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Easy 6-Step Guide: How to Start a Clothing Pop-Up Shop?

Profile picture of Nedina Gjorgjieva
Nedina Gjorgjieva
20th June, 2024
12 minutes

Pop-up stores are becoming really popular in the fashion retail industry. Both big brands and small businesses are joining in on this trend. 

People are loving them because they offer something new and thrilling. Customers get to know a brand in a special way, often with exclusive items or special offers.

According to IBIS World, in the US alone, over 40,000 pop-up stores have been opened, a number that has had a steady growth in the last 5 years.

That being said, starting a clothing pop-up store can offer a great business opportunity. 

It's an amazing method to test new fashion lines, create buzz around your brand, and connect with customers.

Today, we’ll walk you through step-by-step how you can create a clothing pop-up shop all by yourself.

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What is a pop-up shop?

Pop-up shops are temporary stores that offer businesses an opportunity to sell products without the long-term commitment of a traditional store lease. 

Pop-up shops are a great way to experiment with new products as well as create excitement and urgency around your brand, and gather feedback from customers.

Types of pop-up shops

Exploring the different types of pop-up stores can help you find the best fit for your clothing brand. 

Let’s dive into some popular categories:

  • Event pop-up shops: These are tied to specific events like festivals, concerts, or fashion shows. They’re great for targeting fans and attendees who are already excited about the event, making them more likely to indulge in themed apparel.
  • Seasonal pop-up shops: Perfect for capitalizing on holiday shopping, seasonal pop-ups cater to the consumer’s current needs and can significantly boost sales with timely offers.
  • Location-based pop-up shops: Whether it’s a bustling street corner in the city or a cozy spot inside a mall, location-based pop-ups attract passersby with the allure of limited-time offers and exclusive items.
  • Virtual pop-up shops: The virtual pop-up stores bring the pop-up experience online. They’re great if you want to reach a broader audience without the physical constraints of a traditional store.

How much does it cost to set up a pop-up?

Pop-up shops can be a flexible and relatively cost-effective way to expand your reach, test new markets, or enhance your brand’s presence, with costs as low as a few thousand dollars to tens of thousands for more premium, high-impact setups.

The cost can vary widely, depending on several factors like location, duration, and design complexity

Here’s a breakdown to give you a clearer picture:

  • Location costs: Renting space in a high-traffic area like a city center or popular mall can be expensive, with prices ranging from a few hundred to several thousand dollars per day. Meanwhile, partnering with another business or choosing a less central location can significantly cut costs. Also, short-term leases for a couple of weeks might be cheaper, but longer stints could offer better rates.
  • Setup and design costs: The visual appeal of your pop-up is crucial. Basic setups with minimal decoration might only require a small investment, perhaps a few hundred dollars. However, more elaborate designs featuring custom displays, lighting, and branded elements can run a little bit more expensive.
  • Operational costs: These include utilities, WiFi, and staffing. Depending on the length of your pop-up, these could add up, especially if you’re hiring additional help or need special equipment.
  • Marketing costs: Promoting your store is essential to its success. Budget for social media ads, flyers, or even local partnerships to get the word out. Costs can range from minimal (if you’re leveraging existing channels and marketing tools) to more substantial sums if you’re aiming for a wide-reaching campaign.
  • Miscellaneous costs: Don’t forget to factor in insurance, permits, and unexpected expenses, which can vary by location and the nature of your products.

How to set up a clothing pop-up shop?

Here’s how to easily set up your clothing pop-up store within 6 steps:

1. Find a profitable niche market

When setting up a clothing pop-up shop, zeroing in on a profitable clothing niche market is a key step toward success. 

This approach allows you to cater to specific customer interests and establish a strong brand identity. 

Here are some effective ways to conduct market research:

Keep up with the fashion trends

Staying current with fashion trends and consumer behavior is crucial. You can leverage fashion forecasting tools like Google Trends and websites like WGSN or Fashion Snoops to get insights into up-and-coming trends. 

For example, if you notice a surge in demand for athleisure-inspired by celebrity fashion lines, this could be a lucrative niche for your pop-up shop.

Watch your competitors

Analyzing what similar stores are doing can provide valuable lessons. Visit other pop-up shops, browse their online presence, and study their product offerings and customer engagement strategies. 

Note what works well but also pay attention to their shortcomings. Perhaps you’ve noticed that many lack a specific style of luxury streetwear that’s gaining traction on platforms like Instagram. 

By filling this gap, your pop-up shop can stand out.

Collect customer data

Engaging directly with potential customers can yield actionable insights. Deploy online surveys via email or set up polls on social media platforms.

Apps with fashion-forward audiences like TikTok and Instagram can also be used to observe which posts about fashion styles or products receive the most engagement, indicating potential customer interest.

2. Source a reliable clothing supplier

Choosing the right clothing supplier is the next step in setting up your pop-up store. The quality and style of your products directly impact your brand’s reputation and customer satisfaction. 

