Interviews

A third of new businesses could be pop-ups by 2017

3 min read

03 June 2015

New research from EE found that 29 per cent of people intending to set up a business over the next two years were planning on them being pop-ups.

EE also projected that 11.6m people hope to become entrepreneurs over the same time period.

Mike Tomlinson, director of small business at EE, said: “This shows that Britain is now a nation of aspiring business owners. Whether you’re starting your first business on your own or you’re an established company testing out a new location or product, pop-ups have become a tried and tested business strategy.”

Big companies like Amazon and Google have made headlines for their expansion into the physical retail space with pop-ups and stores within stores. While ecommerce has continued to grow, becoming a part of many individuals’ daily lives, the value of utilising a bricks and mortar operation to connect with customers on a personal level, has been recognised by those like Google and Amazon.

Last year, EE carried out a report with the CEBR looking into the rise of temporary retail, and found that it contributed £2.1bn to the UK economy. With a follow-up survey on the way, EE revealed that over half of people think a pop-up is a great route into launching a business career.

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Temporary retail options seem to capture the imagination too. Some 39 per cent of people are inspired by their success. Food pop-ups were the most popular choice for budding entrepreneurs – at 30 per cent, followed by drink at 18 per cent, art and crafts with 15 per cent, fashion at 12 per cent and jewellery at 11 per cent.

Twin sisters Tida and Lisa Finch started a fashion and accessories label after graduating from art colleges – working full-time on the brand, selling through a website and some boutiques. They told The Telegraph that pop-ups had become a great route to boosting their finances and providing a way to interact and hear feedback from customers.

In the first month, it brought in about £2,000, “which was surprising as we had just launched the brand and were relatively unknown”. Their jewellery has since been worn by actress Mila Kunis and singers Florence Welch and Rita Ora.

The sisters mentioned the location of pop-ups as being particularly important – selling their designs at a shop in Piccadilly was a particular hit for the pair.

EE is hoping to provide support for those looking to follow the temporary retail route, as its research suggested nearly a third were concerned about not having the right technology to realise their ideas, as well as worrying about finding the right space for the shop.

It is supporting online marketplace Appear Here’s “Space for Ideas” competition to find and assist the UK’s next pop-up entrepreneurs, with winners receiving retail space in London for two weeks as well as £3,000 to build out the pop-up store.