in which we talked about creating a pop up experience, this week the topic on our lips is the importance of product presentation.


Lets face it, you could have the best product around, however if you don’t present it right the consumer, who buys with their eyes, will simply (in the words of Dionne Warwick) ‘walk on by‘. As a consumer we are intrigued by the weird, the wonderful and the spectacular. We all have a tendency to buy something just because we were impressed either by the experience, the look, or the seller. Get that mix right and you are onto a winner. Here are some of our favourite product presentations.


First up is Biblia Smakov with ‘Tulip Cherry Tomatoes’. Such a simple tasty treat turned into a beautiful of a bunch of tulips. The perfect romantic gesture for the food lover.



Tulip Cherry Tomatoes


Next on our list is this fabulous packaging design from Studio Otwarte for a vibrant gorgeous red bead necklace. Here we have a great example of the packaging being just as striking as the product. You know the box is a keeper!


Studio Otwarte


The final part of our adoration is reserved for a Living Wall, designed by Jason Lempieri of ReThinkTANK. Imagine if you set up a herb pop up stall you could actually have all the herbs implanted in the walls…ingenious, or perhaps you could actually ‘grow’ a pop up…


Jason Lempieri - Living Wall


However you decide to present your product, always have the ‘consumer’s eye’ in mind and scout around, see what abstract ideas you can come up with to match the ‘Tulip Cherry Tomatoes’.

We are always happy to help with product presentation ideas for your pop up, all you have to do is Hollah!