Here’s how you can ensure you select the best supplier for your needs:

Product range and quality

A supplier with a wide and varied product range as well as high-quality merchandise can provide more options to cater to diverse customer preferences. Look for suppliers who offer a broad selection of styles that align with current fashion trends and your specific pop-up theme. 

This versatility can help you attract a broader audience and enable you to test different markets without committing to a large inventory.


Competitive pricing is essential to ensure that you can mark up the products sufficiently to make a profit while still being attractive to customers. Evaluate the supplier’s pricing structures and compare them with others in the market. 

Remember, the cheapest option isn’t always the best if it compromises on quality. Find a balance between cost, quality, and potential sale price.


A reliable supplier delivers products on time and maintains consistent stock levels. 

Delayed deliveries can disrupt your business operations and disappoint customers, which is particularly critical for a time-sensitive pop-up store. 

Check the supplier’s track record for fulfilling orders on time and their ability to communicate effectively about any potential delays.


Research online reviews, and testimonials, and perhaps even seek out other businesses that have worked with them. 

A supplier with a solid reputation is likely to be a more reliable partner and can contribute to your store’s credibility.

Return Policy

Understand the supplier’s return policy thoroughly. 

A flexible return policy can protect you from potential losses associated with defective merchandise or unsold stock. 

Ensure that the terms and conditions of returns are clear and reasonable, which can also help manage your inventory more effectively.

Customer support

A supplier that provides excellent customer support can significantly ease the operational stress of managing a pop-up store. 

Ensure they are responsive and helpful, as this will be critical in resolving any issues quickly and efficiently.

3. Choose a good location 

When it comes to choosing an event space for your clothing pop-up store, location is everything

Here are the key factors to consider to find the perfect spot::

Foot traffic

The amount of foot traffic an area receives is perhaps the most crucial factor. 

High-traffic areas such as busy streets, shopping malls, or nearby popular restaurants and other retail stores can increase the number of potential customers who drop by your pop-up. 

Spend some time observing the flow of people at different times of the day and days of the week to gauge potential customer volume.

Target audience

Align the location with your target demographic. For example, if your clothing line is aimed at professionals, setting up near office buildings or in urban centers can be advantageous. 

Alternatively, if your brand is more youth-oriented, consider areas near colleges, universities, or entertainment districts that attract a younger crowd.


Your pop-up should be easily accessible to both pedestrians and motorists. Look for locations that are easy to find and reach, ideally with good public transport links and parking facilities. 

Accessibility increases the likelihood that people will stop by, especially if they make a spontaneous decision to visit your store.


A good location should also offer high visibility. 

Corner spots at intersections, spaces with large storefronts, or areas within a shopping center directly in the line of sight from the main entrance can grab attention effectively. 


Consider the competition in the area. Being near similar businesses can have benefits, such as attracting customers who are already interested in fashion. 

However, too much competition can also dilute your market. Balance between being near complementary businesses while ensuring your pop-up shop stands out.


Budget constraints are also a significant factor. Prime locations come at a premium, so it’s essential to balance the potential benefits of a perfect spot with the cost. 

Calculate the expected return on investment (ROI) based on estimated foot traffic and sales potential to determine if a pricier location is worth it.


Since pop-ups are temporary, the terms of the lease or rent should be flexible. 

Look for spaces that allow short-term leases or friendly terms. Some locations might even offer pop-up specific deals which could be more economical and less risky.

4. Take care of the legal aspects

Starting a clothing pop-up store involves more than just creative and operational challenges; it’s also essential to handle the legal aspects diligently to ensure your business operates without hitches. 

Here’s a deeper look into the key legal considerations you should manage:

Business registration

First and foremost, determine the legal structure of your business—whether it’s a sole proprietorship, partnership, LLC, or corporation. 

This decision affects your liability and tax obligations. Register your business with the appropriate local or state authorities to ensure you’re recognized legally and can conduct business under your chosen name.


Don’t skip on checking out the types of selling permits you might need.

This could include a general business license, a sales permit for collecting sales tax, or special permits for selling certain types of goods. 


Securing the right insurance coverage is crucial. At a minimum, you’ll want general liability insurance to protect against potential claims of bodily injury or property damage. 

If you’re hiring employees, you’ll also need workers’ compensation insurance. Depending on the value of your inventory, you might consider additional coverage for theft or damage.

Lease agreements

If you’re renting space, carefully review the lease agreement. Understand the terms and conditions, including the duration of the lease, payment terms, and any restrictions imposed by the landlord.

Employment laws

If you plan to hire staff for your pop-up store, familiarize yourself with employment laws related to wages, hours, employment eligibility, and anti-discrimination policies. 

Ensure you maintain proper employee records and fulfill all employer responsibilities.

Intellectual property

Protect any unique aspects of your brand, such as logos, designs, and creative content, through appropriate intellectual property rights like trademarks. 

5. Design your shop’s layout

Creating an immersive environment through cohesive design elements is essential for a successful clothing pop-up store. 

Here’s how you can optimize the design of your space to enhance customer experience and sales:

Strategic product placement

Begin by deciding the placement of your key products. 

Position high-demand items and new arrivals at eye level and near the entrance to catch the attention of passersby. 

