Discover the secret world of pop-up shops and how they can skyrocket your business. Join our guest, Allison Yee, the fearless risk-taker who loves creating solutions that provide sustainable growth opportunities for serious entrepreneurs. After spending years climbing the corporate ladder in retail, she took the bold step to establish Up Next. The venture serves as a springboard for emerging businesses, providing them with a rare chance to launch lucrative pop-up shops in premium locations. As the CEO and founder, Allison’s innovative approach has been instrumental in fostering the growth and success for countless brands.
I absolutely loved working hand in hand with these entrepreneurs and building something really unique and helping them get the word out into the market. – Allison Yee
Locating and Leasing Suitable Exposure Spaces
The location and lease terms of a pop-up shop play a significant role in the success of the venture. Having the right space that’s affordable, easily accessible, and visible to the target market can be decisive in a brand’s exposure. Through her company, Up Next, Allison Yee helps entrepreneurs navigate this process, even assisting in securing affordable lease rates and offering guidance through educational tools like the Pop-Up Playbook.
Power of Collaboration in Pop-Up Experiences
Effective collaboration is crucial in maximizing the success of pop-up shop experiences. By partnering with one or two brands that complement their offerings, entrepreneurs can share costs, logistics, and even clientele. As Allison Yee points out, this cooperative approach can aid in efficient space utilization, foster mutual growth, and create a cohesive consumer experience.
Untapped Potential of Pop-Up Shops
Pop-up shops present a vast untapped potential for small brands and budding entrepreneurs. These temporary retail spaces give brands an opportunity to test the potential success of their products or services in a brick-and-mortar setting, without the risk and commitment of a permanent lease. Allison Yee vividly illustrates this by explaining how her company, Up Next, helps such brands make use of strategic pop-up spots to conduct real-time market tests and gather invaluable consumer feedback.
Connect with your host:
I would love to hear how this helped you! Comment on this episode’s Instagram post and share how this inspired you. If you have any other tips or ideas leave a comment under the post for this episode on our Instagram page @quotablemediaco or shoot me a DM. You can also connect with us at our Quotable Magazine Instagram account @quotablemagazine. For any show ideas, to submit a guest to the podcast, or if you have any questions, please visit https://quotablemediaco.com/podcast.
Connect with Allison:
Hello and welcome. I’m so happy to be talking with Allison Yee today. She’s the CEO
and founder of Up Next, and I can’t wait to get to tell everybody more about what this is
all about and what you do, Allison. But first of all, thank you so much for coming on
today. Thank you so much for having me.
I’m so excited to be on your podcast. Me too. I’m excited to have this conversation. I will
say we met in person maybe a couple of months ago now. A couple of weeks ago, I
was going to say.
And I just feel like we connected kind of. I don’t know, I feel like we kind of connected on
the basis of, like or I guess I feel like something that made me feel connected to you.
And I don’t know if we connected mutually over this, but I just feel like your brand and
your business is very much about supporting and helping other small brands and
businesses in becoming successful in a way that they otherwise wouldn’t have access
to, maybe without you. And I guess I feel like you do it in a very different way than what
I do with PR and working with brands in that way, but I feel like it’s similar in a lot of
ways in terms of how we work with different brands like that. So I feel like that was one
thing where I felt connected to what you do and also felt so intrigued because it’s not
something I’ve ever met somebody else who does who works with brands like you do.
So I want to let you explain it to people. And before I even let you talk, I know I keep
like, I’m still going on. I need to just tell the listeners how I’m losing my voice. So if
people are like, she sounds really weird today, I just want to have put that out. My voice
is funny today.
It’s been funny all week, but I was sure it was going to be fine by today, so I was like,
we’re going to go ahead with the conversation, but if I start to lose, don’t don’t worry
about me. I’m fine. But anyway, Allison, tell people what exactly Up Next is and yeah,
let’s start from there. And then I want to hear, obviously, everything else. Well,
Alessandra, I just have to say that I felt exactly the same way, and I was just having a
similar thought that although PR is very outside our realm, it is a different version of, just
know, connecting with businesses and helping them grow.
