The pop up economy is all around us

The pop-up economy is all around us now, and it’s no longer limited to shops and restaurants. Recently on our blog we have talked about pop-up opera tours, pop-up hot tub cinema nights and even pop-up pig petting!!

There are now an estimated 10,000 pop-up retail businesses around the UK and with over 26,000 people employed in the pop-up industry. Established high street retailers are using pop ups to test and expand into new locations and to pre-promote new openings, and new businesses are opening without the stress and expense of taking on a long term lease.


What was, for a while, viewed as a fad a has now turned into a support system for the UK’s changing high streets.  Pop ups are a massively important part of the commercial property industry now – worth £2.3bn to Britain’s economy, according to a new report commissioned by digital communications company EE and carried out by the Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR). The report showed that the sector achieved 12.3% more revenue this year compared to 8.4% in 2014.


There is around a third more shopping space in the UK than is needed by retailers, and these spaces need to be filled. ‘Pop Up The High Street’ is a project in Torbay Town Centre aimed at new businesses, or those without a physical presence on the high street, that would like the chance to experience what it takes to become a successful retailer.


Liz Edwards, Torbay Development Agency Business Advisor, said: “Pop up shops have taken towns and cities by storm and it is great that Torbay is part of this. Our aim is for the Pop Up The High Street to play its part in helping businesses in Torbay grow by providing them with a retail space to showcase their products and free business support throughout their tenancy. Businesses can try out the shop for between 2-6 weeks, all for just £30 a week.”

So, what does it take to set up a pop-up? The biggest advantage of the pop-up economy is that it lowers the entry barriers to starting your own retail business – all that’s needed is a good idea and copious amounts of energy. You don’t need huge sums of money to take on a long lease, or a high spend marketing campaign to support your opening.


One of the key things you do need, though, is the perfect location and that’s where Popupspace can help, proactively find the right space for you based on your requirements. We also negotiate space hire on your behalf – taking all the hard work of lease negotiations away from you.


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Stuck in London this summer? Here’s the perfect pop up solution

Stuck in London for the summer? Can’t get to the beach? Never mind, Camden Beach is back at The Roundhouse until 23rd August, and we can’t think of a better pop up to visit to catch some summer vibes.


The Roundhouse has filled its terrace with 150 tonnes of white sand, classic striped deckchairs, ping pong, a tiki bar and food courtesy of Fishy Business, a pop up restaurant serving delicious fresh fish in proper seaside style. Also home to the all important beach bars – Rum Shack-A-Lack and Stoli Lemonade Van – Camden Beach should be an experience to remember.


If you like the VIP lifestyle there are some adorable beach huts for hire, which hold up to eight people, have cushioned seating and your own little private beach area! With a fridge full of booze included, and personal waiter service to the hut, rock and popcorn and fish and chips for dinner, we think we might stay all week!

The opening times are 5pm – 11pm (Monday and Tuesday) and 12pm – 11pm (Wednesday to Sunday)

For further details, go to:

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Pop up opera – a perfect summer’s evening

With the balmy summer evenings finally here, we can’t think of a nicer thing to do than take in an opera performed in a beautiful pop up space. Pop-up Opera are back for 2015 with L’Italiana in Algeri (The Italian Girl in Algiers). The opera is best described as “Rossini meets Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, against a backdrop of glitz and grit at the Algiers Hotel, Nevada”.

The venues are not your average pop up shop venues – the spaces have been chosen to compliment the evenings perfectly, and range from a beautiful country barn in Ross on Wye to the Stour Space in Hackney.



Pop Up Opera promise to make opera entertaining, without compromising quality – all operas are performed in their original language. The operas are skilfully adapted to each individual venue, making every performance unique.

For dates, venue details and prices visit

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Hot tubs and cult films, pop up style? Yes please!

A hot tub – one of the best ways to relax. A cult movie – bring it on; but the two together? A match made in heaven!

Copyright_Hot Tub Cinema Indoor wide shot

The ‘Tub Tropicana Tour’ from the Hot Tub Cinema crew is back again this year and looks to be another popular event for them.  We think it’s a brilliant pop up idea, which was launched in 2006 as a private party for friends in Exeter and turned into a regular public event with the first in Hackney in 2012. Hot Tub Cinema have since had successful shows in London, New York and Ibiza and this year’s tour will cover six UK cities and one major European city.

Hot Tub Cinema

Each tub holds six people and has its own tub waiter to bring you whatever you want from the bar, and popcorn too!

The pop up venues are great too – in London (May 6th – 10th) they are taking over the former Shoreditch Underground Station, just off Brick Lane, which was closed in 2006 and auctioned by Transport for London in February 2011, renovated and converted into a fabulous 300 square meter arts and events space. Bristol’s venue (29th May – 2nd June) is Paintworks, a thriving artistic community in buildings developed from the derelict remains of a former paint factory.  More venues will be announced soon.

The films have been chosen with fun in mind and Pretty Woman, Grease, Top Gun, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, and Rocky Horror Show are our top picks.

Tickets are booked through the website

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Up for a pop up pignic?

Micro-pigs (or teacup pigs as they are better known) are the on trend pet to covet at the moment – although there have been many stories of people thinking they have bought one of these little bundles of joy, only to find that they have been duped, and their perfect little piglet has grown to an enormous size!

micro pig image

Yelp and Pet Piggies have come up with a brilliant pop up idea for micro-pig education and fun at London’s first ‘Pop-Up Pignic’. The event provides visitors with a hands-on evening of information on looking after micro-pets, in the hope that fewer animals will be abandoned in the future. The London Pignic will be a themed event including a curated picnic, a pig-themed cocktail masterclass, and a pig film at the end of the evening. The evening will also raise money for animal welfare charities.

The dates for the Pop-Up Pignics are 21 & 22 May 22 (6-10pm) and 23 – 25 May (2-6pm).

The venue is The Proud Archivist, Hertford Road, N1 – a fantastic setting on the banks of Regents Canal.

Tickets for the events are to be allocated by ballot on 14th May and all you have to do is RSVP to Yelp on the link below: 

And if you miss out on a ticket you can see the pigs in their pen through a giant window on Regents Canal at any time during the five days.

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A pop up for the kids

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, especially 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!


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, all the while being entertained by the servers with comedy, music and storytelling.


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. 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—Camden/Wednesday-18-March/Unit-7,-East-Yard,-Camden-Lock,-NW1-8AF.

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Are you ready for Valentine’s Day?


There’s only one week to go until Valentine’s Day – 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.

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:

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 Wandering 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:

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:

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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.


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.

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.’s ‘Universal Inbox’ pulls mentions from your emails, comments sections and social media to make sure you never miss a customer issue.


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.


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.

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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.



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.



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.



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!

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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.


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.


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?

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