Manal Waqi is by now a seasoned Popup organizer. Today she is going to share with us all you need to know about how to organize a popup, what works, what doesn´t, how to come up with a concept and what the process is like.
Hit Play to listen to Manal´s interview.
ABOUT MANAL WAQI
I met Manal a few years back as we started our editorial projects more or less at the same time. From the very beginning, I admired her determination and drive. She is always on the go. Her mind always thinking about what can be done next. And she is not alone… Her entire family is amazing and supports each other beautifully. Her online magazine is called The Amanqi Edit. You can check it out. I recommend it very much.
The Amanqi Edit´s focus is writing about the creative minds in the region, sharing their stories, putting them out there to be seen. Eventually Manal wanted to assist further by creating sales opportunities for those same designers she was helping promote. And so, she started organizing the popups.
HOW TO ORGANIZE A POPUP
Of course, everyone might have a different approach but Manal Waqi shared with us how she does it and how it works for her.
TIME IS OF THE ESSENCE
Manal popups take around 6 weeks to get organized. The months that worked better for her so far have been March and December. All this came with experimentation. Initially, they were just looking for convenient dates until one of their popups clashed with an Art Fair. Eventually, they made it work having a partnership with them.
Now she advises being more strategic, making sure there is not “too much” going on. Dubai is hectic and busy with many events, many of them being popups. Try to avoid saturated dates if possible.
Manal always organizes the Popups from Thursday to Saturday. Three days are the magic number here. One day popups are not enough and month-long popups don’t have the sense of urgency and end up being forgotten.
PROCESSES RUN IN PARALLEL
In the case of Manal popups, there is not any particular order. All has to be done and it gets tweaked if needed along the development of the event. To have a successful popup you will need to have:
- A good venue
- A concept
As they already have experience and have developed good relationships with some venues and designers, there are certain things that it is easier for them.
Manal events are normally at the Culinary Boutique or at Society Cafe. Both in Jumeirah and really nice cafes with beautiful spaces and a cozy atmosphere. The popups of Manal are nicely decorated and don’t have booths or stalls that might stop the flow within the space. The idea is to make you feel like you are in a stylish boutique with easy access to everything and where you can mix and match clothes and accessories at leisure even if they belong to different brands.
She has also done Popups in London and Geneva and is considering adding Paris to the list. Europe is very different but they are hungry for the new. Middle Eastern designers bring a very interesting and fresh approach to fashion that is very well received.
Designers come to Manal interested in the next Popup or she selects some of the designers she knows already. But she is open to having newcomers. Please feel free to send her an email and show your interest.
You can play with different themes but it is important that all is coherent with the designers and product offering. It has to be suitable for the brands as otherwise, they won’t be joining for other popups. Some concepts are easier to develop like The Jewelry PopUp or the Ramadan Popup. Others require more creative work.
PROS AND CONS FOR DESIGNERS
The only con might be the price but Manal tries to accommodate small designers with small budgets. The participation fee for her pop-ups is 800 USD for RTW and 500USD for accessories.
It has a lot of benefits for designers though, especially when starting. The most important one -even if underestimated- is that you get to know your customer. You get to see their reaction and ask what they like and what they don´t. On top of that, you get some sales and create awareness about your brand. The popups are marketed to press and buyers, so your next big contract might be starting at a popup. Of course, there is no guarantee of any of this happening. But you can rest assured, the team behind The Amanqi Edit tries their best and pushes as much as they can.
THE FUTURE OF POPUPS
Popups will evolve into more sophisticated venues with added activities besides the shopping. Playing with the sensory elements, the experiential factor, the immersive experiences, gamification … all this that millennials love and I love too!
Now sit and relax and enjoy this podcast with Manal Waqi and learn how to organize a popup!
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