So I guess to back up, up Next is my company where we work with emerging brands,
fellow entrepreneurs who are looking to grow their businesses through brick and mortar
retail. And so we give them access to testing out the market through pop ups, which are
short term retail activations. And we do it in a whole variety of ways. We have a lot of
different channels that we’ve built up over the years and we try to keep these
opportunities as accessible as possible so that they can truly be low risk and open to a
whole wide range of brands and founders who are just trying to get out there and put
their passions out into the world and make it happen. Yeah, and I love that because
yeah, it just feels so supportive.
I think that’s a good point. Like people who are just like, I need to see what would
happen if I could get myself out there more. Like, I need to see what would happen if
people saw my products on a shelf. And you provide that opportunity to them, right?
Essentially, absolutely, yes.
And it is very different to be in person and experience that real time feedback and see
people interacting with your products or your services than if you built your business
online, which most of our brand partners start online. It’s the organic way to establish
your business in modern day retail. But until you have that in person feedback and until
you start to get a sense of what is happening in the real world with your products or
services, you don’t have the full picture. And so it also really lends a sense of credibility
to your business. It helps you just establish yourself in a whole different way.
So it’s a big step and a very worthy one and it’s a lot of fun too. I mean, it’s
transformative for the businesses and it’s amazing for us, for me, being on the other
side of it, to just see that all unfold. Yeah. And do you feel like, so most people have
started their business online and then they’re like, either do you think that most people
just expect that they were going to have a business online, that was what it was going to
be. And then they start to think, well, hang on, it could be cool to have a brick and
Or is it just that it feels so hard to have a brick and mortar space that people start online
with? Always kind of like thinking that they would like to have a storefront one day or sell
in person in some capacity and that they just didn’t know it was like an option until they
meet you. I think they’re probably in a couple of different camps. I think either they’ve
always had the dream of opening a brick and mortar but perhaps start online because
it’s an easier place to begin and sort of do in a controlled way. I mean, opening a
permanent storefront is a big undertaking.
So perhaps they hadn’t thought about pop ups or they had pop ups are becoming more
popular. So perhaps it’s been part of their plan all along. But for the most part, they have
a dream of opening a permanent brick and mortar. Or on the complete other end of the
spectrum, they never thought about opening a brick and mortar. They wanted to have a
digitally native brand that stayed that way.
But then they started looking into the possibilities and realizing how that could be
integrated into their business model. Whether or not they ever choose to open a
permanent storefront is kind of a moot point. They may decide that that’s what they want
to do after the experience, but it’s definitely not necessary. We support brands who are
doing pop ups seasonally as a marketing push, as a new product launch. There’s all
different scenarios where a pop up makes sense within their model.
Amazing. Okay, wait. There’s so much there. But I want to back up for a minute
because I always ask people to first lead us through. I feel like I guess I kind of started
asking more because I feel like it’s such a unique kind of business and concept.
I want people to have a sense of what it and I don’t know, maybe I’m just not in that
world. But I feel like I’ve never heard of someone who facilitates pop ups in the way that
you do. So it seems very unique to me. I want to make sure people have a sense of
what we’re talking about here. But I do want to back up now and kind of hear, how did
you actually go from before you started this business to where it is today?
And then I do want to dive back into a little more about the specifics, about how it works
and stuff. But how did you start on your business journey? What were you doing? Were
you doing something before this? And how did you be like, hey, I’m starting a company?
Yes. Well, if we back way up, I feel like I’ve always been in however far you I was
starting businesses in my living room when I was maybe six years old. I just have
always been very passionate about creating different unique offerings and a natural
born shopaholic, as I’m sure my mother would say. So I found a career to support that.
But really, I went into the retail world from high school or college on.
I was working on the boutique sales floor. I was having as many sort of hospitality and
retail related experiences as I could because I loved it. And then I went to work in the
corporate space. Right after college, I worked for TJX Companies and started my first
business there. Actually, I had a little boutique wardrobe advising company.
I was like a stylist, and I did that for ten years, completely on the side before up next
was even a thought. But I also changed corporate settings, worked in buying in different
companies. And then I ended up working for a locally based developer, WS
Development, for about seven years in different roles. So they own places like The
Street in Chestnut Hill in Massachusetts and Seaport, and lots of big developments
around Boston and beyond. And I was the general manager at the street, the Chestnut
At the time that I noticed we had kind of a high level of vacancy.
