Pop Up Shops

Pop Up – the very term indicates something has appeared from apparently nowhere, and will be gone soon.  The idea of Pop Up Shops arose in Los Angeles way back in 1999 as a quick test market of a concept – would consumers line up and actually buy a specific high end item from a niche market shop?  Would the niche shop actually be solvent?  Pop up, or renting a shop space for a small amount of time spread to New York City in the early 2000s and now they have found their way to almost every major city in the Western World.

Pop Ups have up sides:

  • They fill an otherwise empty space, providing the owner with rent, and the renter with space to fill
  • The shop allows for that test market of a neighborhood to see if it would actually bear the kind of traffic and spending needed to sustain the business if it were to be permanent.
  • Gets new ideas, concepts, products out there with a limited run
  • In many cases the pop up is a consortium of multiple makers/artists – this creates a small community of shop keepers for a short time

Pop Ups have a down side:

  • The length of time in a location is very limited
  • As a customer, if you like a product sold in the pop up you have to search for the maker to buy it elsewhere when the shop is done.
  • The space returns to vacant after the pop up.


As artists/makers we have been involved with a number of pop ups over the years.  But it is my first that I will remember the best.  A woman names Nicole McGee is committed to the upcycle movement in Cleveland, and was so engaged that she started the first pop up known in town three years ago.   Her concept was simple.. gather together 20-30 local artists who utilize materials that are reclaimed from a previous existence  and now have new purpose.  The pop up was called Collective Upcycle, a catchy name that captured the spirit of each of the products, and the artists represented.  She contacted me because i was making reblooming bags…. bags made from plastic grocery bags that had been turned into yarn (Plastic Yarn, aka PLARN) then crochet into small handbags, totes, backpacks and market bags.    The shop was also a vehicle for an opening party to meet and greet the other artists, along with a series of small classes, meet and greets and informational times.  Such fun.  Each of the artists had to donate time working the shop (cut out the labor cost of running a shop).  We did great at that shop in 2011, and have tried to be a part of her endeavors whenever we have been able to do so.

And since then we have found a niche in a number of pop up shops, selling not just the upcycled ReBlooming Bags, but our wonderful soap products, silks, and wire.

This might be a time to point out a tab on this blog which was updated to reflect the pop ups we are a part of this year.  The Pop Up Shop tab is under “About” and it is the last one on the drop down list.  There a re some really lovely ones this year that we want you to know about.

The coppertop building, and a view to downtown Cleveland from the St Clair Superior Neighborhood
The coppertop building, and a view to downtown Cleveland from the St Clair Superior Neighborhood

Collective Upcycle – This year the traveling pop up is making the E65 and Superior neighborhood home.  Housed in what is known as the Coppertop building (pictured above), a lovely old world charming storefront, the pop up should roar to life by the end of November.  We are awaiting dates and times for everything and will update them on the blog.  While her primary emphasis is on repurposed items made into new and functional things, we are able to bring our soap, shave kits and scrubs to her shop.

Cleveland Gift Box Pop Up – We are very excited to have been asked by the Downtown Alliance (Cleveland) to participate in their Cleveland Gift Box Pop Up on the Saturday after Thanksgiving.  This is all part of the elaborate plans for Winterfest 2013.  They want to show off their latest renovation gem – the 5th street arcade (photo above).  If you are a long time Clevelander you will know this as the Colonial and Euclid Arcades, which run between Prospect and Euclid Avenue at East 5th.  Care and historic sensitivity have been evident in their meticulous restoration.  The moldings, the arches, the marble… all reminders of the glorious history of the roaring 1920s.  But the stores are new, and fresh, and exciting.  And for that one day the arcades will fill with local artists.

Art House is located at 3119 Denison Ave,  just west of the intersection of Denison and W 25 Street in Cleveland
Art House is located at 3119 Denison Ave, just west of the intersection of Denison and W 25 Street in Cleveland

The Short and Sweet Pop Up Shop – The second annual event for Art House, a west side of Cleveland art education and not for profit art center in the Brooklyn Center neighborhood just north of the Zoo.  We love this endeavor, knowing that a portion of the proceeds go to continue the amazing work of Art House.  20-25 local artists will be gathering their wares for two shopping weekends at Art House.  They are Friday 12/6, Saturday 12/7 Sunday 12/8 and then again the next weekend.  See our pop up tab for more information.

We have several other pop up events in process of negotiation… updates when we have more information.  But if you are looking for some lovely handcrafted gifts for the holidays consider these pop up shops.  and check our Pop Up tab frequently for updates.

In preparation the elves of Images in Bloom are carefully preparing our goodness, wrapping soap, labeling the scrubs, shrink wrapping the shave kits, and finishing the processing of the silk.  We are getting ready… hope to see you at one of these shops.

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