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Pop-up Shanghai [Global Times]
[January 12, 2014]

Pop-up Shanghai [Global Times]

(Global Times Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) When the lease of her shop expired early in 2013, Jenny Lam decided to move her furniture and homeware store 100percent from Wuyuan Road. Lam has been running 100percent for seven years - first on Fumin Road - and her Wuyuan Road boutique had long been a must-visit for Shanghai home decorators looking for original and unique designs.But despite lacking a permanent location, the business has not closed. In March 2013, 100percent popped up at House of Xisui on Taiyuan Road under the theme of "Eat, Play, Love," which marked the conversion of 100percent from a fixed store to a pop-up concept store."So far I haven't found pop-up retail to be very popular in Shanghai, but I believe it's promising," Lam told the Global Times.Pop-up retail, the strategy of establishing a temporary sales space, has been flourishing overseas since 2003 when the now defunct Song Airlines opened a pop-up store in New York, according to, an international trend observation firm. An increasing number of designer labels, especially home and design stores, have begun to pick up the strategy, not only to sell their products, but also to promote their brand.

Pop-up stores by 100percent Photos: Courtesy of Jenny Lam   Pop-up stores by 100percent Photos: Courtesy of Jenny Lam  All about conceptIn Shanghai, Lam is one of the pioneers. Last summer, 100percent organized their second pop-up venture, this time in Shanghai Trio on Fuxing Road with the theme "Contemporary Chinese." For each theme, Lam not only presents products she already has, but also contacts designers to showcase their works not sold previously in her store, but which are suitable for the themes. For the Contemporary Chinese-themed pop-up, she displayed blue-and-white porcelain works by designer Haichen's brand Blue Shanghai White, embroidered shoes from Suzhou Cobblers, and old Shanghai daily commodities-turned funky household items by Jonas' Design. She also organized numerous events, including parties, dinners, talks and workshops, at both of her pop-up locations."It's more about the promotion of our store's concept, and also the promotion of the designers," said Lam. "I'm more like a curator of an exhibition, rather than a business runner."Currently, Shanghai-based homeware design label Yaang is holding a pop-up store at an art gallery inside the Intime Mall near West Lake in Hangzhou until January 23. Wang Yang, the designer of Yaang, told the Global Times that rather than being a marketing strategy aimed at boosting sales, the purpose of the pop-up store is promote her design concept.Themed "Zhanfang," meaning "Bloom" in English, the whole space is decorated with golden, diamond-shaped furnishings, and Yaang set up seven "little scenes" in the store organized by product categories. "For example, by displaying products made from copper," said Wang.It is the first pop-up store Yaang has done in Hangzhou. "We do this as an approach to lead our customers and introduce our design concept by establishing an eye-catching space," Wang told the Global Times. She points out that their concept executed in the space they set up is the major difference between a pop-up store and a sample sale. Wang added that K11 Art Mall, where her Shanghai life concept store is located, has designated a space in the shopping mall dedicated to pop-ups, but few brands make use of it. "Many brands are more focused on their sales volume, and do not have ideas about concepts. If they do pop-ups, it will turn out to be an additional sales booth at the atrium of a shopping mall."As a relatively new phenomenon in China, the pop-up concept is not generally well-received. Wang said she has been surprised to see many passers-by are indifferent to what they established, which she believes is quite "eye-catching." Most simply look through and walk on, a very different reaction from what they have experienced in Shanghai previously.

Yaang's pop-up store in Hangzhou is decorated with golden, diamond-shaped furnishings.

Yaang's pop-up store displays many of Yaang's classic designs. Photos: Cai Xianmin/GT   Different customer base"When we did a pop-up in Shanghai last year at K11 Art Mall, many people stopped by and showed great interest. They looked around carefully, took photos and asked us many questions," Wang recalled. "Consumers in Hangzhou show less attention to design products than their Shanghai counterparts. There is a huge aesthetic difference between different customer bases."Lam also admits the sales at pop-up stores are not as good as those in a fixed store. But she points out that a fixed store will experience both high and low seasons in a year, while a pop-up store only lasts for a short period. She also found that more return customers will show up at her pop-up stores. "They come all the way to see my store and it's highly possible that they might bring something home. In a fixed store, there are many shoppers that simply pass by and don't have the intention to buy anything," she said. "And in a pop-up store, smaller homeware items are sold, as opposed to large items of furniture."Some brands also use pop-ups as a trial run of their business. For example, Shenhuo Guan, a life concept store founded by local lifestyle newspaper Shanghai Times, ran several pop-up stores before establishing two fixed stores in downtown Shanghai.Lam told the Global Times that she is planning to do two pop-ups in 2014. And she will continue to hold pop-ups even though she has found a suitable place for a fixed store. "I will spare a space in my new fixed store to hold pop-up shows. They are not contradictory," said Lam. Wang believes that pop-up stores will become more popular in the long run, but the concept still needs time to grow. "It will always be a niche market," Wang added.

Yaang's pop-up store displays many of Yaang's classic designs. Photos: Cai Xianmin/GT   (c) 2014 Global Times. All rights reserved. Provided by, an company

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