How Internet-Based Black-Owned Businesses Benefit from Pop-Up Shops

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(Valerie Wray and Joy Fennell, 125 Collection)

It’s a fairly new marketing trend that’s catching on–the pop up shop. All kinds of businesses are getting into the “pop up” game. There are even pop up hotels on the horizon. The concept of setting up shop in a temporary location for a short period of time is especially advantageous for online entrepreneurs.

Recently the 125th Collection, an online lifestyle candle brand founded by Valerie Wray and Joy Fennel popped up at Peace & Riot, a home decor and interior design boutique in Brooklyn. Wray and Fennel, who both live in Harlem, founded the company three years ago tapping into an audience eager for stylish items that also serve to uplift and empower.

Speaking during the two-hour pop up event, Wray explained that pop ups are important because retailers are only able to carry a limited amount of products. “Peace & Riot is a retailer of ours,” said Wray. “So we have our product in the store, but she doesn’t carry our entire line. We came in today to be featured and share more of our line with her customers.”

Achuziam Maha-Sanchez who co-owns Peace & Riot with husband Lionel Sanchez said her retail space is growing, and the store has to be able to bring in as much product as possible. “Pop ups give me a chance to showcase someone who is local,” she said. “They get feedback from the customers coming through that day. It also gives me feedback and let’s me know what are the really good sellers so when I post an order with them I know exactly what I need to order.”

Pop ups give me a chance to showcase someone who is local

On the 125 Collection website, visitors can choose from a variety of quotes divided into three sections– sweet, spicy and spirit. The quotes are designed to be personal mantras like “Good Vibes Only” or “Great Things Never Come from Comfort Zones.” The customer chooses a quote that speaks to them, then matches the quote with a scent. Custom candles are also an option where you provide the wording. All of the candles are soy based.

With about 30 minutes left until the end of the pop up event most of the candles the duo brought with them were sold. “The feedback has been overwhelmingly positive,” Fennel said. “We’ve been floored by the response. It’s amazing.”

Fennel explained that people enjoy candles partly because of the versatility. They can be soothing and relaxing or inspiring and motivational. She said lighting a candle creates a spa like experience that ”allows you to calm down and unwind, or turn up” whatever the case may be.