What are some unique pop up stores?

4 Apr 2020

There has recently been a resurgence of physical retail. Although thousands of lookalike stores are launched every week, there are those that go one step further. Why be a part of the crowd when you can create a one-of-a-kind in store experience? These unique stores prove that even the most familiar brands can reinvent themselves through innovative retail. Plus, with the flexible pop up model, retail spaces can deliver maximum impact without the commitment of long term leases.

We’ve rounded up some of the pop up spaces that we’re still talking about, some of which we worked on ourselves. Read on to discover the pop ups that turned our heads and learn what made them unforgettable.


Pop Up Grocer

Everyone knows what to expect from a supermarket, which is exactly why the Pop Up Grocer was such an unexpected pop up success. Founder Emily Schildt wanted to bridge the gap between on and offline and shine a light on new food brands. So, she took the supermarket concept on tour, bringing the best in sustainable and natural food across the US.

Why it worked: How many grocery stores have you been to that are design-driven, sustainable, and popping up across the States? Emily showed the high street how even the most familiar brick and mortar store could evolve for a modern audience.



For fashion brands, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to stand out on the high street. So, emerging womenswear brand KITRI knew their first pop up had to be totally unique. Working alongside luxury design studio Campbell-Rey, founder Haeni Kim crafted a pink temporary retail space that reflected the brand’s vibrant designs, featuring one-off interior pieces also available to buy.

Why it worked: A bespoke interior makes your pop up space unique by default. Nobody else on the high street will have a shop like yours. Fashion brands, take note: a bold retail design won’t just immerse your visitors, but will also generate a serious social media buzz.


IKEA x Virgil

IKEA was founded 76 years ago, but this store proved they still had their finger on the retail industry. By enlisting the renowned creative flair of Off-White’s Virgil Abloh, the unlikely partnership created a collection of furniture, dubbed as ‘Fashion You Can’t Wear.’ The temporary retail space appeared in Shoreditch during London Fashion Week, and invited guests to try on the items of furniture in a ‘Fitting Room’, walk on indoor grass, and visit a temporary tattoo shop.

Why it worked: This was a concept like no other: it offered a quirky shopping experience, had a one-of-a-kind design, and built excitement around the collection’s launch. When Vogue names you as one of the year’s most successful collaborations, you know you’ve done your retail store right.


Pantone Café

A masterclass in bringing the online, offline. Famously an industry go-to for digital colour grading, Pantone wanted to branch out and put their brand on the map for a younger audience. Their solution was a pop up café in trendy Monaco: serving colour-graded drinks and snacks. It was a moment made with social media in mind.

Why it worked: This pop up space encouraged customers to interact in a completely different way with the brand, which in turn exposed them to a new audience. It built brand awareness and was a total feast for the eyes.



For the 80th anniversary of the fashion brand’s iconic silk scarves, Hermès popped up across the globe for the visually striking Hermèsmatic. A bold move away from the traditional retail store, the unique laundromat design offered the opportunity for fans to dip dye their old Hermès items, as well as purchase new limited-edition scarves.

Why it worked: Not only was the design one of the most beautiful brick and mortar stores we’ve seen, it served as the perfect case study for how a heritage brand can reinvent itself in an innovative way. It attracted a customer who may have been put off by their traditional high-end stores, as well as rewarding loyal customers by updating their old products.


Made Thought

Curated by creative studio Made Thought, their Seven Dials store wasn’t just a temporary retail space: it was a ‘living portfolio.’ For their unique brick and mortar concept, the studio collaborated with the brands they work with – including Fred Perry, Wildsmith and G.F. Smith – to showcase their work and imagine the ‘store of the future.’ The space also played host to live music events, as well as a rotating programme of installations.

Why it worked: The ‘living portfolio’ idea was a completely new way to utilise retail space. From Made Thought’s perspective, their unique store generated a social media buzz and made them a must-visit for local creatives – all for the same price as a year’s worth of PR.

If you’re feeling inspired to open your own unique retail space, let’s get talking. Our concierge team have experience launching 10,000 stores, as well as advising brands on how to make their store memorable. Give us a call or create an account so we can help you realise your vision.