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Check Out These Six Eye-Popping Ways a Pop-Up Store or Collaboration Can Work for Your Business

Build word of mouth, network with other businesses, revitalize your staff and bag a few extra sales.

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IF YOU DO YOUR marketing correctly and get the product and the demographics right, pop-ups can reap you nice rewards. Having said that, keep in mind that while they may seem like an almost spur-of-the-moment thing — throw up a tent, set up a table in a corner of your optical or near the door of a partner business — they do require some preparation. But they can be a great — and fun! — way to create word of mouth, network with local businesses, reinvigorate your staff, build and share customer bases, and basically just put yourself on the map in your community. The following six vision businesses showed INVISION how it’s done.

Staff member Michael Mantz mans Huxley’s pop-up booth at Twin Cities Pride in Minneapolis.

Staff member Michael Mantz mans Huxley’s pop-up booth at Twin Cities Pride in Minneapolis.

Huxley Optical
Minnetonka, MN

Huxley Optical operations director Sophie Dolan’s connections at Minneapolis’ Star Tribune paid off recently in the form of an invite to set up a table at the paper’s cocktail hour and pop-up shop. It was one of the two or three pop-ups the optical business does every quarter. What began with a 5×7 table and sample frames has evolved into custom display tables and a tent stocked with stickers, cases, cleaning cloths and frame recommendation sheets. “We honestly don’t expect many sales,” says Dolan. “It’s more about getting our name out there, and that’s factored into our marketing budget. We use it as an opportunity to show off our blue light glasses and suns. If they want Rx glasses we send them off with a coupon and directions to our brick-and-mortar locations. It really drives traffic to our stores.”

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Check Out These Six Eye-Popping Ways a Pop-Up Store or Collaboration Can Work for Your Business

Check Out These Six Eye-Popping Ways a Pop-Up Store or Collaboration Can Work for Your Business

Specs by Kyla
Atascadero, CA

Pop-ups aren’t all about setting up a booth someplace. Sometimes it’s about putting out the welcome mat. Specs by Kyla periodically showcases local artists, jewelers and wineries as part of the local chamber’s “Art & Wine” walks. Ticket-buyers can taste wine or beer served by local labels and peruse the art collection — and Specs by Kyla’s frames. After going all out for the first few, purchasing appetizers and hiring help, owner Kyla Skinner has learned to simplify things, buying a bouquet of flowers and recruiting her husband and friends to serve drinks. “I clear off my surfaces and organize my shelves to make room for the art and that’s about it!” Skinner describes the response as “hugely successful” in terms of exposure, with 350-400 people typically coming through. “I usually make one or two sales those evenings but people circle back around to buy eyewear they fell in love with. I always collect contact info.” As a relatively new business it has been beneficial for Specs by Kyla simply to build awareness and social media buzz. “The other vendors have a following who suddenly become aware of my presence and when they need glasses, they’ll think of the new optical shop.”

A Minion lends a hand at Metro Optics’ pop-up screening room.

A Minion lends a hand at Metro Optics’ pop-up screening room.

Metro Optics
Bronx, NY

According to marketing and community relations manager Sara Bonizio, Metro Optics is “always looking for new ways to educate the public on the importance of eyecare.” These efforts kicked up a gear a while back when the practice purchased a mobile autorefraction tool and designed a pop-up screening room. Along with a printed screening result, patients leave with a giveaway “as an incentive to visit one of our four locations: a branded lens cleaning cloth packaged with a savings card toward any out-of-pocket costs. We also bring a laptop and secure Mi-Fi connection so we can sign up patients with no insurance for our Vision Club,” she says. And with a few Minions on hand to help out, kids are fully on board.

Ian Mcdonald (right) with his shortbread and (left) Jennifer Yerden’s new optical, Sights & Shades.

Ian Mcdonald (right) with his shortbread and (left) Jennifer Yerden’s new optical, Sights & Shades.

Sights and Shades
Canandaigua, NY

INVISION is always excited to bring word of a new business: Sights and Shades opened in June, and owner Jennifer Yerden already has plans for an event. Craftsman Ian Macdonald recently brought her a very unique thank you gift as a token of appreciation for hiring him as her “sign guy” — a paper-wrapped, homemade Scottish shortbread made from his grandmother’s recipe. Says Yerden: “Later on when he bought a few pairs from me, he mentioned he was selling it at a farmers market on Saturdays. I asked him, ‘Wanna do a pop-up store before the holidays in December?’ He is game! I am so excited to see how this works. I will set him up in front of the shop and put a sign outside.” Yerden says she and Macdonald mostly see this as a great networking opportunity. “We will cross-promote on as many social platforms as we can. I am not charging him or asking for anything but the publicity.” In a final drawcard, Yerden adds, “Being Scottish … he wears a kilt while he is selling his goods.” As it happens, the downtown business group is holding a “Tuba Christmas” event the same day. Tubas, kilts, shortbread and eyewear … How can you go wrong?

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Check Out These Six Eye-Popping Ways a Pop-Up Store or Collaboration Can Work for Your Business

Dr. Texas L. Smith & Associates
Citrus Heights, CA

Dr. Texas L. Smith is a veteran of the pop-up game. Years ago when Lasik was new, he contacted his Lasik surgeon about sharing a booth at a golf tournament. Smith would provide free samples of OptiFree CL solutions and the MD would answer any questions about the procedure. “Since CL solutions are specific to contact lens wearers, as is Lasik surgery, it was pretty direct marketing. I paid my staff for the three-day weekend and they got to meet some famous golfers.” He gave out lens cloths and his Alcon rep was on hand to supply golf tees and give away many cases of solutions. “This event was probably the most successful pop-up event I ever participated in,” recalls Smith, adding that it proved financially very worthwhile for both him and the surgeon. “Golfers are definitely high-end patients. I remember having potential patients three deep around our booth.”

Check Out These Six Eye-Popping Ways a Pop-Up Store or Collaboration Can Work for Your Business

Vision Trends by Dr. Scott Keating
Dover, OH

Dr. Scott Keating was casting around for ideas on how to boost his Facebook following a while back, and the local day spa/beauty parlor popped into his head. “This business had a good following … [and] was known for great service.” He was also thinking of their particularly attractive welcome area. He suggested a Christmas promotion to build their respective FB followings, they agreed, and before long their reception was draped in Tiffany sunglasses popping with crystals. “I placed an official Tiffany bag and case around the sunglasses and included business cards, cloth cleaners and solution bottles with our logo on them.” The spa placed something similar in Keating’s office. Those who liked and followed Vision Trends’ Facebook page were entered into a draw to win the sunglasses. “We went from 80 followers to well over 900 in the short December drawing. This gave us a great start with our new FB page and the clientele fit our model.”

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