There were not a lot of local tenants, and that was really important to the community
and to making it sort of an authentic place to shop. And so I just kind of got the okay to
start dabbling in pop ups, which weren’t happening a whole lot around Boston at that
point. That was probably back in 2014. And so I basically what we call vanilla box, a
little 400 square foot space, and that means it was an ice cream shop. It had a mirrored
ceiling and orange orb lighting, and it was very quirky, but we just made it a blank
And then I started looking for different local brands that would be interested in popping
up, and it was a very different conversation at that point. I had to explain what a pop up
was, what I was looking for them to do, how it would actually work, and ultimately ended
up with my first pop up was a big old pop up. But I was hooked from that very moment. I
absolutely loved working hand in hand with these entrepreneurs and building something
really unique and helping them get the word out into the market and perhaps most
importantly, giving them access to a location that typically is completely out of the realm
of possibility for early stage entrepreneurs or concepts. So basically, if you’re signing a
lease at one of these properties, it’s for 10, 15, 20 years, it’s for an astronomical rate, it’s
not on the table.
So we took away all of those barriers to entry, and so all of these entrepreneurs got
proof of concept so much earlier in their development. And so I went on to rotate
different retail and food concepts through that particular space and then launch the retail
incubation division for WS development. So I started traveling to different properties and
opening pop up storefronts and helping invite brands to be a part of those properties.
And I had been looking for my full time leap into entrepreneurship for a long time, and I
just had that feeling that it was now or never that I needed to make the jump. And so
that was 2018 when I launched up next.
Wow. So they kind of allowed you to really get a proof of your concept before you even
had to take that leap, because it sounds like they were pretty open to letting you do
what you wanted to do with those spaces and then even expand from the first location
before you even left them. The reality is that in big developments like that. They’re
building new buildings. They have an entire leasing team, which I was not a part of, and
there is not a whole lot of attention paid to those smaller spaces that don’t have the
ability to yield such high revenue in the same way that the shiny new pieces of the
So it was a really great window of opportunity for me to test the waters and eventually
became what I’m doing now without any specific limitations or portfolios or partnerships
to work within. Yeah. And did you kind of leave there, Amicably, where you were kind of
like, I still want to fill these spaces for you, like, just now through my own you still can
work with those locations, or were you kind of like, I’m starting from scratch once you
went off on your own? I guess a little of each. I mean, they knew exactly what I was
doing and were supportive, but they’ve continued to build up that division.
So they have an in house team that is very capable of doing that, although we have
collaborated with them. But I also was definitely ready to spread my wings and build
new relationships and hang my own shingle. Yeah. So what did you do when you hung
that shingle and you were like, okay, we’re open for business? Yeah, that’s a great kind
Next question being, like, kind of what does that look like now? What has changed from
then to now in terms of the business, your team, those kinds of things? So much has
changed. I would say my first major project was the summer of 2018. I worked with,
actually, a former colleague from WS who had gone to a different company, and we
launched a pop up village using shipping containers.
So this was in a really interesting mixed use development out in Weymouth, Mass. And
I had never even been to Weymouth, but I signed on to do this project where basically I
had two of the eight shipping containers to create sort of weekend pop up experiences
around. And so I came up with two very different concepts, one being retail focused,
where each weekend it would be home to a different brand or concept, and then the hot
pink one right across from it. We did a workshop concept in so essentially different
types of experiences, whether that was sip and script with calligraphy classes out in an
open air setting. This is pre pandemic, but it was all completely outside and really
utilized the outdoor space well.
And we had an artist in residence and a knitting workshop series with third piece. So I
just sort of tapped into every possible relationship and started Cold Outreach and got
different entrepreneurs excited to be a part of this. And there was also an events
component that I wasn’t in charge of, but it was really place making. It was building an
experience and a destination, and at the same time giving a super accessible
opportunity. It was, I think, revenue share only.
There was very little upfront expense for these brands. But it also really set the tone for
how I’ve built up next in that we are very outside the box. We consider all different types
of formats fair game. For pop ups, it is nontraditional and that is one of the things that I
love about it so much. So we’ve built up our matchmaking capacities, which is what we
It’s sort of like dating. You’re testing out a space, you’re seeing if it could work long term.
And so we help pair brands with spaces and also brands with each other. I think that the
collaborative pieces are really important part of what we do. Cool.
