So last month we made a pop up shop happen in Wolverhampton. It was messy and adhoc, it took a lot of patience and thinking and talking but ultimately it was fun.
Experience of a a pop up event
Running the shop was great fun specifically as we placed no expectations on ourselves so anything we did achieve was a bonus. We were really well received by people as a whole and we had a lot of positive comments, particularly around it great seeing something “different” in the city.
As a market research tool it was great, people really engaged with the space, filling in their post its and sticking them to the window regardless of whether they chose to come in to he shop and “play” – I think this was because we were in a shop – not grabbing people on the Dudley Street. People have become so accustomed to be stopped on the street they’ve stopped paying attention.
I think as a one off pop up we were happy with what we achieved, but if we were going to hold an “event” either a one off or a series, a lead up with some advertising – even if it was just teasers about what the space could be used for that would maybe attract people into the city to see what’s going on, and if they got used to something different happening in the spaces they may even keep returning to see what’s happening week on week.
I think the fact we attracted so many different people in such a short space of time shows that Wolverhampton liked the different offering a pop up shop could deliver.
Young people engaged with us, they used the free activities and repeatedly said they would come into the city to spend more of their leisure time if there were spaces like ours they could relax in.
Older people like the free books – they told us they liked the idea of the spaces being used and they “would feel safer” in the city if there we less empty units and places were open later.
Other suggestions for pop up events put forward by people of Wolverhampton were:
- Craft space for yarn bombing
- Tea/ coffee shops run by schools / community groups
- More games
- Art Galleries
We spoke with over 90 people in the hour and half the shop was running for and received written post it feed back from nearly 50 of those. We asked everyone who came into the shop to answer a question for us. What do you do in the city after 5:30 overwhelmingly the answer was “Nothing” so we started asked What would you LIKE to be able to do in the city after 5:30 and the answers were mainly along the same theme.
The fact the shops and cafes close at the same time as the offices close was a reoccurring issue – why would people stay in a city where there was nothing open other than pubs? It was suggested that later opening for shops would keep people in the city after work and that they would be more likely the stay in the city to have a meal or see a show at the Grand or Arena Theaters if they felt safer. Everywhere being closed really fed into the perception that the city wasn’t a safe place after office hours. Especially for those using public transport that would at times have to walk across an empty city to get to their destination.
All the written feed back we received on the post its can be seen below: