Learnings from a pop up shop, display & design

I mentioned on my facebook page that I would do a blog post on my learnings after running my second pop up shop this summer...so here goes. This time round, I had a little under 5 weeks notice that the space was available. This was so much more notice than I had last year so it both gave me the luxury of time to plan, source props, make enough new jewellery, design displays etc. It was fantastic to have the time to do it exactly as I would like it to be, my pinterest-ing went into overdrive, my daydreaming distracting but I needed to make it me, to make it right.

It was terrifying!

What if I failed? I couldn't say I didn't have enough time to plan it through....dammit!

Three blank walls, personality-less. Nothing could be attached to the walls, ditto the outside of the shop. Everything had to be either freestanding or I had to be inventive in how I hung/mounted on the walls.

My great friend Corey stepped in to help me brainstorm and a funny trip to her house saw me leave with the boot of the car filled with antique books, a 1700s parasol, an 1800s birdcage, antique sheets and textiles. She really helped me out, her incredible eye and years of collecting allowed me to go 'shopping' in the ultimate brocante.

I picked up these incredible antique wallpapers that you see in the two photograph above. My idea was to create two zones, a classical (black/gold/silver) collection and another more vibrant, jewel-toned area. When I saw these wallpapers I knew this was it. I hung them from vintage clothes hangers.

I scattered props throughout including original boxes of notions, antique boxes.

How incredible is this antique suitcase filled with antique books reversed to expose their timeworn pages. I used it to both create a nook/corner on one of the spaces and to hang necklaces from the pages. I loved how it looked but I think the jewellery disappeared into the books so from a sales pov it didn't quite work.

Coreys 1800s leather books, I loved these and really wanted to incorporate them. One of the things I learnt from last years pop up shop was how essential it was to create 'spaces' and height to display. These books did just that. They created a unique space for my cuff collection. I played with layering, spines and pages to add texture.

As you can see in the background I hung a piece of beautiful antique gold fabric, it is so beautiful and I had been dying to use it somehow, so it became a backdrop to my cuffs....lots of metal pegs and transparent fishing wire.


I also layered antique photographs, creating an altar to gorgeous goddesses. Each photograph was hung with an antique candle holder clip (turned back to front). Thanks Corey for the photograph!

This was the most interesting display for so many reasons. I had dreamed about creating these 'story' frames for my more precious pieces. As each creation had been made from different memories, a buckle found at a brocante, a button found at the bottom of my grandmothers button tin, a piece of gold cord that had been wrapped for 60 years by my husbands great grandfather. I started to think of the different memories each piece must hold, who had worn it, what it had meant to them and how they had all found me.

I wanted to create stories around each piece so I brought together old family photographs, letters, newspaper cuttings etc and created frames for each piece. I created the 'frames from the lids of black Ikea boxes, they were just the right depth and super light. Then I created hooks and small handles from this amazing stuff called Sugru, it is a self setting rubber and I loved playing with it. It held all of my pieces from a tiny hook which was super impressive.


Everyone loved them, they were often the first pieces people would gravitate to when they enterered the space but I did not sell anything in these frames for at least 2 weeks. Someone casually asked could they touch a piece one day and I realised that everyone that came in assumed that they were art pieces, not jewellery to be worn but installations, frame and everything. The minute I realised this I ensured anyone looking knew they could take the pieces down, to try them on, to touch them and enjoy them. Sure enough when I started communicating this - I sold this work. I felt so stupid for not seeing the barrier before, it was a big learning. It may look beautiful but if it is inaccessible then it not working.

For the earring display, as I wanted to use the wall space as well as the table space, I created this piece using an old cutting from 'Le Petit Echo de Mode' from 1901 and then layered a hand embroidered floral applique from which I hung several earrings. I loved how this looked....alas if I'm being 100% honest I don't know how customer-friendly it was.

I love this gorgeous blue mannequin. She really brightened up this corner and added depth and texture to the space.

I fell in love with these antique postcard books that Corey lent me and won't be giving them back. They are an early Christmas present to myself. Each book has exquisite marbled paper covers.

Lastly - let's talk about the outside....What to do, what to do... I couldn't attach anything at all!

I initially flirted with the idea of hanging spools and creating an installation in the window or indeed painting a motif on the window but then I realised it would make the space even darker than it was already. So I made a free hanging sequined glamtastic sign spelling 'Ruban' the french for ribbon and I hung it from a door hanger (thanks ikea) so it was 100% detachable. I also then created some movement outside by hanging gold ribbons from the branches of a Tilleuil tree.   I also used some of the incredible antique textiles that Corey lent me to create a  brocante like feel to the outdoor 'space'. It couldn't be permanent and it had to be moveable (as I had to bring everything in / set it up again, three times a day)

In week two, I went a bit 'Les Parapluies de Cherbourg' on it and decided that there was something missing from the outside so I suspended Coreys beautiful 1700s umbrella from the tilleil tree, it hung floating in the air from an invisible thread....so beautiful, and I spent many an afternoon looking up at it.

Thanks to Corey Amaro for images and your beautiful props and to the wonderful photographer Lauren V Allen who took a lot of the images you see here. You can read their features on my pop up by clicking on the links!