I was listening to a talk on NPR a few weeks ago and found it rather funny that the two people that were mentioned, are two people that I know! Our world is so small and interconnected; it's actually pretty cool. I've always had a keen interest in pop-up shops. One of my past businesses was creating several pop-up shops during peek-holiday seasons and selling conceptual items that were imported from foreign countries; there was usually a twist with a social-good angle and it was usually a product that was fairly reasonable in price-point, so that it would turn quickly. Funny enough, my pop-up shops were named, "Coco Zaza's Pop-Up Shop". Pop-up shops are a very interesting business model and one that I have always been an avid supporter of for years. It seems lately that this trend of "popping up" has started to attract even most traditional brick and mortar companies, as well as the ever-popular growing e-commerce brands. Consumers today are more sophisticated than ever, and brands and retailers have started to respond to this trend with some new innovative technology sites and bridging the online/ offline gap with new ways of consuming. Never before have we seen such interesting companies appear in the space of fashion, yet more often than not, many are still missing the mark.
I wrote the summary below about my first business for my submission to Sandbox and thought it explains how I first got involved in business and involved in pop-ups for that matter. At the age of five, I learned the value of supply and demand. I created my own lemonade stand like what all other kids do at age five, except I didn't sell lemonade at my lemonade stand. I noticed that everyone else was selling lemonade and I never liked being like everyone else, so I decided to sell kool-aid. This businesses primary business is as a leading provider of drinks and assorted packaged commercial food items to local customers. The main drink offering is “kool-aid”. In the early-90’s, I would charge customers 50 cents for a “small” (approx. dixie cup size) and $1 for a “large” (approx. solo cup size). The main packaged treat offerings are Kellogg’s branded rice krispie treats, priced at retail for $1. Revenue was around $30 per day. On a non-rent basis, I was cash flow positive with 60-70% margins on the drinks and 40% margins on the food. People were not only buying over-priced kool-aid and packaged treats, but they were buying into the experience I had created. What was important about the fact that I sold kool-aid versus the standard lemonade, was that I noticed a problem and found a solution this early on in life. I created something that was different than everyone else on the block. I received first movers advantage and then understood my value proposition. This mini-business pop-up shop taught me many important lessons for future businesses.
This new kid named Cory has been popping up all over the news lately. Cory is nine years old and CEO of Mr. Corys Cookies; a pop-up cookie shop in New Jersey. In today's world, being an adorable, well-dressed, out-of-place kid, with a good idea gets you far and he is no exception to the craze in social media with how he gained exceptional interest though having an Instagram. I attended a bitters making class a few weeks ago in The Meatpacking District at Story with my friends Bethany, Samantha, May and Heston. Story is a retail space that has the point of view like a magazine, changes like a gallery and sells things like a store, and is part of this new-wave of pop-ups. Currently they are featuring brands like Quirky and Jix and use the space to throw pop-up educational and interactive events to promote some of their friends and their products. I purchased this hilariously Asian Hello Kelly acrylic chain iPhone case at a pop-up shop that I stumbled upon a few days ago. Isn't it just so me?
Naturally, I would be wearing Etro and naturally, I would have my MacAir in hand wherever I go. I live on my computer and I'm not sure what I would do without it. Welcome to 2014, and welcome to one of the biggest consumers of all time... Coco Zaza. Clearly, I drink the kool-aid.
Details: Etro collared shirt, Joes stretch denim, Prada patent open-toe heels, Macbook air, Hello Kitty iPhone 5s case on a chain, Hermes bracelet, Miu Chic Ring (socially good!), Vintage earrings