During the busy holiday season we brought together an inspired group of both emerging and established brands at Wishlist, our holiday gift pop up shop with Hermann & Audrey. Lucky for us one of crew was the ever daring and loveable MARY YOUNG, headed by designer and entrepreneur of the same name who knows a thing or two about pop-ups. We sat down with her to learn more about her brand and her top tips for those thinking of doing their very own pop-up shop.
What spurred the beginning of MARY YOUNG, what inspired you to start your own business?
MARY YOUNG actually began as my thesis during my fourth year at Ryerson where I was studying Fashion Communications. I decided to produce a double thesis, one half being a 5 piece collection to showcase with the Fashion Design students at our year end fashion show. After spending months studying the lingerie industry I realized there was a huge gap in the market for comfortable lingerie that encouraged women to embrace their natural shape and so I launched my namesake brand just a few months after graduating.
Who did you design for, what kind of woman?
I design for women who live a full life, between work and socializing they have a lot on the go. They appreciate design and comfort in quality made products and understand the importance of feeling confident in what they're wearing. All of the pieces I design are intended to compliment this woman's life, something she's able to wear all day comfortably and feels confident to show her partner.
Why did you go online first for lingerie? How did you launch?
When I first launched online made the most sense, less overhead and initial risk, or so I thought. There is definitely less overhead for online stores but a lot more work in other areas. Standing out amongst thousands of other online stores is a challenge. I launched with a small capsule collection consisting of 3 pieces in 2 colours, the first chunk of purchases were made by friends and family. Over the following few months of launching I invested as much time as possible in word of mouth and social media marketing which resulted in some great media coverage helping to drive more traffic to the ecomm store.
Outside being present in brick and mortar retail, what do pop-ups offer that retail can't?
Pop-ups are a great way to market to your audience and encourage a push in sales, especially if the pop-up is one or two days only. Having a limited time for something to run encourages consumers to make sure they get there and feel like they're getting in on something not everyone else can. I always try to add something special to a pop-up, whether it's a discount if donations are brought for a charity and I almost always offer wine and donuts. A pop-up is an elevated shopping experience that encourages friends to go together and stay longer than just shopping at a retail store.
What are the most important things to keep in mind if you’re putting on a pop-up for the first time?
I would definitely recommend having multiple payment options, offering credit, debit and cash will allow you to have more sales. Also proper marketing is important, have an event page on Facebook or EventBrite where people can check the details and send to their friends. Also packaging is something to think about, have bags and tissue ready to make sure the whole experience is positive for the consumer.
Do you have any tips on the design or decoration of a pop-up, is there anything that you've learned or always included?
The most important thing to think of design wise is how the decor will compliment your brand. MARY YOUNG is fairly minimal, so all of the decoration compliments that. Always have take-aways of business cards or stickers, if visitors don't buy it's great if they can leave with something that has your logo on it.
What does the future of the MARY YOUNG brand look like?
MARY YOUNG will continue to grow as a name for lingerie that encourages women to embrace their natural shape. It would also be great to expand into swim or ready to wear focusing on the same mission to encourage comfort and confidence.
If you weren't a designer what would you be working as?
That's a tricky question, I toyed with the idea of being a nurse or a police officer, very different from my current career. I personally love to help and care for people and I'm glad I've been able to do that through my brand. I could also see myself as a motivational speaker and business development consultant.
Looking for space for your next pop-up? Don't worry we got you. Take a peek a pop-up spaces near you right here.