This New York Pop-Up is Empowering Minority Entrepreneurs

November 30, 2017

Christina S. Brown was selected as the first prize winner of Space Fund by thisopenspace, and we sat down with her to learn more about her holiday pop-up—Shop LoveBrownSugar.

With a goal to fuel 30 projects from our community of brand builders and ideamakers, our first ever Space Fund sponsors entrepreneurs to hold their dream event or pop-up in one of our unique NYC spaces. Innovators from around the world submitted their brand stories and pitched their best ideas, describing how they would take over a space and bring their community together. We selected the most compelling concepts with support from our Creative Council, including Mollie Chen of Birchbox, Tiffany Yannetta of Racked at Vox Media Inc., Kashem Miah of Shutterstock, Lyndon Cormack of Herschel Supply Co., Nasrene Haj of The Creators Collective, Barbara Torasso of Capsule Show, and Zuleika Sgro of Saje Natural Wellness.

Brown is creating experiences and spaces for women to connect—both online and offline. A New Yorker with a penchant for style, beauty products and self-empowerment, she brings together multicultural women to share ideas and inspire each other. Brown built a name for herself as a social media stylist and blogger, evolving beyond fashion advice to rise as a motivator, Mompreneur, and Dove Beauty Ambassador.

She found a niche sharing up-and-coming brands founded by indie creators of colour with her online community, and Brown recognized an opportunity to bring these like-minded women together to meet IRL. Brown dreamed up a pop-up shop that would create a platform for multicultural entrepreneurs, who she says “produce some of the most innovative and amazing collections but don’t often have the same opportunities or resources to sell their items on a large platform.”  She envisioned a holiday pop-up shop to support local brands by giving them access to a large audience, getting them more exposure by bringing them together in a collective space, and giving them a chance to meet many of their loyal online customers in person for the first time.

Facing the challenging task of finding a temporary space in New York that matched her aesthetic and was also within a reasonable budget that allowed small business vendors to participate, Brown was inspired to apply for Space Fund by thisopenspace to help make her dream event a reality.

“What I envisioned for the Shop LoveBrownSugar pop-up is a holiday winter wonderland with interactive spaces and retailer mini booths. The set up would be similar to an indoor version of the Columbus Circle Holiday Market, with clothing, jewelry, food and beauty items all under one roof.” Brown had a strong creative vision to lead her hunt for the perfect space to host her event, but she always considers her loyal following and takes time to check in on what they’re thinking and feeling. “I have a specific aesthetic, based on what my audience loves and what they’re looking for. Location is important because I have readers from all over New York. I looked for somewhere central that everyone can get to by train and bus. When I saw the Mezz on thisopenspace—I knew it was perfect.”

While writing about her favourite products on her blog, Brown has gotten a chance to get to know the founders of the brands she features online, who will be the vendors filling her pop-up shop on December 9th. She finds out about their stories, their motivations and why what they do is important to them. Brown shares that “it’s unfortunate that a lot of us aren’t able to support brands from other minorities, and it’s because we don’t know what’s out there. I’m hoping this event helps stimulate the local economy, promote entrepreneurship, and give my audience the chance to discover new brands.”

You can visit Shop LoveBrownSugar on December 9th at the Mezz in FiDi, and discover a new local brand for someone special on your list (and maybe a few things for yourself, who are we kidding). Tickets are available here.

Are you looking for a unique space in New York City to host your next group pop-up? Start your search and find the perfect space to curate for your community here.