Today we are sittiing down with Pop Box co-founders, Anne-Marie and Randy to learn more about Pop Box. Pop Box is a permanent pop-up shop that rotates installations every quarter. The first Pop Box will run from October 30th - December 24th, 2017 and will be the first store to exclusively feature subscription box companies.
Pop Box partners with online brands to present shoppers with exciting new products they might never have come across otherwise — even online. Every quarter, a new lifestyle theme – or installation as they call it – is introduced along with an offering of exciting new brands that will bring the theme to life.
Pop Box focuses on partnering with the best-in-breed of each category for every installation. Because of this, each participating brand maintains category exclusivity.
The store is fully staffed with helpful and enthusiastic brand ambassadors who are specially trained to be knowledgeable and always available to demonstrate or explain a product to customers.
Throughout the installation, a calendar of on-premise activities and events offers customers new and fun reasons to visit and revisit the store. These events are designed be informational, entertaining and to immerse shoppers in the brand(s) experience.
While Pop Box itself is permanent, the pop up installations disappear quickly! The short-term nature of the pop-up shops help create a sense of excitement and urgency, while the unique merchandise selection promotes sense of discovery and delight.
Come visit and experience Pop Box at our primary location: 1024 West Armitage Avenue, Chicago, IL.
Burgundy Fox: I've heard many people say PopBox is a genius concept and I agree. Tell us about the genesis of PopBox, and how did you validate the demand for it?
Pop Box was founded after observing the aches and pains of traditional retail. It’s not hard to find a headline declaring its demise these days. We know this not to be true, however. Customers expectations of retail have been re-shaped because they can now get the boring shopping out of the way online. This means when they do go out to a store, they expect memorable experiences and the ability to discover, try, touch, and feel products they would otherwise only find online.
Our validation came quickly when we started reaching out to online brands. Many of our partners had already looked at retail options or attempted to do it themselves but backed out because of the immense challenges, cost, and bandwidth required in opening a physical store.
BF: You are both serial entrepreneurs, but this is your first venture together. What would you say are the recipes for a good business partnership?
PB: Before anything, there is a mutual respect and trust that is very difficult to find in a co-founder. This is a critical foundation for every business.
Retail is an art and a science. I see myself as the science piece and Anne-Marie is the artist. We complement each other in that way, but also have enough overlap that we’re able to see all sides of the business and catch things before they become problems.
We both have the intense work ethic it takes to run a successful business as well. We also spend part of each of our calls asking how the other is doing. Our families and mental wellness are priorities because we know the business will flourish under those optimal circumstances.
BF: So far, what has been the most challenging and most rewarding part of launching Pop Box?
PB: The most challenging part was bootstrapping an entire retail shop with only the best partners and limited resources, which meant no room for mistakes. This speaks volume about how incredible our team really is.
The rewarding part is easy. To see the store and our partner’s stories finally come to life was truly amazing. We believe the store is one of a kind and that our incredible staff can tell our partner’s stories in ways that it’s simply not possible to do online.
BF: Where do each of you draw business inspiration from?
PB co-founder, Anne-Marie: I eat, sleep, and breathe trend! Anything from design to business to consumer trends. I also seemyself and my friends as the customer and shopper. What are we responding to? What do we dislike? How have our habits changed over the last 5 or 10 years? We are all shoppers.
PB co-founder, Randy: For me, running a business is my oxygen. I love the challenges that each company and idea present. I also love interacting with people and our partners. They’re excitement for their products gets me excited to show them off in a completely new way they’ve never imagined. I come from a software background, so getting into retail was exactly the new challenge I’ve been looking for.
BF: What do you see in the future of PopBox? What can readers/customers look forward to next, short or long term?
PB co-founder, Anne-Marie: More discovery. We will be bringing lifestyle themes to life through exciting brand new partnerships and our unique style of events.
PB co-founder, Randy: Pop Box has some exciting new technology coming that will make the shopping experience even more immersive that it currently is. We want to push the boundaries of what a customer expects each time they visit our store. We’ll also be looking to expand and take on funding going into 2018.