A special event at J. Crew put Lake Forest, Illinois florist Eileen Looby Weber, AAF in contact with scores of holiday shoppers earlier this month.
Weber, vice president and director of special events at Lake Forest Flowers, arrived at the popular clothing retailer December 14 with one sales associate, materials to make 35 holiday-themed designs, signage and bags and stickers to package their goodies.
The manager of the Lake Forest J. Crew follows Weber on Instagram and Facebook, where she saw some images this fall that she thought would jibe with her clientele’s tastes.
“We had posted cute designs with succulents and gourds,” Weber said. “She asked if we’d like to partner with J. Crew and feature the designs in their store.” (Her answer: a resounding YES!)
J. Crew provided tables and Looby brought votives, glass terrarium ornaments, succulents, Christmas greens, spray roses and holiday-themed filler. She priced the arrangements between $12 and $30 (including tax) and pitched the diminutive designs as a perfect gift for a hostess, a colleague, a relative, etc.
Male customers represent the primary demographic for Lake Forest Flowers, Weber said, so hosting the pop up shop in a store that has a lot of female shoppers helped her target a different audience. Busy mothers shopping and returning items in J.Crew stopped by her table to take photos and purchase arrangements. Weber said that the social media exposure alone made the five-hour event worthwhile. Additionally, the partnership with a well-known brand (regarded by many as an arbiter of style) enhanced Lake Forest Flowers’ credibility.
In the days after the pop up shop, Weber noticed an increase in Instagram followers, and she is already planning more events like this one for Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, and prom season.
Interested in organizing your own pop up shop? Here are Weber’s tips:
Send a Sales “Go-Getter.” It’s important to have a representative at the pop up shop who can engage the customers while they’re browsing. Resist the urge to just send a designer or a part-time staffer. Instead, think of someone who can capture people’s attention and develop lasting relationships with the audience at the store.
Be Mindful of Timing. Research your community’s social calendar and plan for holiday pop up shops to happen well before school closings and vacation departures. Weber suspects the pop up shop may have been even more successful if she had scheduled it a week earlier. That’s because local schools let out for holiday break just one day after the pop up shop and she was probably too late for those looking to pick up holiday gifts for teachers.
Recycle Old Containers. Smaller items (with a matching price tag) inspire impulse buys. To keep designs cost-effective, Weber repurposed votives she purchased for the 4th of July and selected products that took up a lot of space, so she wouldn’t need to use many insertions to make an impact.