There’s now less than a week to go until our Fountain Inn pop-up shop opens its doors. There’s a bit of panic in the ranks, but plans to transform our venue for one exciting weekend are taking shape rapidly. Will it all come together in time?
At the end of the last instalment, we’d got our pop-up venue pinned down and our Etsy packaging materials had started to arrive. We’d got our flyers designed by team member Sofia Salazar (who also did the illustration you see above) and had started our publicity and press campaign. The ball was rolling…
With only a couple of weeks to the launch of the Fountain Inn pop-up, more boxes arrive from Etsy, one containing an iZettle card reader machine, which we will have to set up with an iPad belonging to one of the team.
Team Captain Louise already uses one of these with her iPhone, so on the day we should be able to take card payments with two machines if necessary. And speaking of taking payments, Yvette has been thinking about cash and hunts down some vintage (read scruffy!) cash registers on eBay. We agree that it would be cool to have one, and safer than a cash box, especially since the starting bid for one of them is just £5 and there seems to be no interest from anyone else so far. Yvette gets the go-ahead to bid. Later that day, she messages us to say she won it — and for a fiver. When Yvette collects the cash register, which will need some blinging up before the big day, she finds that not only does it work fine, it makes the classic ka-ching sound when opened!
The list of sellers for the pop-up is now finalised and covers a wide range of handmade products. We can start asking our Etsy team-mates to help out with preparation — and they’re as keen as we are to make sure the shop looks great and is full of lovely stuff. One of the first things we request is that everyone consider what they can offer for our handmade goody bags give-away: as well as some exclusive Etsy-branded bits and bobs, each goody bag will carry a selection of unique gifts such as handmade soaps, handmade cards, jewellery, and more.
SPREADING THE WORD
Meanwhile, promo activities continue. We find it’s not always easy to fit in daily Facebook postings and Tweets around our other commitments — especially since the team doing the organising are also mostly makers themselves, with stock to produce — but we know it’s important to keep up the awareness campaign. We also know we have to tread the fine line between maintaining a presence and becoming annoying!
Outside of social media, we’re also doing what we can. As soon as our flyers come back from printing, Helen, Debbie and Dittany start distributing them, meeting in town to take flyers around all the cafes, pubs and other outlets that might carry some for us. We’re pleased to know that people out in the town centre will be able to pick up our flyers from the Arts Picturehouse, Bill’s Cafe, Harriet’s. Clowns cafe on King Street, Tindalls art shop, The Mitre pub, the Baron of Beef, Bridges, Tatties, Patisserie Valerie, the public library and the Cambridge tourist office, to name just some of the places that kindly took flyers for us. Dittany also goes off to do some heroic solo flyering, going door to door with leaflets in the Kite area of the town centre, Mill Road and streets beyond.
Then we get the exciting news that the Cambridge News likes our press release and would like to run a story on the pop-up! Debbie had called the paper because she didn’t actually know where a story like this might run: in the daily newspaper itself, in the Cambridge magazine, or only online. Speaking to a lovely lady on the newsdesk, Debbie gets her name and directs the emailed press kit — press release, group photo and flyer artwork — to her, with thanks for the help. Perhaps the personal connection does it, perhaps not, but a couple of days later we receive a call from Freya at the Cambridge News, to ask when we might be available for a photo to go with a news story.
The following Monday, we assemble at 11am at the Fountain to meet photographer Richard. The idea is that we will possibly do a photo inside, in the room that will become the pop-up shop, but there’s a tiny fly in the ointment: we didn’t realise that the Fountain doesn’t open during the daytime on Mondays. Richard is a pro, though, and we do the photo outside with the minimum of fuss. It’s not hard to keep smiling as he takes pic after pic, standing halfway into Regent Street and almost in the path of traffic, to get us all in. There’s a huge amount of work to do to get the pop-up ready, but at the moment we’re having fun!
NAIL THAT JELLY TO THE WALL
At Livingstone’s cafe afterwards, we take the opportunity for more planning. There’s no single template for creating a pop-up shop — it pretty much has to be made up as you go along, and as we talk, plans condense out of the ideas fog. We have a lot to decide, and as quickly as possible, including how to label everyone’s products and create a system for tracking sales in the shop.
An ongoing discussion is furniture and shop dressing. In our room at the Fountain are two long and fairly large tables, three low coffee tables, a pair of large sofas, a large modern standard lamp and a movable high bar unit. We talk about whether we can move the sofas, as they take up potential ‘retail’ space, but find that they have to stay in the room. We decide to make the best of them and create a seating space, covering the sofas so they’ll fit the colour scheme.
The rest of the existing furniture we’ll use, but will bring in extra pieces to dot about and to stand on top of lower pieces to create height in displays. There’s a flurry of photography as Team members photograph anything they have at home that might help. Yvette has a tall vintage step ladder that we think we can paint white and add planks to, making a cool-looking shelving unit. Helen spots a similar step ladder on eBay for £38 and offers to collect it from Bedford. Amazingly, her wonderful Dad says he will fix it up with shelves for us and paint it, along with some display pieces Helen used to use for the stall she used to have on the Arts & Crafts market in Cambridge. The offer of help is gratefully received, as at this point we all have about 150 things on our ‘to do’ lists!
THE WHITE STUFF
As well as furniture inside the Fountain, there’s ‘cosmetics’ to think about. We’re going for a ‘Winter Wonderland’ theme using as much white as possible, so we need white fabric, white table covers, white paint… we can’t paint the walls in the Fountain, so we need to make our free-standing displays fit with the colour scheme if we can. We also can’t hammer anything into the walls, so we need a way to hang artwork. Dittany remembers hearing about a velcro product that does not damage walls but will support a reasonable weight, so we do some research and decide to get some.
Out of the blue, we receive a message from new team member Sarah, a graphic designer who works for a printing company and says she has access to white vinyl that can be used to make window decals. If we supply a computer file of a design, she can get it made in vinyl and we can bring the large glass windows at the top of the Fountain’s stairs into the theme! We’re really excited about this, as we’ve seen wonderful window decals in other retail displays — and they’ve figured in the group Pinterest board of ideas for the pop-up that has been growing for weeks.
We have lots more ideas to dress the space, but it would spoil the surprise to say any more at this point!
FEEL THE FEAR… AND DO IT ANYWAY
So as we stand, with just five working days to launch at the Fountain, there’s still masses to do. The next landmark to work towards is Tuesday, when the organising team will meet for a ‘making day’ of sawing, hammering, painting and planning of displays. Time on the Friday night will be so short — just 10pm to 3am — that we need to go in knowing more or less where all the extra bits will go and how the displays will work. We’re hoping for a military-style operation — and ideally more SAS than Dad’s Army!
We’d love to meet you at the Fountain next weekend. Put some faces to names, have a mince pie and a chat with us, and browse the unique items made by our lovely Etsy Cambridge team mates. See you there!
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
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 picks of the day and seller highlights: every day we will be choosing new gift ideas and introducing our sellers to you.
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/