Join this group of retail newbies as we create Cambridge’s (and our!) first ever Etsy arts, crafts and vintage pop-up events in the heart of our beautiful city – in less than a month! Can we really do it?
The adventure began when textile designer Louise Player formed Etsy Team Cambridge, a group of creatives based in Cambridge and surrounding areas who all run their own shops on the Etsy global handmade/vintage web site. Searching for Cambridge area shops, Louise began to invite their owners to the group, and it rapidly expanded. We started to meet in person, choosing a different Cambridge cafe each time: Afternoon Tease, Harriet’s, Hot Numbers… we swapped experiences, offered each other advice and just generally had a good old natter.
Then Louise heard on the Etsy grapevine of a chance for a few UK Teams to receive Etsy support to create Christmas pop-up shops – and thought Team Cambridge should be in the running!
Louise called a meeting to talk about the idea, and, not surprisingly, lots of the team were on board with it! What designer/maker wouldn’t jump at the chance of showing and selling their products in one of the UK’s most beautiful and exclusive shopping centres?
Now the race was on to find premises or a venue and write up our bid for Etsy support before their October deadline. Our ambitions were sky-high: Team members Helen and Dittany started to scour the web for empty city centre shop premises and arrange appointments with letting agents!
At this point, we were actually looking for a shop, for up to a month… but our first choice was taken over by squatters the evening before we were supposed to view, and pretty soon we discovered that agents were not mad keen on short-term lets – and that there’s a reason why it’s hard to open a shop in the middle of Cambridge: rent is, er, jaw dropping! We decided we would have to scale back our plans somewhat, but we were determined that the pop-up was still going to happen…
ETSY BACK TEAM CAMBRIDGE
In the meantime, we heard that our bid for Etsy support had been successful! Along with a modest bursary to help with costs, this would mean that Etsy would provide us with packaging materials, some signage and some press and publicity. The rest was down to us…
But although we had the keen sellers, we still had nowhere to sell. A round of meetings with alternative venues and anyone we thought might be able to help us now began, with team members fitting in the trips into town between their job, home and artwork commitments. Persistence paid off when Helen approached a Cambridge Institution, CB1 cafe on Mill Road, and found that the manager was up for us hosting a small Etsy pop-up on December 6th, the very day of the Mill Road Winter Fair!
This incredibly busy and much-loved event would be the perfect place for us to draw in some of the festive crowds, and we were elated – but we also knew that the space available to us wouldn’t allow as many team members as we had hoped to be there.
Then Team Leader Yvette got a reply to an email she had sent a few days earlier: Regent Street’s Fountain Inn, a large and friendly bar/pub with a funky feel, in a very good location, had a brilliant and fairly large first floor room that would be ideal for us, and it was available on the prime Christmas shopping weekend we wanted: November 29th and 30th. What’s more, they were keen to have us!
FULL SPEED AHEAD
Things were really falling into place. We asked for firm commitments from Team members for the weekends of the pop-ups. Not all of the group who had helped in the early stages were available for the dates, having booked Christmas fairs and selling events already. But we still had the numbers to make it work, and everyone who was on board was enthusiastic and excited, and looking forward to the fun.
We now have less than a month to pull this together, from designing and printing flyers, posters and banners and distributing them throughout Cambridge, through Tweeting, Blogging and Facebooking to bring in the shoppers, right down to individual makers creating extra stock and deciding on our pop-up displays. Our aim is to create a warm, friendly and relaxing Christmas shopping experience for our Cambridge customers, full of the kind of gorgeous high-quality gifts and happy interactions we all want to find — and as much fun as possible for ourselves!
Can we do it? Stay tuned and find out!
Those dates again:
Saturday November 29th 11am-8pm
Sunday November 30th 11am-6pm
THE FOUNTAIN INN, 12 REGENT STREET, CB2 1DB (opposite Regent Street Parkers Piece entrance and University Arms Hotel, three minutes walk from John Lewis, The Grand Arcade and the Arts Picturehouse cinema)
Saturday 6th December, 11am-8pm
CB1 CAFE, 32 MILL ROAD CB1 2AD
See you there!
FOLLOW OUR PROGRESS!
We will be tweeting the adventure every day, with updates on progress and links to Facebook and blog posts. Follow us to stay on top of the day’s news!
There will be regular stories about our members, their lives and their wares, whether handmade crafts and arts or vintage finds! Come and meet us on Facebook, tell us you’re coming to the event and pass on any special requests.
Look out for our Gift Pick Of The Day: every single day we will be choosing a new gift idea to highlight.
CB1 event: URL to come
Pick up your FREE advance tickets for any or all events. It’s an easy download and gives you a chance to win some very special freebies and take advantage of discounts at the pop-up shops!
Email us with questions, comments, whatever!
Check out the Etsy UK blog, which features the Cambridge event alongside events in just five more UK cities that have won Etsy support: https://blog.etsy.com/uk/2014/11/07/uk-christmas-popup-shops/