Here in Ibiza, we tend to experience a lot of ‘pop-ups’ in the month of August, be it a bar, a boutique or a mini-club. I for one, think a pop-up is pretty cool – a one-off event or weeklong experience that break away from the typical Ibiza shopping, dining or drinking experiences (though of course I also like those too, it’s just nice to have something new and exciting to buzz about)… and in the case of pop-up shops, they certainly inspire a type of shopping frenzy like no other (‘I must buy now! It’s not going to be here tomorrow!’).
But after taking part in the set up, running and break-down of the White Ibiza Pop-Up Boutique at the Urban in Ibiza event at Atzaro recently, I have to say, I really have a whole new admiration for the work and dedication that goes into pop-up events. My gosh… I needed to sleep for almost two days afterwards!
First, there’s the stock levels. A pop-up isn’t like a regular shop, with a storeroom out the back or the ability to order stock if it’s not available. You’ve got to practically be able to predict the future, to work out how many of each size and in each model you’ll need, without creating too much excess stock – because remember, you’ll also have to carry and load all of these in and out of your car. There are no friendly couriers to help you with boxes here!
Then there’s the layout of your space. How many railings do you have? Do all the coathangers match? Will you create sections of clothing styles, or prefer to separate stock by brand? Where is the changing area? Is there somewhere for men as well as women? Is the excess stock easily accessible? Can you keep your eye on all areas of the space to avoid theft throughout the night?
Then there’s staffing! What are the opening hours? Who will work what shift? Who is responsible for the packing up and down of everything? Who is watching the change rooms? Is anyone there to help with styling and sizing for customers? Who will be staffing the till, watching the cash and manning the credit card machine? Do you have a receipt book and a company stamp? Have you got tissue paper for wrapping, nice bags and ribbon? Company cards or flyers?
Then the day arrives. You very carefully pack your chosen collections into boxes and garment bags, carry them to your car – or in our case, multiple cars – and precariously pack it so you have just enough visibility to change lanes. Then you drive oh-so-carefully to your pop-up destination (nothing like a fender bender to ruin your mood) and basically re-run the whole situation… unpacking the boxes and garment bags and carrying them to your location.
Of course, if your pop-up involves clothing, you can guarantee they didn’t arrive to the venue in perfect, wrinkle free condition. That would just be too easy! Next up is steaming duty – which let me tell you, in the August Ibiza heat is nothing less than a JOY – to get them all hanging pristinely and looking covetable on your rails. Oh that’s right, the rails. You then spend several hours assembling the rails that were only juuuust delivered on time by Ikea.
And then the first few people start to poke their heads in. Of course, they’re always interested before you’ve made everything look beautiful, but you’re never going to turn away a customer of course. But then that sets you back and by the time you’re supposed to be open (let’s say 6pm), you’re still matching hangers to clothes and realise you haven’t taken a sip of water since 10am this morning. Argh!
But then once you’re open, you can’t leave the shop. Of course water was the one thing you forgot to pack, and you keep praying for your next minion or a faithful friend to turn up and fetch you some sustenance. Eventually they do of course, but not until you’ve practically shriveled up into a prune and want to cry. Did I mention you’ve also had absolutely ZERO sleep because you were up all night packing everything into boxes and garment bags?
AND OH GOD! YOU’VE STILL GOT TO GET CHANGED! And spruce up your hair and make-up, turning yourself into a walking, talking (and hopefully selling) advocate of your own shop.
And then the real fun starts. No really, I mean it. Real, live shoppers come in to your boutique and they ACTUALLY WANT TO BUY THINGS (I mean, you’d hope so, given the amount of weeks you spent carefully curating and promoting your collection but there’s always those first few minutes of self doubt).
And it takes all types. You get your holiday souvenir hunters (Ibiza bikini anyone?), yummy mummies (keep your eyes on the niños of course, so they don’t get grubby pawprints on your merchandise), obsessive overly cautious shoppers (who try the same item on three times, in three different sizes, go away and come back three more times before they buy) and your gaggles of girls who’ve perhaps had a few cocktails and – despite driving you slightly insane with their shrieking – are very liberal with the credit cards. The list goes on.
All of a sudden, the clock strikes 12 and your moment is over. It’s time to do it all in reverse, pack up the clothes, disassemble the rails, re-pack the car (hopefully a lot lighter this time around), clean up the space and guard the profits with your life! It’s around 5am before you get to sleep and you’re wondering to yourself if it was all worth it, when you break it down into man hours, physical exertion and planning…
But when you wake up in the morning, it already feels like it was just a dream… All you remember are the good parts (that’s after you’ve soaked those sore muscles in a tub full of Radox salts), the nice customers, the ker-ching of the till!
Which is what leads you to start planning the next one, even though you swore to yourself you’d never attempt such a thing again. Having now lived and breathed this experience myself, I know I am even more committed to attending as many pop-ups as possible! These people’s efforts need to be recognised peeps!
Including our own – which is why I hope to see all you Ibiza fashionistas at Agroturismo Atzaro this Saturday, August 24, 2013 between 6pm and midnight for the next White Ibiza Pop-Up Boutique! Showcasing the very best in Ibiza fashion, designers, brands and trends, we’ll have bikinis, party dresses, denim, casual wear, men’s fashion, shoes, beachwear, jewellery and much more – I’ll be the one pretending not to be frazzled and really in need of some water. Ahem, I mean champagne!