So it started out really as you reaching out to people and being like, I have a space, do
you want to kind of come pop up and having to explain to them what that is. And I
imagine now it’s totally different. People are always looking for I mean, I’m sure you get,
as you said, some people never even think of a pop up still, but I’m sure now I feel like
it’s much more popular and you probably have people come to you like, I know I want to
do a pop up. Do you have any spaces that would work for me? And you’re like, yes.
I would say word has spread much more quickly among the brand community. We have
so many amazing brands that are always looking for different opportunities. So we’ve
adopted sort of a launch model where we can field applications and invite entrepreneurs
to apply for a particular opportunity through our website. And one of the things that I
was set on doing through this process is being really transparent with information. So in
the traditional real estate world, you never know what a space costs to lease.
You don’t know what the terms are going to be. It’s sort of riddled with just a lot of legal
jargon and so I wanted to change all that and just this is what it costs, this is when it’s
available, this is the type of brands that we’re looking for. So putting all of that
information, or as much of it as possible, front and center, so that an entrepreneur
sitting at home reading through this can say, oh yeah, this is a great fit for me, I can
afford this, I feel really good about this location. They can make an informed decision
about whether or not they’re interested. And so that’s been really great and also
challenging because we need to onboard our space partners to have that same
Yeah, this is probably always in flux or changing all the time, I imagine, but how many
spaces do you kind of have on your roster at a time that you work with generally now?
So it really varies. I would say we started doing markets during the pandemic. So those
can become an opportunity for a whole lot more brands at a time, but for a shorter
period. So it’ll be 15 2030 at a time, for a weekend, say.
And that is awesome because so many more brands get the opportunity to test
something out and then it sort of funnels into a longer term pop up opportunity. So if
someone wants to test at a brick and mortar space, we used to see a lot of shorter term,
a few weeks or a few months at a time, and now we really work all the way up to a year.
So if there’s a vacancy, they really could get a true test of the market for all of the
different seasons, all of the highs and lows of a retail cycle, and then decide, okay, this
isn’t an amazing fit for me. I want to keep doing this for as long as I can in a permanent
way. Or, this was a really good run, I’m going to go back to my online business and
complement it with seasonal pop ups.
It can absolutely go either way. Yeah, so some people are, what’s, like the short? I
mean, I know you said the markets are obviously a weekend, but other than that, if
someone’s moving into a space and they’re bringing boxes of all their products, is there
a typical timeline? And I feel like probably your answer to everything is going to be like,
it depends. It’s also what they want and need.
But is it usually like a month or like three months? I would say a season, yes. There’s a
big range between that one day to one year timeline, but a season is probably our
average. We have retail incubator spaces that we rotate seasonally and that works out
really well where you’re going three to four months at a time. As the founder of a brand,
you’re looking at your own product or service and saying, okay, this is my peak season,
therefore I really want to be here for I own a swimwear company.
I want to be there for the spring. Summer overlap or holiday season is always a popular
one, of course. But yes, the season, I would say, is the average. This sounds like so
many logistics. I’m just so curious.
How do you actually stay on top of all of this? Because this sounds like the most detail
oriented piece of every business and you’re helping them with it for all of these
businesses. Kind of. How do you that is definitely where my team comes in. I could not
do this alone.
I have an amazing small but mighty team. I like to say there’s about six of us and we’ve
taken to using Alessandra in this past year or so. And that has been really game
changing in terms of keeping track of the moving parts, because there are many, but
we’ve been able to systemize them and develop processes that work for us that we’re
always fine tuning. But essentially, I think the important thing to note is that we’re not the
day to day operations of the business. So the brands do that themselves, and that’s a
big undertaking for them.
But we try to simplify the rest of the pieces so that they can really focus on their core as
much as possible. But yes, there are definitely a lot of moving parts and variables per
space, per opportunity, per brand. And then there’s the human component, which is
both the part I absolutely love and the part that can be challenging if two brands don’t
get along and they’re sharing a space. How do you navigate that if someone misses a
payment with a landlord? And there are all of those scenarios, but for the most part, we
are very fortunate to have really wonderful partners and just overall experiences, and
we try as best we can to help them navigate the many nuances that are involved with
launching and executing and operating a pop up.
Yeah. What are some of the roles of the people? Like you said, there’s six of you. Do
you have pretty specific roles in terms of who’s doing what? Because I’m always just
really curious about the behind the scenes of how it’s actually working, how your team
works together and how you’ve kind of built that out.
