By Melissa Martin - Sunday, February 3, 2013 - 0 Comments
What cooler antidote to winter than an upscale pop-up on the frozen Assiniboine?
Last Thursday night, Winnipeg was in the grip of a vicious cold snap that faded streets into a silent filmstrip of grit teeth and shuffling, Sorel-booted feet. As the waxy winter daylight faded, the temperature plunged to -31˚C—and out in the middle of the frozen Assiniboine River, 16 people in parkas were tucking into a delicate dish of raw scallop, albacore tuna and rich foie gras. This was the first course ever served at Raw: Almond, a pop-up restaurant risen on the ice at the confluence of the Red and Assiniboine rivers. Something between a tent and a temporary shack, it squatted in the shadow of an old steel rail bridge, its whiteness reflecting the ice all around.
The dinner guests arrived huddled in pairs, among them an artist, a teacher and a medical student. Instead of chairs, they sat on tree stumps covered with a faux-fur throw. The walls of the restaurant are canvas. The floor is ice. It feels a little like a campsite, with sleek lamps in place of a fire. “We’re not rolling out the gold leaf,” jokes Joe Kalturnyk, director and co-founder of the Raw architecture gallery, who put on the event. The menu is left to glitter on its own. Continue…
By Aaron Hutchins with Andrew Stobo Sniderman - Thursday, September 6, 2012 at 2:58 PM - 0 Comments
How the U.K. boy band is taking merchandising to a whole new, euphoric level
A thousand screaming girls are lined up around the corner along Yonge Street in downtown Toronto. They are here for One Direction, the multi-platinum-selling boy band from the U.K. The atmosphere on the street is frenzied. One young girl is practically hyper-ventilating: “OhmyGodOhmyGodOhmyGod.” Behind her, in tow, her mother rolls her eyes. But the group will not be showing up—and the girls know it. Instead, these fans have lined up for hours outside a pop-up store called “1D World” solely to get together to scream, sing, cry about their favourite band, and, of course, to buy its merchandise. There are shirts, posters, jewellery, even dolls bearing a likeness to the five group members.
One Direction performed two sold-out shows in Toronto in May, where plenty of merchandise was also on sale. But Stage 5, the Australian merchandising company for One Direction, decided to try something new and not confine itself to sales a few hours before and after each event.
The idea for an exclusive retail store for the band occurred while One Direction was touring Australia. Instead of selling merchandise exclusively at the concert—a tried-and-true tactic in the music industry—Stage 5 decided to open up a storefront in Sydney just to see what happened. “The next thing you know, I got 3,000 screaming teenagers outside the shop,” says Derek Glover, Stage 5’s managing director. When the band returned to the U.K. in the middle of their global tour, there was still some stock left in Australia. Glover wondered if the retail store would have the same success even without the band or any concerts on the horizon. So he opened up shop again in Melbourne to test the market. It was so successful, they tried it again in three other cities across the country. “Everywhere was nuts,” Glover says. “Girls were screaming and crying. You’ve seen nothing like it your life.”
By Tamsin McMahon - Thursday, May 10, 2012 at 9:42 AM - 0 Comments
Major retailers are embracing what used to be a guerrilla marketing move by the small guys
Maybe it’s a sign of our disposable culture that the temporary storefront has become a permanent fixture of the retail landscape. Pop-up shops, stores that set up at kiosks or in vacant storefronts for anywhere from a few hours to several months, have flourished across Canada.
In February, ahead of its Canadian debut next year, U.S. retailer Target offered an exclusive Jason Wu collection in downtown Toronto for just six hours, generating a frenzy among the city’s fashionistas and garnering national attention. Well.ca launched a virtual QR-code pop-up shop in Toronto’s Union Station in April. Skincare company Nivea opened “Nivea Haus” in Toronto and Montreal in March. Even the Food Network ran “pop-up restaurants” in Toronto and Vancouver to promote a show.
Pop-up shops have been around for nearly a decade, inspired by the guerilla marketing tactics of small designers who would temporarily inhabit storefronts, warehouses and alleyways because they couldn’t afford their own retail shops. Target was among the first major retailer to try the pop-up concept when it set up on a barge outside Mahattan in 2002. But while such events were once dismissed as passing fads, the pop-up shop has endured as retailers realize the no-commitment storefront is a cheap way to test new products. They also generate buzz with the novelty of get-it-before-it’s-gone commerce. “It’s a great way to create interest,” says Vancouver retail consultant David Gray of Dig360, who argues the concept isn’t used enough. “What’s going to get harder and harder is for it to remain novel. But it’s still so rare, I think it’s a long way from becoming truly mundane.”