Caitlin Fitzsimmons Online editor

Caitlin covers social media, marketing and technology and is BRW's social media editor. She has worked as a journalist in Sydney, London and San Francisco, writing for titles including The Guardian and The Australian Financial Review.

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Pop-up shops a festive trend

Published 15 November 2012 14:32, Updated 30 November 2012 04:56

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Pop-up shops a festive trend

MakMak co-founder Carlos Heng

Last night model Georgia May Jagger partied with dozens of Sydneysiders on board a boat anchored next to the Royal Botanic Gardens to launch the Sunglass Hut floating store.

By the time this article is published, the boat will have been towed to Darling Harbour where it will be open to the public from 10am until late for the next four days. Outdoor lounges, DJ beats and exclusive frames will be on offer.

This is the second year for the Sunglass Hut floating store and it is part of a growing trend for pop-up stores, especially during the Christmas shopping season.

The vice-president and group general manager of Sunglass Hut, Phil McNutt, says the aim is to offer customers a unique experience. As well as the concept of a floating store being novel, the range of sunglasses would include some exclusive pieces including hand-painted Oakleys.

“We wanted to do something fun and interesting and different that would really resonate with our core customers,” McNutt says. “We were pleased with how it went last year – we saw over 3000 customers and actually had to turn people away because we couldn’t fit them aboard. This year we’ve built a slightly bigger store, increased the assortment, increased the staffing and added an extra day at Darling Harbour.”

McNutt says the floating store sold about 600 pairs of sunglasses last year and was ready to sell twice or treble that – but with the high cost of the event, it was more a marketing exercise for Sunglass Hut than about driving sales.

For artisan macaron maker MakMak, a pop-up store in Sydney’s Newtown offers the chance for the business to dip its toes in the water before committing to a full-blown retail strategy.

Co-founder Carlos Heng says the company, which currently makes about 5000 of the French-style macarons a week for wholesale customers, is keen to move into the retail market because of the higher margins and the ability to take better care of the product.

“We can see how it goes before we permanently open a store later next year,” Heng says. “Fitting out a shop takes a lot of money but we think people are more forgiving with a pop-up store and it gets us out there for the Christmas rush.”

The MakMak pop-up store will open on south King Street, near St Peters station, on December 17 and close on January 15, before reopening as a permanent shop in March.

Heng says the pop-up store will have a Christmas beach theme with its decor and a special Christmas range of flavours, so the retail experience will be sufficiently different when the permanent store opens.

The store has an open-plan layout so that customers can see the macarons being made, and the business will also bake its macarons for wholesale customers at the same location.

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