Like, how did you know when to hire someone and what they should do and those
things? That’s a great question. Yes. I would say we are well defined in our roles, but
also always evolving them. I think that’s really important in a small business, that you
need to consider everyone’s growth and how the needs of the business changes
change as we grow, and how you just have to keep open communication about that.
So currently on the team, we have my COO, who actually used to be our creative
director. So that’s just one example of how it’s sort of evolved over time. And then we
have a creative director who actually was one of our brand partners. So that’s how we
first met, through a pop up experience. And then we have our head of community
whose role has evolved from Catalyst.
So sort of the first point of contact or interaction. I always really loved the word Catalyst
because I think it indicates you’re being sprung into the mix and getting our full
attention, but not a lot of people know what that means. But really it’s about building
community and feeling like you’re a part of the Up Next family. We also have our head
of strategic partnerships, so that’s about onboarding brands and spaces and developing
those key partnerships that make all of the different pieces of the puzzle come together.
And then our most recent addition, and this speaks a lot to Alessandra and how that’s
become really important.
As a project manager, that is our core team right now, and I’ve been really fortunate to
work primarily with other entrepreneurs. I am the only full time member of our team right
now. Everyone else has a varying schedule. We work sort of hybrid, primarily remote,
but we have an office space where we can gather together. We try to get together in
person as a full team at least once a month.
And that’s sort of where the magic happens. We all get along really well and just have a
great time, brainstorming together, but then also putting things into action. We have a
really passionate, driven group of people and I feel like that’s where I’ve been most
fortunate in building this company. I’ve just worked with so many amazing people, all
women actually, right now. But it’s a powerhouse team and I love to hear all of their
That sounds amazing. I love that. It just seems like everything kind of I know it’s never
as easy as it sounds, but it sounds like the right people have come for the positions that
you need and they kind of fall into place. Or things shifted in the way that made sense
for their role. Or you needed a role that you had a person for.
I love when it’s like those kinds of things work out like that and it’s like, you know what?
She would actually be great for this role that we now need. Or the role just kind of
evolves into something else as you grow and change and you’re able to keep those
team members with you. I love that. I always find it so interesting to hear, especially with
a small team, how you make it all happen.
So thanks for sharing. I think you have to have fun at the same time as being super
productive, which I feel like has been our balancing act. Like, we could chitchat all day
and would really love to do that, but at the same time get so much done and put so
many ideas into action. And sometimes you just have to go for it. Yeah, I think we have
that same dynamic over at Quotable Media Co.
Absolutely. Just chat all day on our meetings. But we have to be like, okay, I like, time
things out. I get very specific with even our just internal check in agendas because I’m
like, this many minutes for this part, this many minutes for this part. Because otherwise
we’ll just have too much fun together.
That’s where our project manager comes in. Because I’m terrible at that. I’m really bad
at cutting off the conversation. I’m really bad at that too. But we try.
Oh, my gosh. I feel like there’s things I always say this, but I always wish we had more
time to talk. And I always try to keep these episodes not from getting too long. So I’m
trying to think what else I need to ask.
I guess I want to go into, even though I want to hear more about every detail of how you
run the business. I feel like this is something that’s going be to really interesting to so
many of our listeners because there are a lot of people who have products who have
maybe only sold our Ecommerce or have sold only online. Or done a little bit in person
and might have been like, hey, a pop up actually sounds great. So I want to go there for
a little bit too. I don’t know.
What have you found in terms of the different kinds of brands that you’ve worked with?
Are there a couple of pieces of advice or things that you’ve seen brands do that has
helped them become more successful with pop ups or anything like that? That’s kind of
like a useful bit of information for somebody who maybe has never done a pop up
before or has maybe done one and is thinking about doing more. They were like, I don’t
know, I don’t even know the question but I feel like all the answers. So I want to go there
for people who are maybe on that side.
Sure. So when you’re considering a pop up, there are kind of two paths. I mean there
are a bunch of different factors to figure out in terms of what your location is going to be,
what your duration is, like, how long you want to do a pop up, if you want to dabble in
some shorter term ones before testing out a longer term one. But I think one of the
biggest decisions is if you’re doing this, as we say, as a standalone brand, or if you’re
doing it in collaboration with others. And I would say if you have not done a pop up
before or if you don’t have extensive retail experience, a collaboration is one of the best
things you can do for yourself and your brand.
