It took months for my business partner, Carla, and I to put together a functional store which would be introduced to local consumers as Coalition Market's Holiday Pop Up shop. The place would be open from Dec.2nd - Jan.7th where customers can shop from independent designers/brands in various categories including womenswear, menswear, jewelry and pet accessories. The process of planning/managing an actual event and setting up a physical store was time-consuming for us, especially when we're both trying to find a balance between our full-time positions & completing tasks for our pop-up which has led to a lot of late night meetings with wine and pizza as our go-to meal.
Our meetings consist of planning out week by week what tasks to focus on and how to split them amongst the both of us. One week would focus on gathering detailed information we would need from designers including a descriptive paragraph, line sheets with all the product details (description, price, color availability, etc.) and physical products to sell. The next couple of weeks would focus on getting supplies to set up the shelves/racks, promoting the event through social media and input data into our system to make sure we have every style counted for.
After weeks of planning for the store, we were down to one day left before the shop would be open to the public and yet, there were so many tasks to cross off our lists. The most enjoyable part, was being a two-woman show in seeing what we were capable of- when creating this event, Carla and myself had to learn how to bring more followers on our social media accounts in which we would develop GIFs from scratch using photoshop and exporting them as a movie file (.mov). We were also learning how to semi-code and develop our website along with becoming handy ma'ams and creating our jewelry displays with a wooden board and a couple of nails. The boards gave a more intimate approach to our store- they had a rustic appeal yet a modern look to them.
While being a two-woman show with a small budget for the pop up, it definitely had its difficulties. We relied on each other for everything.... and that included the mechanical work we both weren't familiar with. A simple process of setting up shelves would result in a ton of holes on the walls and finding clever ways to hide them. It was 3 am and we still had a lot to work on in order to have the opening night run on time.
The next day was our opening night and for a moment it seemed as if time was not on our side. Major tasks including setting up those shelves still needed to be done along with cleaning the entire place, setting up the Square App and decorate the scenery accordingly. We were nervous and under-pressured. To make this event successful, we invited influencers, family/friends and the designers for exposure and possibly start selling the merchandise within the first day. We wanted to show what Coalition Market was capable of and that designers can be assured that their brand will be well represented with us.
Within an hour into our pop up event, the designers and consumers began to arrive. Exhausted and half-dressed, Carla and I managed to make this event work. We created a dope playlist, set up a small table for wine bottles/cups and interacted with the designers to show them how we displayed their collections throughout the mini store. We also communicated with consumers, giving them our background story and introducing them to certain designers they may be interested in. Seeing how the night turned out, it was an amazing feeling to see designers enjoy themselves by taking photos/videos and uploading them onto their Instagram account and hearing a lot of positive feedback from everyone.
The journey from concept into reality was completely surreal- this partnership began with me as a blogger interviewing Carla for my "Women in the Industry Segment" in which she would discuss in detail the overall purpose for Coalition Market. After hearing her story, the vision and concept of the brand appeared to be innovative in my eyes and I saw its full potential. Since then, we've faced road blocks/researched the potentiality of the streetwear market and learned how to manage designers and introduced them to exposure.
Still, we have a long road ahead of us and yet so much information to gather but there's a feeling of instinct and the vision of bringing something fresh and new to the fashion industry that makes this risk completely excited and worth it.
Thanks & Best,