17 May 2011

Etsy Ireland Pop-Up Shop

The blank dusty canvas.
As most of you already know I've been really involved with the Etsy Ireland Team for the past 2 years. This weekend we set up our own pop up shop in Limerick. I initially came up with the idea of doing it here when I met up with one of the organisers of the Catherine Street Cultural Dig a few months ago. I passed the idea by him and he was pretty excited about it, so after I got official approval I set about getting things in motion. After a blog post and lots of emails parcels started arriving in the post...much to the bemusement of my postman. It was so much fun unpacking all the parcels, and seeing all the pieces in person. There is a huge difference between seeing the pieces in real life as opposed to seeing them online, there is always way more texture and detail in the pieces.

We were lucky enough to get a large space in Bourkes Bar in the heart of all the activity. The above space is an unused section of the Bar that the owners were good enough to clear out for us to use for the weekend. As you can see it was a rustic blank canvas so we spent 2 days putting together the 'shop'. I thought that getting a bold strong colour for the table clothes would help brighten the place up and also go towards tying all the elements together, to stop it from looking too higglety pigglety. Then contrasting the red with some bright green crepe paper to help cover up the cardboard display boxes that I used, I then used these colours in the poster design so that it all matched together, to give it that shabby chic shop feel. We were never going to get the space looking like a boutique so we worked with the rough edges and 'cuted' it up a bit.

After about a day working the space started to look like it was coming together.

Opening day Saturday morning.
After some last minute tweeks and table rearranging we opened our doors at 11am on Saturday morning, and with about 20 minutes we had our first customer, which is pretty amazing. From doing markets I know that you can stand for hours with lots of enthusiastic browsers and still not make a sale, so it's good to break the seal early to relieve that underlying stress. Saturday was a really busy day, so it was great the Rebecca from Lucky Rainbow Designs, Jess from Betty Octopus, Mollie and her son Elliot (friendliest kid ever, who helped out lots with getting customers into the shop!!)from Spleodar, and Helen from Stained Glass Fayre were there to take the selling in turns. We also ran free craft classes on the Saturday, Rebecca did a card making demo in the local craft shop Silkes, I did a sewing demo in the pop-up shop, and Kate from Feltfieltrofilc did a felting demo. Which meant the place was a buzz with activity.

Browsing customers.

There was great feedback from the punters and browsers alike, they were very excited to see a shop with all Irish handmade goods. They also loved the idea of the pop-up shop, feeling it was in the spirit of new recession Ireland. There was plenty of well wishers, most people taking business cards from the sellers if they weren't deciding to buy on the day. It was great that the festival was on as it meant that there were lots of arty creative types in the area who understand the work that goes into handmade.

All of us that were there manning the shop were really excited to be taking part, but as Sunday rolled around we started feeling pretty doom and gloom that it would all be taken down the next day. We had a little word with the organiser mooting the idea that we might ask to keep it open for a week, and she thought we should run it by the owner of the pub. Much to our surprise and AMAZING DELIGHT Niall was open to this suggestion, and then said that he wouldn't need the space for the next month!! So I'm delighted to announce that we have our own pop-up shop in the heart of Limerick city for the next month!!!!! And free of charge!! It was an amazingly nice gesture from Niall, I couldn't believe how easy it was, I nearly gave the man a hug even though I don't know him at all really. After many squeals, high fives and sporadic happy dances we started to think about the logistics of it.  All the local etsy members are going to take it in turns to man the shop, putting in voluntary hours whenever we can manage it. We are gonna open 3-4 days a week, with a few extra 'staff' on Saturdays to handle the extra footfall.

To see more pictures of the shop click here.
Also please visit our new facebook page for the pop-up shop, the more we can spread the news about this the better, so sharing,liking and linking would be greatly appreciated, especially from those sending items to the shop.

We also need to send a huge thank you to Michelle and Alison from Fondelifair who sponsored the event for us.

Our hero Niall, who has given us the space for a month!!


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