Either by finding your own partners or we’ll often help pair brands together, but look for
brands that are complementary to your business, but not competitive. So if you sell
candles, for example, and you host candle making workshops, you may want to look for
other complementary brands that are in sort of the home and lifestyle space so they
create this cozy environment with you but are not selling or offering the same thing as
you. And I wouldn’t recommend partnering with more than one or two other brands
because there’s a lot of logistics. But the shared resources are amazing. You can share
the staffing and that keeps costs down.
You share the cost of the rent, you share knowledge. That is kind of the biggest piece.
So if someone else that you’re partnering up with has past retail experience or finance
experience or marketing experience, you can really leverage each other’s strengths.
And that’s sort of the magical silver lining that we see coming out of these collaborations
where, yes, you’re building your business and your sales and all of the things that a pop
up can drive for you. But.
You’re also forging amazing relationships and getting all of this free access to shared
knowledge, to shared resources that you wouldn’t have otherwise. So that’s like a big
one, I would say. You didn’t answer. I never even considered a collaborative pop up like
that. Like a couple of brands in one space.
That’s such a great idea. I didn’t even thought to ask anything about that. Definitely, I
mean that sounds so fun from a brand perspective I would want. Yes, it’s that sense of
community. You’re in it together and retail is a roller coaster.
I mean, I don’t sugarcoat it for anyone. You’re going to have days that a lot of people
walk through that door, but there are always ways to overcome that and plan events
together and all of those different things. However, some brands have a vision for what
kind of experience they would create, how they would translate their brand from a
website to a storefront. And if that’s the case, then you are dead set on that vision,
which I applaud. Then go for it on your own.
Like bring that vision to life and don’t hesitate because a pop up is that best gateway
drug. That sounds terrible. The best way to just test it out without signing that
permanent lease, without don’t take out a loan to do a pop up. Don’t put yourself in a
difficult financial position. So go for the maximum kind of test that you can afford to
collect your information and see what that experience is like.
Yeah, that’s maybe a great question too is like if someone’s doing a pop up for a season
or something like a couple of months, are they paying for that? They’re obviously only
paying for that portion of time so that’s why it’s such a cost effective option versus
having to sign like a five year lease. But are they paying on a monthly basis or do they
have to pay for it all at once or what does that look like? I guess someone’s like I still
don’t quite know if I could make this work. Yeah, typically if you’re taking a space on for
a season, so a few months you’re paying monthly rent.
Maybe you’ll have to pay a security deposit or last month’s rent up front. But when we
onboard spaces, we try to make them as accessible as possible. Sometimes it’s still
close to market rate. Typically if you’re doing shorter term, you’re actually paying a little
bit more because everyone still has to go through the full comprehensive process. But
So the longer that you take on the space, it’s sort of a little more in line with market rate
or below depending on the landlord. The landlord is a big factor in all of this, how open
they are. We actually do work with quite a few properties who have the flexibility to
make it super accessible, to see pop ups as beneficial to them as a marketing tool. So
these brands are bringing in a new audience. They’re creating something special.
They’re adding a local twist to some properties that don’t have a ton of local tenancy. So
there’s lots of benefits all around and some of the opportunities are free. I mean, we do
free markets on a regular basis. There’s a lot of creative ways that you can do a pop up,
even if we have very little to work with. Wow.
Yeah, that’s great to know. Okay, wait, so one more thing, kind of on the business side.
I’m just curious, if somebody wants to work with you to help get them into a pop up
space, are they paying you guys for a one off service to make that happen and make
those connections? Or are you kind of built into their whole pop up experience? I’m
curious about the if you don’t mind going.
Sure. Yeah. Not at all. So not typically they’re not typically paying us a service fee.
Typically we have a partnership with the landlord.
We’ll repeat out. That way, if they’re coming through, they’re building a brand profile with
us. So we like to get to know the brands before we place them. So we’re collecting
information, sometimes having a phone call or Zoom meeting or an in person and
getting to know what they’re looking for and what would be the right fit. So then we can
That said, they can also go through the whole process online. They can fill out a profile,
they can look at what spaces are readily accepting applications and then apply to be
considered. And they can really accelerate that process quickly.
