Jack & Ella Paper Hosts a Pop-Up Shop with Madewell

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At TSBC we love hearing success stories from our alumni and getting behind the scenes looks at fun collaborations and unique experiences.  Today Jessica Bates, founder of Jack + Ella Paper is here with us to share her amazing story about hosting a Madewell pop-up shop.  Jack + Ella is an eco-concious stationery brand based in Wisconsin, and Jessica is sharing her experience collaborating with a local branch of Madewell.  Jessica shares how the event came to be, as well as all the details required by both the local and corporate Madewell offices in order to participate. Read on to learn Jessica’s main takeaways from the event, and to see photos of her beautiful display.

Hosting a Pop-Up Shop with Madewell

I recently co-hosted an event at a local Madewell store, otherwise known as a ‘pop-up shop’ and wanted to share the experience. It seems as though local pop-ups are a regular thing in my Instagram feed lately. West Elm and Madewell in particular. In my opinion it gives these national chain retailers a ‘local supportive vibe’ and they seem to be well received.

In my case, I was approached by the store to participate. {Long story} When I was at a local Apple store, a woman came up to me and asked me if I knew that a Madewell was opening over the summer (sounds odd, but I was dressed head-to-toe in Madewell…it’s one of my favorite brands). Turns out that she was in town hiring/interviewing for the new store. After she asked if I was interested in working there, I politely declined. She then asked if I’d be interested in just helping to open the store. Given a 2 week employee discount, I said absolutely.

When exchanging emails with the hiring details, she visited my shop website (from the link on my email signature) and at that point mentioned the possibility of doing a pop up event after the store opened.

Fast forward to the opening, the store managers I worked with were a fabulous bunch of women and the atmosphere was upbeat and fun. They persuaded me to stay on staff for a monthly shift for rolling out new product.

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I worked with the store’s Event Coordinator to narrow down the details for the pop up. It is necessary for her to send corporate all the details of the event for approval.

These details included:

  • My website/blog info/bio

  • Pictures of product that I would have at the event

  • My social media handles, as well as the number of followers I have…at the time, my IG were under 1,000. I’m certain they would prefer an impressive amount of followers in order to help promote the event, but it was nice to know that my low numbers didn’t seem to matter.  

  • An anticipated number of guests and event revenue volume, along with budget for the evening. This particular store does a nice job of utilizing local bakeries and such for the eats (mini pie bites!).

  • Date & time (late November)

  • Promo info for guests (typically 20% off $125+)

  • Invite count (top 150 + new clients plus social media posts)

  • Theme for the event. In my case, the event emphasized a new holiday collection for the store and my holiday cards were to inspire shoppers to get a jump start on family holiday photos with flannels & sweaters from the new collection.

Madewell gave me the option to have a ‘closed or open’ event. A closed event would be an invite-only evening (these can be held when the store is opened or closed) and guests are offered a discount on their Madewell purchase. The other option is to open it to the public. Personally, I wanted as many people to come as possible and we went the public route.

The Event Coordinator takes care of all the organizing, corporate approvals, menu and invitations. The store encourages you to spread the information for the event heavily on your social media accounts and they do the same. The mall that the store is located at also did a nice job of promoting it.  Here’s a copy of the event invite that was distributed:

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I was responsible for bringing in my product, having a portable payment system (I used a free app that works with Stripe, my website credit card processor, with no issues), and setting up the display. This particular store had perfect displays for my products that they let me use. This helped tremendously as it was less to haul in and out for set up. I also made giveaway items to hand out that evening. The store didn’t request it, but I’ve seen some pretty impressive giveaway items done before and think it adds a nice touch. Being the holiday season, I made sets of gift tags.

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The event was successful. The store met their anticipated event volume (they mentioned it made more than any event yet for the store! to date!). It was a Thursday evening and I was hoping the turnout wouldn’t be a disappointment. The traffic ended up being steady throughout the night and never overwhelming. If I were to do it again, I may prefer a weekend with a little more foot traffic. While I did see a lot of familiar faces come in, I did have several transactions from new customers and sold more than I anticipated. I also had the mall events coordinator inquire about doing a show early next year.

The main takeaway from my experience is that these stores are actually seeking out local makers and bloggers to participate in these events. Rather than turning people away, this particular store is trying to host two of these type of events each month and is searching out creatives through Instagram and other channels to find them. If this is something that you thought may have been out of reach, think again and it’s great publicity for a small business!

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Thanks so much for sharing, Jessica!


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Connect with Katie Hunt

Katie Hunt is a business strategist, podcaster, mentor and mama to four. She helps product based businesses build profitable, sustainable companies through her conferences, courses and coaching programs.

Website: prooftoproduct.com  |   Instagram: @prooftoproduct


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