Thematic zones

Divide your store into distinct zones based on product categories or themes. 

For instance, you could have a dedicated area for women’s apparel, another for men’s, and a separate section for fashion accessories and footwear. 

On the other hand, you can also thematize based on seasons; if you’re selling summer clothes, incorporate beach vibes with sand and surfboards.

This segmentation helps customers quickly find what they’re looking for and can encourage them to discover complementary items.

Interactive elements

Incorporate interactive elements such as a try-on area with mirrors or digital displays that provide styling tips or product information. 

These features can enhance the shopping experience and engage customers more deeply with your brand.

Lighting and decor

Good lighting is crucial not only for highlighting your products but also for setting the right mood. 

Use a mix of ambient, task, and accent lighting to create a welcoming atmosphere. 

Decor should reflect your brand’s aesthetic and can include elements like art pieces, rugs, or furniture that align with your store’s style.


Effective signage guides customers and communicates your brand message. 

Use clear, eye-catching signs to label different areas of the store and provide information about prices or special offers. 

This helps to orient customers quickly and enhances their shopping experience.

Window displays

Your window display is the first point of interaction with potential customers. 

Make it impactful by using creative displays that showcase your best products or a thematic arrangement that tells a story. 

For instance, setting up a beach-themed window display with summer attire and accessories can draw in customers looking for holiday outfits.

6. Build a buzz around your clothing pop-up store

Creating buzz before your pop-up store even opens is crucial. 

The pre-opening phase sets the stage for a successful launch and ensures a steady stream of visitors from day one. Here are some key marketing strategies to get you started:

Pre-launch hype

  • Social media: Use Instagram, Facebook, TikTok, and Twitter to announce the opening of your clothing pop-up shop. Share engaging posts that display sneak peeks of your clothing line, behind-the-scenes setup shots, and countdowns.
  • Email marketing: Start collecting emails well before the launch. Send out teaser emails with exciting updates about what customers can expect.
  • Local influencers: Collaborate with local fashion influencers to promote your pop-up store. Have them preview your collection and share their thoughts on social media. You could even invite them to the opening event for live coverage.

Launch day hype

  • Grand opening event: Host a grand opening event with music and refreshments.
  • Live social media coverage: Stream live updates on social media platforms throughout the day. Share customer reactions and showcase popular items. 
  • Limited-time offers: Launch with special promotions like “Opening Day Discounts” or “First 50 Customers Get a Gift.” 

Post-launch hype

  • Customer testimonials: Capture testimonials from satisfied customers to share on social media and your website.
  • Regular updates: Keep followers updated with regular posts on social media as well as email newsletters showcasing new arrivals, restocks, and upcoming events.

Opening a clothing pop-up shop with BrandsGateway

BrandsGateway offers an accessible path to launch your own clothing pop-up shop through wholesale or dropshipping.

clothing pop-up shop

Whether you’re planning to open a physical store or keep to the online selling, BrandsGateway ensures access to:

  • A diverse catalog of over 20,000 products from more than 100 renowned brands including Dolce & Gabbana, Gucci, Jimmy Choo, Jacquemus, Prada, Michale Kors, Roberto Cavalli, Bottega Veneta, Swarovski, and many others.
  • An extensive range of luxury product categories, enabling you to tailor your inventory to include clothing, shoes, bags, jewelry, and more.
  • Dropshipping partners benefit from no minimum order requirements, while wholesale transactions require a manageable minimum purchase of €1000/$1200.
  • The dropshipping setup features seamless integration with major eCommerce platforms such as Shopify, BigCommerce, Wix, Shift4Shop, and WooCommerce.
  • A flexible return policy, allowing 7 days for wholesale returns and 14 days for dropshipping returns.
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Key takeaways for your clothing pop-up shop 

Whether you want to test the waters of the retail world, expand your brand’s reach, or simply connect more directly with your customers, pop-ups offer a unique opportunity to explore all of that. 

The key to a successful pop-up is in the planning—choose your location wisely, design a captivating space, manage your inventory smartly, and promote vigorously

With these elements in place, your pop-up shop can not only meet but exceed your business objectives, providing valuable insights and potentially lucrative returns. 


Yes, pop-up stores can be quite profitable. They offer a low-cost way to test markets, products, and consumer reactions without long-term commitment. 

Starting a pop-up shop as a beginner involves a few key steps:

    1. Define your goals: Understand what you want to achieve, whether it’s brand exposure, sales, or market testing.

    1. Choose the right location: Select a spot where your target customers frequently visit.

    1. Design your space: Create an inviting and thematic setup that attracts attention.

    1. Stock up on products: Prepare enough inventory but don’t overstock; tailor your selection to the pop-up’s theme and duration.

    1. Promote: Use social media, local advertising, and word of mouth to draw in visitors.

The number of items at your pop-up shop should be enough to offer variety but not so much that it overwhelms the space or leaves you with a large overstock. 

While you can set up a pop-up shop in many locations, it’s important to check local regulations and obtain necessary permits. 

Popular spots include malls, busy street corners, event spaces, or inside existing stores.

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