Monday, February 4, 2008

Popping-Up: 6 Remarkable Guerrilla Retail Projects

Technically speaking, the idea of guerrilla retail has been around for many years. In the Middle East, for example, the word "Basta" is common Arabic slang for a temporary stall located in the market or in the street. Residents of cities across the world are familiar with their local basta versions. Americans love their garage sales. Yet, the modern concept of guerrilla stores, also known as pop-up retail or pop-up stores, is everything but and nothing like the familiar Middle Eastern basta. Aiming for the high-end of trend consumers, guerrilla stores are temporary sales points open for a short period of time, usually between a few days to one year. They spend a minimal amount of resources on interior design and are often located away from mainstream fashion hubs, yet they still look awesomely trendy. Guerrilla retail has been of the hottest trends in retail marketing ever since it emerged in 2003. Following are 6 remarkable guerrilla retail projects.

1. Song in the City: 9-week lifespan store

One of the earliest documented pop-up stores belong to the Song airline company. Opened in the New York SoHo in November 2003 the 'Song in the City' store was announced to be closed on 22 December 2003. Opened only from Thursdays to Sundays, this 9-week lifespan store featured samples of Song's in-flight menu, sold travel gear, let visitors experience the various in-flight entertainment options and even sold tickets. Later on during the year many other pop-up retailers joined the show.

2. Comme des Garçons: Thrilling Retail Experience

Above: Comme des Garçons Cracow, March 24, 2006
Below: Comme des Garçons Warsaw, September 26, 2007

In February 14, 2004 the Japanese fashion label Comme des Garçons became of the first brands to make the guerrilla store concept international when it launched its first guerrilla shop in Berlin. The shop was an immediate success and more have been opened and subsequently closed by Comme des Garçons in more than 20 locations including Reykjavik, Warsaw, Helsinki, Stockholm, Athens and other, making Comme des Garçons a prominent player in the field. With the most extraordinary location being Beirut (July 3, 2007) and the most successful ones located in Cracow and Warsaw (Poland), Comme des Garçons' guerrilla shops may look strange the ordinary shopper. Yet, with many others their eccentric urban spaces help turning a boring commercial practice into a thrilling experience. Photos by blogsorbeta via Flickr.

3. Vacant: Limited Editions. Small Quantities.

Vacant is an exclusive retail concept and exhibition store that opens for one month only in empty spaces in major western cities. From New York, Los Angeles, London and Paris to Berlin, Stockholm Tokyo and Shanghai Vacant showcases a range of limited edition small quantity products from known and emerging designers. The above pair of Kenzo Minami Rbk Instapump Fury, for example, is limited to 500 pieces worldwide and includes a special edition packaging. Interested? New Vacant store locations are announced by email to Vacant Club members only moments before opening.

4. Adidas Popup Truck Store: Grown-ups Ice-cream?

This cool pop-up truck from Adidas was captured on December 2, 2007 in Union Square. To me, this mobile device look a lot like one of those ice-cream tracks I used to run after when I was a child. Is this grown-ups ice-cream? (by skittlbrau / Racked Flickr Pool)

5. Coffee? Try this (free) NesCafe Popup

Coffee? How about some free hot one from this Nescafe pop-up store captured by Kolya Miller (Kolya) in Sydney, Australia on August 14, 2007? Making any change with people's coffee habbits is known to be a very hard task. Perhaps this can actually work.

6. Earnest Sewn's: Rotating Popup Cast

The folks from, a famed blog about shopping, neighborhood stores and the New York City retail scene, thought the Earnest Sewn store at 821 Washington Street is one of the best uses of a weird, extraneous room they have ever seen. Here, an extra 400-square-foot at the left rear of the space was turned into a venue for a rotating cast of pop-up shops. Above photos are from the Trovata showcasing with most items , in case you wonder, under $300. This guerrilla store was just open January 9th this year but if you are interested you should know it's already too late. This is guerrilla retail. February 9th 2008 was the last day any Trovata stuff could be purchased there.

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  1. Very nice post! I had no idea what Guerrilla Retail was. I'll have to look out for it now....

  2. I had previously read about a pop-up coffee place but I had no idea that there was a name for this kind of thing! Neat...I love to learn new things!


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