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Fashion industry insiders share five tips for launching a pop-up shop

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During the DHL: The Business of Fashion panel discussion held during Toronto's World MasterCard Fashion Week, participants offered suggestions for individuals or businesses thinking of launching a pop-up.

Here are five tips from industry insiders on launching a temporary storefront.

1. Choose the right location — and spread the word.

"Make the place accessible, make some noise, make sure people know that it's happening. It is hard to get sales, so this is one great way to bring some cash into your business," said Susan Langdon, executive director of the Toronto Fashion Incubator, a non-profit business centre that has fostered numerous designers and style entrepreneurs.

2. Find a potential partner.

Rather than forging their own path, partnering with other brands on a pop-up is a great idea, said Shawn Hewson, creative director of Canadian sportswear label Bustle.

"You may have a menswear brand and a womenswear brand and a jewelry brand and a shoe brand and a handbag brand. The people who wear handbags also wear jewelry and clothing," he said. "They may also be going to look at the handbags that they've heard of, and then they may see a piece of jewelry that they like.

"Partnering up with others is always a good idea in circumstances like that. And you can share some of the fixed costs as well."

3. Create a festive atmosphere ahead of the launch.

Hewson said when his label has operated pop-up shops in the past, they've always held a party ahead of time.

"Get some people in there having a couple of cocktails, usually the wallets come out of the pockets a little bit faster — and it's fun," he said. "Also, the party can kind of generate some attention, some social media, maybe some press for the rest of the run of a pop-up shop if it's there for, say, a week."

4. Timing is everything.

Langdon said the hours of operation for the pop-up shop should be at a time when the target market is available to check out the offerings.

"If you're making office attire and your shop is only open from 9 to 5, let's say, does that really make sense? Because the office worker is probably in an office doing their job at that time."

5. Treat it like a shop.

Whether you're operating out of a vacant storefront or an outdoor tent, the customer service approach shouldn't differ from that offered in a traditional store.

"Have knowledgeable salespeople, people that are attentive. Just don't let people wander in and wander out aimlessly," said Langdon.

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