Pop Culture: The Rise of Pop-Up Shops


Do you remember the time you went to your favorite artist’s concert? The special effects were amazing, the crowd was vibing together, and the artist performed in a way that made you feel like your life was changed. To commemorate the best night of your life, you bought a [somewhat overpriced] t-shirt and maybe a couple of other products that were part of the tour. It was worth it because it was the only time you’d be able to see the product in person.

Cue the concept of pop-up shops and the recent success that music artists have experienced with utilizing them. A pop-up shop is a temporary retail event in which product is sold for a temporary length of time. Sometimes they are set up within an already established brick-and-mortar store, or they can be set up in empty spaces that are rented out. The key factor that sets pop-up shops apart from normal stores is the “get it while it lasts” quality.

More musicians are participating in this trend because it is a great marketing motive to make the music industry connect with listeners in another way. It is the fusion of music, art and fashion coming together to create a special experience for fans. Artists such as Frank Ocean, Kanye West and Drake have already opened pop-up shops in numerous cities.

 Photo Courtesy of Jade Hernandez 

Photo Courtesy of Jade Hernandez 

Jade Hernandez, an avid Kanye West fan, attended West’s Life of Pablo pop-up shop on Fairfax Avenue on Aug. 21.

Her initial response about her experience: “As much as I admire Kanye and am a big fan of his music, I wish I felt better about my purchase. They say ‘you get what you pay for,’ but I don’t feel like what I got was worth what I paid.”

She was disappointed to learn that shoppers could not try on the merchandise, nor could they even touch the products until after purchasing them. Instead, shoppers were greeted by sales associates wearing L.O.P. merchandise and presented with a “menu” of items that were available for purchase. From there, the associate would take down the order and prepare the merchandise for guests to check out. Hernandez felt the “hype” over the merchandise was too much for its actual cost, but she was stoked to have snagged a purple graphic t-shirt—the color that was exclusive to the Los Angeles pop-up location.

Exclusivity is another factor as to why pop-ups attract hordes of fans. A die-hard fan is going to want the exclusive “color pop” apparel that was specific to each L.O.P. pop-up location or the exclusive magazine and studio album combo pack that Frank Ocean debuted at his pop-up shop, Boys Don’t Cry in August (for FREE just by attendance).

 Photo Courtesy of Monica Meneses

Photo Courtesy of Monica Meneses

For Monica Meneses, the motivation to attend Drake’s Summer Sixteen pop-up shop in September stemmed from the anticipation of attending the artist’s concert that same night.  

“It’s encouraging to see artists reaching out to their fans through these pop-up shops, and I am more than ecstatic to rep their merchandise,” said Meneses.

 Photo Courtesy of MADE in Long Beach's Facebook Page

Photo Courtesy of MADE in Long Beach's Facebook Page

Long Beach has its own version of a pop-up shop named MADE in Long Beach that is located in downtown. Their mission statement is to support local artists and small businesses. They sell products made by over 120 locals within their doors, ranging from baked goods to homemade soaps. Most of the product is exclusive to the store, but MADE is big on promoting the products to raise awareness for the craftsmen that created them. If you are looking to find something different, check out their website and pay them a visit next time you are in the area.

240 Pine Ave.
Long Beach, CA 90802


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