We have an arm of our business called Project Pop Up that we launched during the
Pandemic, which is grant funded. So basically we work directly with municipalities and
landlords and create these incubator spaces that rotate seasonally. And through that,
we’re able to build in rent stipends and events. Some of these spaces are free. Most of
them are very accessible, especially for higher end markets.
We try to trim those rents way down, but those are ways that these brands can plan
ahead and have the opportunity to really get into a space that they wouldn’t have
otherwise accessed. And then we recently launched a course, so that is a page.
Because if somebody’s not local to the Boston area or Massachusetts, I don’t know
exactly how far out you guys have work with spaces. That’s what I was going to ask.
They can still do some stuff with you, right?
They can still get into yes, yes, absolutely. So most of our spaces are in Massachusetts,
so that’s where we’re headquartered, outside Boston. But that has been a driving force
for a long time. How can we help more founders and more places get popping? Find a
And so about two and a half years ago, it’s taken a long time to really develop and
refine, but we decided it was time to launch a course so that any founder anywhere
could have access to the playbook. We ended up calling it the pop up playbook. So just
a really comprehensive interactive course. There’s a video component, but also this
super robust I don’t have it next to me, like, huge 150 page workbook that is all of the
exercises that tie into planning your pop up because there’s nothing like this. There’s no
guidebook for this out there.
And there are, like you said, a lot of moving parts. So there’s a lot of things to think
about. But when you break it into these digestible pieces, it’s actually really fun and
exciting if you have that roadmap. And anyone in California, Hawaii, wherever they may
be outside of New England can go through this process and identify a space and start
planning out their experience, and we just take them step by step. So this is kind of an
exciting new chapter for Up Next.
And I’m excited also to build the community around that because I think that’s a big part
of it, to have support and our team, but also fellow founders to bounce questions off of
as they’re navigating the process. Yeah, no, that sounds so valuable. And it’s true. It
seems like I mean, first of all, it does sound like a lot of fun, but it definitely also sounds
like something where it’s like I wouldn’t even know where to start. Or I might be like, I
kind of feel like I could think about how I should figure it out, but what if I’m wrong?
Or what if I’m forgetting some major piece? So, like, having that playbook where you
know you’re going step by step through everything you need sounds really helpful.
There’s definitely a lot that you might overlook that including the legal piece. I mean,
we’re not offering legal advice per se, but we’re guiding you in all of those directions.
Here are the things to look out for.
If you’ve never leased a space, there’s a lot of terminology that comes into play that you
wouldn’t be familiar with. There’s just so many different facets because pop ups sort of
intersect real estate and marketing and retail, and you may have experience in just one
or perhaps none of those areas. Yeah, that sounds really cool. Okay, well, I always ask
people if there’s one thing you wish you knew when you first started the business that
you know now, or that you didn’t realize you didn’t know back then. Yeah, so when I first
started up Next, I felt really isolated.
I’m a solo founder. I felt like I had big ambitions and dreams, but I was very much alone,
and so I wish I had known that was temporary. I think there are so many ways you can
seek out community and build a team and know that you’re not alone on the roller
coaster ride of entrepreneurship. And it took me a little while to figure that out. And so I
wish that former founder Me just had that insight earlier on.
Nice. Yeah, that’s a good one. Any last word of advice for other business owners, other
people who might want to do a pop up or anything like that? Yes. I would say take big
Go for it. If you have a feeling that you can step outside your comfort zone and bring all
you have to offer into the world, have those conversations. Put yourself out. Test it.
Don’t go bankrupt trying to make it happen.
But really, don’t be afraid. Just go for it. I love it. So good. Thank you so much, Allison.
This is like perfect timing because I do feel like my voice is giving out on me now.
Luckily. I hope you feel better. You had all the answers, you had all the information
today. So thank you so much for coming on.
Tell people, how can they find you? How can they find you online? Whether they’re local
or not, if they want to find the course, tell us how to find that too. How they go. So we
are firstname.lastname@example.org, also the popupplaybook.com, but everything links out
from the poppingup next.com URL and we’re also all over social media.
You can follow me on Instagram, at theAllison Yee and at poppingup next and at Project
Pop Up. So please connect. Happy to chat. Awesome. Thank you so much.
I think people are going to really love this. Thank you so much. This is really and flew by