Shop fitting on a budget: Cheap ideas for your pop up shop

Opening a new retail store is an exciting process, but one that traditionally requires a big budget and a large commitment. The pop up shop concept allows almost anyone with an idea and a modest budget to open their own store and test an idea quickly.

001-Fashion-ShopSetting up a shop is not without its challenges, and our guide has been put together to help first timers set up a store and achieve a great result with minimal cost.

The ideas below should give you inspiration to get out there and create something in the physical world.

1. Create an achievable concept. Look at your brand and identify its unique selling points. Select the strongest aspects of your brand that can be easily re-created or applied to a physical space. Keep it simple. Simple concepts are easy to identify, easy to execute and easy for your customers to understand. A complex, high-end concept will be not only expensive, but time consuming to fit out. A concept that is simple and direct can be just as effective at getting your message across.

2. Your product. Can you make use of your packaging or any existing marketing materials you might already have? Repetition of your product, flyers, or posters can be effective at creating impact in your store. Some of the largest brands around use their empty boxes, bottles or containers to cheaply add visual interest and texture to their stores.

001-Wood-Pallets3. Recycled materials. The use of recycled materials can be very affordable or even free. Timber is a versatile building material and can be salvaged from a number of places. Try old pallets, shipping crates or scaffolding. Once you know what you are looking to create, you can be selective as to what you look for. Ebay and Gumtree can be a great source of a range of raw materials, from timber to tiles.

001-Piano4. Borrow from yourself. Do you have the perfect table or bookcase that can be used for a short time in your pop up shop? Have any of your family or friends any unused furniture or ornamental artwork that would suit perfectly? Don’t be afraid to ask: most people are flattered to hear you would like to borrow an item for use in your shop! Take care of any items you borrow and protect pieces from damage in the retail space.

5. Local artists. There are artists and creators everywhere. Is there anyone in your area doing great work that would look good in your shop? You can give an artist great exposure by showing their work, and at the same time enhance the experience for your customers. Make sure you credit the source of any artwork in your shop, and that it fits your concept.

6. Create relationships. You are now part of a retail community, a tight knit group of people who work alongside each other. Go out and meet your neighbours; tell them what you are doing. Explain your vision and create connections with other local people and businesses. Is there a printer that will print your flyers in exchange for a discount at your shop? Is there a local builder that can do some work for you? If you are trading services, make sure that the terms or your arrangement are clear and that there is a positive outcome for both parties. And remember to spread the word – when you do well, the local community does well.

Guest Blogger: Jared Maddern is an Industrial Designer working for RoomOne Design in London, a Retail Design company that designs and manufactures retail units and shop fitting solutions throughout the UK and Europe. To discuss retail design, strategy and shop fitting, contact Jared at

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