October is in full swing, and like a seasonal specter, Spirit Halloween has arrived in Victoria to haunt the hulk of former Beall’s department store.
Spirit Halloween is a contender for the most popular and recognizable pop-up store on the market. Every year, Spirit Halloween stores apparate into empty storefronts to the point where around 1,400 seemingly pop up overnight in malls and malls across the country. But while the retailer is a giant in the pop-up industry – where sellers will move into a temporary space with inventory meant to be sold – it’s just a store in a sea of pop-ups. .
The pop-up industry is more than rubber monster masks and clown wigs for costumes. It’s craft candles, beauty products, baby clothes, electronics, new fashions and everything in between, and small business owners are taking full advantage of the pop-up model to grow.
The pop-up business model is effective in extending the reach of a business, expanding its customer base, and giving business owners the opportunity to experience and learn what customers want, said Lindsay Young, director of Small Business Development Center at the University of Houston-Victoria. .
One of the appealing aspects of running a pop-up business is that business owners can easily move their products to a community or area where they weren’t previously present, Young said.
“If a Victoria business shows up on a market day in Hallettsville, they can showcase their product to communities that cannot buy in Victoria,” she said. “If it’s a product, they make people buy it and find out what they have to offer.
While some large retailers that operate pop-ups like Spirit Halloween and Ulta Beauty have permanent year-round operations, in rural communities like Victoria many pop-ups exist without a stable storefront, either physical or online. Young said. This can be a downside of the business model, but it comes with several advantages.
– You are a nomad, she said. “You’re constantly going into new areas, but there are a lot of benefits. You may not have a rental payment; you may not have utility payments; you have the ability to get customers that you wouldn’t normally have if you only had one store here.
In retail, stale and immutable inventory can cause customers to lose interest, and pop-ups allow business owners to spread out their inventory or browse different products to make sure what they’re selling stays fresh in the eyes of customers, Young said.
Ashley Henderson, owner of Cotton Belles Boutique in Victoria, effectively uses pop-up sellers to browse new products in her store.
There are 12 pop-up businesses selling their products in the Cotton Belles store, Henderson said, and since there are always new sellers in the store, this has turned the store into a destination shopping experience, because what is in sale today may disappear tomorrow. .
Instead of shopping at a large retail store with a static and relatively stable inventory, customers can shop at a store like Cotton Belles Boutique to be exposed to a large inventory of products from multiple vendors that changes over time. time, said Henderson.
The pop-up model allows business owners to experiment with their inventory and determine what customers in particular regions or cities are interested in purchasing, Young said.
“The most important thing is the public comments,” said Henderson. “You really find out what customers want. When you’re there interacting with them, you get feedback and learn what people like and don’t like.
Victoria’s Santa Rita Market functioned as a pop-up in cities all the way to Rockport and Corpus Christi, and co-owner Krystin Ortiz said the ability to quickly browse inventory allows them to decide which products and vendors they will use once. open. a physical location.
While pop-ups work with limited inventory, that can be a positive, said Ana Reyes, owner of Happy Hippie, a newly opened Victoria boutique that previously operated as a pop-up. When a pop-up’s inventory is low, it offers the opportunity to bring in new and different products that target different customer demographics.
“I didn’t just bring a deal (to Happy Hippie),” Reyes said. “I brought each person. From having a dollar in your pocket to a thousand in your pocket, that was the lineup of people I brought. “
This experimentation allows owners to gain detailed and intimate knowledge of the products they are selling, which is what today’s customers are looking for, Reyes said.
“People today are very smart and want a story behind their product,” she said. “They want to know where it came from, want to know if it’s organic, want to know who made it and why you like it.”
Cody covers the pace of business for the lawyer. He can be reached at 361-580-6504 or [email protected]