On June 16, rapper 2 Chainz released his album “Pretty Girls Like Trap Music,” and accompanying the album drop were pop ups in various locales including the Soho neighborhood of New York and Atlanta, Georgia. Decorated in the bright shade of pink gracing his new album cover, fans could buy wearable merchandise, artwork, and get manicures and pedicures in the space. 2 Chainz super creative and well-designed pop up is the latest in a trend of pop up shops opened by entertainers to push limited edition wares while marketing new music drops. Solange’s brand for creatives, Saint Heron, opened a pop up in Austin, Texas following the world famous SXSW Music Festival in 2016, and Kanye West opened “Pablo” pop ups selling exclusive merchandise in 21 cities worldwide after his album release.

Pop ups aren’t just for entertainers either; they can be a brilliant marketing and sales tool for online retailers and other brands. Originating as early as the 1990s in major cities like London, Tokyo, and LA, pop ups have been used to sell every kind of merchandise. A pop up communicates a brand idea through immersing the consumer in a creatively designed shopping experience. Pop ups are temporary retail events with numerous benefits, from testing a new revenue stream to generating brand awareness. Another bonus is that a pop up launch is, on average, 80% cheaper than opening a traditional retail store. The success of pop ups rely on great planning and execution, and 2 Chainz inspired us to write this post about some of the legal considerations related to launching one.

The Space. First, choosing a location is key to a successful pop up. Having a customer profile and a specific target demographic in mind can help determine where to locate the temporary shop. Check the zoning code for your location to make sure your pop up shop is a permissible use. Also critical is having a written leasing agreement for the space. In particular, outlining the length of usage is important- some pop ups are for one day, others can be for up to three months. Other provisions for a pop up lease include, but are not limited to, the hours and days of operation, signage, the party responsible for paying utilities, and any permissible or prohibited alterations to the space.  

Licenses. Are you going to sell alcohol? You will need a license for that. Do you plan on selling food? You may need a license for that. Do you need a license to conduct your particular kind of business in your chosen location? See where I’m going with this? Having the appropriate licenses for your pop up can save you the time and headache that comes along with operating outside of the law and getting caught doing it. No one wants to invest funds and exhaust loads of energy into a pop up that ends up having to close due to a failure to obtain the appropriate licenses in advance.

Insurance & Limiting Your Liability. Make sure you have the right insurance for the pop. You can ask your insurance broker about the right kind of insurance for your type of business. Also clarify in writing who will be responsible for insuring the premises as well. In the vein of limiting your liability, consider incorporating your business or forming as a limited liability company. Formal registration can help provide a layer of protection for your personal assets in the event something goes left with the pop up.

Hiring Employees. Are you planning to hire employees to staff the pop up shop? You will want to make sure you are clear on the minimum wage, health insurance, and other labor law requirements in the area where you are setting up shop. Even though your pop up may only last a month, creating an employee handbook with clear directives and responsibilities can help alleviate issues with workers.   

We seriously love pop ups because they entail creativity and design in launching products and selling merchandise to create a dope experience for customers to learn more about your brand. You can boost sales, create a sense of excitement around your brand, crack into a new market, and even do some customer discovery using a pop up store. Make sure, however, to consult an attorney and square away the legal so you can have a successful, profitable pop up shop. Oh, and 2 Chainz was right…. Pretty girls really do like trap music.