Wednesday, 3 September 2014

A week in the life of a (pop-up) shopkeeper

Back in June this year I received a tweet from Dalegate Market. 'Have you seen our Pop-Up-Shops?' I thought this sounded interesting so decided to go and have a look. 

Dalegate Market is a small shopping complex situated on the on the North Norfolk coast road between Hunstanton and Wells-next -the-Sea. It features shops such as Fat Face, Gone Crabbing, Relish Boutique, The Hare and Hen Gallery & Craft Shop, One Stop Nature Shop, Norfolk Hideaways, Deepdale Bike Hire and Deepdale Cafe.

Also on the site is Deepdale Farm which offers self-catering accommodation, independent hostel, campsite, group hostel and glamping (tipis, yurts & shepherds huts). 

For the first time this year they had decided to erect four colourful Beach Huts on the site to rent out as pop up shops to small independent companies for a week at a time during the summer months. I know and love that part of the Norfolk coast very well so thought it would be great place to have a shop, plus the idea of having my own little place for a week sounded a bit different and very exciting.

Photo Dalegate Market

After a bit of research I decided to book a slot and the last week of August was free. 

I arrived on the Weds afternoon was shown to my little hut which was really spacious and pink!

Now those who know me would expect at this point to see a scale mock up version of the hut with everything in place to make my life easier. BUT on this occasion I decided to just see what happens when I got there, not a good plan as all in all it took 5hrs to set up after moving tables into every position I could think of, lesson learned there I think!

I opened the shop on Thursday morning full of anticipation. There were a lot of people about and sales went well. I also had a few enquires about trade orders too. The next couple days were much the same, although the Sun, Mon and Tues was less busy because of the end of the school holidays. 

Hand screen printed bags with notebooks

Seaside postcard prints

Seaside postcards

Pug print

Most of my customers were dog owners, (I was in my element with all the sweet dogs to fuss!) so it was a great marketing exercise for my Top Dog range of cards. Everyday I looked at how well they had sold and put the top selling onto Facebook and Twitter which showed some interesting results which were as follows: 

Thursday's Top Dog was the Pug 

Friday’s Top Dog was the Whippet 

Saturday’s Top Dog was the Border Terrier 

Sunday’s Top Dog was the Chihuahua and the Springer Spaniel 

Monday’s Top Dog was the Border Collie 

and finally Tuesdays Top Dog was the Golden Retriever 

It was interesting that no two days were the same. Also the coasters, badges and magnets with the ‘Top Dog’ designs on went down very well too.

All four of the huts were rented out so it was nice to have some neighbours all of who were very different so gave some variety to the shops.

Photo Dalegate Market

Crafting Alison and Gemma’s Jewellery Box shared a hut and offered some lovely hand crafted papercraft items and jewellery

Crafting Alison & Gemma's Jewellery Box
Crafting Alison
 Gemma's Jewellery

Daniel Sa Designs offering unique hand made plaques from reclaimed wood. Photos on wood; the image becomes part of the wood with a special technique that takes up to 48 hours soak in.

Daniel Sa Designs
Daniel Sa Designs

Polly's Feltz only joined us for three days over the weekend a cottage craft industry with felted handbags and accessories designed and handmade by Polly.

Polly's Feltz(Photo Dalegate Market)
Polly's Feltz
(Photo Dalegate Market)

The owners of site site were extremely helpful and nothing was too much trouble. All the huts had electricity and free wifi which was good as I had bought my card reader along for the larger payments. The huts are situated at the back of the site and the team at Dalegate did a great job of promoting us on Facebook and Twitter and made signs and leaflets for the cafe tables to tempt people to come and see us.

Also on the site was a great cafe Deepdale Cafe with yummy breakfasts, pastries, sandwiches, coffee and hot chocolate!

If you are interested in a pop up shop then contact the team at Dalegate Market. All the information can be found on their website  They also have a popular Christmas Market every year which is on the 6th and 7th Dec this year, a great day out to get all your Christmas gift shopping done.

All in all I really enjoyed the experience of being my own shopkeeper for a week and hats off to all shop owners out there. Everyone I met gave me lots of positive comments and I made some great contacts too.