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From pop-ups to storefronts, how entrepreneurs ventured into brick-and-mortar

Thursday, Jan 18, 2024

Retail pop-ups are a prime stepping stone towards brick-and-mortar stores. They serve as an opportunity to dip your toes into the physical world of retail without having to open up an entire storefront right away. 

Annie Austen is a key example of this. The accessories and jewelry brand based in Kansas City started doing pop-ups in 2020, but opened up its first 3,647-square-foot store on July 1 and reaped record sales. Just three months after opening, the store had already matched the revenue that Annie Austen made the entire year prior.

“It helped us grow our business in a much smarter way,” co-founder Annie Austen said. “It took out some of the guesswork of what products people liked most and what elements they wanted most.”

The pop-ups helped the owners identify the piece that was missing – approachable price points. After selling affordable handbags, they ventured into affordable jewelry, which garnered more repeat customers. They also were able to open up smaller retail spaces in larger stores in Kansas City. 

A big sign that Annie Austen was ready for brick-and-mortar was their frequent shoppers. The retailer was attracting new customers that would purchase an item, follow the brand on social media and return for future purchases. 

“There are definitely opportunities in life that are more of a stretch, but it’s good to stretch into that opportunity,” Austen said. “At first it felt really scary, but once we moved in here and got things going, it was like, ‘This was 100% the right place at the right time.’ It’s crazy how well it worked out.” 

Going from a sole pop-up store model to and entire brick-and-mortar store is going to take a lot of hard work and diligence, but the end result is worth it. The ability to create human interactions, provide an in-person brand hub and integrate a personal feel to a business is truly unmatched. 

Source: Pop-Ups to Brick-and-Mortar – Kansas City Business Journal

Photo Credit: Pop-Ups to Brick-and-Mortar – Kansas City Business Journal

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Article Topics: Brick and Mortar | Growth | Retail

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