Pop-up shops might be the best thing to happen to retail since the Internet. They allow online retailers to build an offline profile while giving them the opportunity to reach demographics uncomfortable with online shopping.
Last week, the online retailer Storenvy opened its first-ever pop-up shop at the up-and-coming Crocker Galleria, hosted by San Francisco-based startup Storefront. Storenvy was founded in San Francisco in 2008 as a social marketplace in which merchants could set up online stores for free and promote their products through Twitter, Facebook and the website itself. Co-owner Jon Crawford told the Silicon Prairie that the company aims to become “the Tumblr of e-commerce,” and last September, the website reached 20,000 online shops, selling everything from clothing and handmade items to artwork and photography.
Storenvy’s pop-up shop features four local designers: TopShelf Boutique, After Eleven, Animal Instincts and Embergrass Jewelry. San Francisco’s first-ever “fashion truck,” TopShelf Boutique, offers a range of affordable contemporary and vintage items, including a variety of cheerful vintage heels. After Eleven Apparel, based in Walnut Creek, sells graphic tees and pullovers inspired by music and surfing culture. The pop-up shop also features a children’s clothing brand, Animal Instincts, whose designs are based on original pencil sketches by the San Franciscan owner.
Embergrass Jewelry stood out as the most impressive of the designers. The San Francisco-based British artist Claire Smith creates all of the jewelry herself, primarily from copper — a more contemporary choice than gold or silver. The range includes simple designs for everyday wear as well as bold statement pieces. The industrial style and geometric shape of her copper shard earrings would work strikingly with a delicate white dress or monochrome jumpsuit, two of this season’s major trends.