Pop-Ups 101: The Complete Guide to Building a New York City Pop-up

Published on Dec 30, 2019 by Dan Melwani

by Dan Melwani the Founder of Rawspace

NYC has long been considered a hub for marketing and branding, and a centerpiece for building public awareness for a new product, company or artist. Every year, thousands of new brands come to NYC with aspirations of laying their stake in one of the greatest cities on Earth and introducing themselves to the public by drafting off the electricity, vibrancy, and power of the Big Apple. And in recent years, the pop-up shop experience has grown into one of the most successful ways a new brand can enter the NYC market due to the advantages of the short term nature of leases, and the spontaneity it offers to social media-driven consumers. 

But to many, the process of starting a pop-up shop may seem a little unclear. So I have detailed a step by step guide to not only starting but finding success with integrating NYC based short term retail experiences into your marketing. 

Starting Off

The first thing a brand will want to do when setting foot in NYC is to find a production company that can assist in conceptualizing, planning, and execution of your brand event. These companies specifically understand the strategies necessary for creating buzz-building events and have the experience and reach required to ensure that the idea is enacted to completion. 

632 Broadway - Event Space SoHo - View 1

Enter Rawspace

Any good production company knows that the backbone of a successful short term pop up experience is the space. Without this, there is no event- and therefore, the concept of the pop-up experience should be built around the advantages inherent within the selected real estate. Production companies, therefore, come to short term real estate proprietors like Rawspace, in search of the exact location to match their brand and event concept. These companies are invaluable as they have their thumb on the pulse of the short term event space market and have a specificity of knowledge to ensure that the driving force of your event is laid in place perfectly. 

Building Your Event

After determining the perfect space for your pop-up, both the production company and Rawspace will begin to build a conceptual base for the event. This takes months of preparation, permit acquisition, licensing, and investing in even the most minute details of the concept. Throughout this stage, Rawspace serves as the facilitator and leader of the developmental process, ensuring that every detail matches the space and that all necessary logistics are enacted seamlessly and efficiently. 

Further, the execution of a pop-up experience requires the integration of a litany of independent contractors, designers, engineers, etc. Rawspace, therefore, serves as the central nervous system, connecting each of these independent parts back to the source- the original concept. We are there to guide every decision until at last, the concept is built fully in line with your vision and brand. 

The Build

With a strong concept in place, the next stage is simple- we build. With Rawspace facilitating all the while as your idea is brought to life for all the world to see. This stage is where we load in all the materials, props, installations, or art pieces. The sky is the limit. Every single item or visual in the space is designed, developed, decorated and staged to fulfill the vision.

Event Spaces NYC – VMA event New York Museum of Missy Elliot – View 3

The Final Touches

And now with a tangible event in place, it’s time for the final and most exciting step- opening the doors. 

Now is the moment of truth- how will the public react to your brand? Rest assured, by trusting your company’s identity to experienced professionals like Rawspace, you will be ensuring that your brand is presented to the NYC public under the best light. We dedicate ourselves to executing your vision in a way that will bring your concepts to the world so that it will shock, surprise, and most importantly, hook your customer base. That’s more than just our mission, it’s our passion- it’s our lifeblood. 

The Importance of Rawspace

Throughout the entire process of building a pop-up event, seamless integration and execution of the concept are of vital importance. That’s why Rawspace does so much more than simply provide the space for your event, we are operational managers to guide the process and see that all details are in line with your vision and standards. Our “soup to nuts” mentality is the primary force leading to our consistent and long-lasting success. We leave no stone unturned on the way to executing your pop up, It’s why Rawspace was named one of the biggest small companies in Soho, and are able to proudly host over 180+ events per year, working with worldwide brands like Google, Amazon, Master Card, Adidas, Nike, and Under Armour. 

At Rawspace, we love NYC, we love spaces, but most importantly- we love new brands and we are constantly inspired and motivated by their tenacity, their vision and their dedication to excellence. And we grow alongside these brands, together we all become more dynamic, more efficient, and more in tune with the possibilities of this great city. It’s a fast-paced existence in NYC, and that means we must always be fighting to exceed expectations, we must always push the limit- and we must always stretch ourselves far beyond what we ever thought was attainable. 

So if you’re ready to bring your brand to the world through a pop-up experience that is guaranteed to capture the electricity of the NYC market, come to Rawspace. We’re ready. 

Do as the Stars Do…

Rawspace’s exclusive roster of NYC pop-up experiences feeds off the electricity of the city, the vibrant artistic happenings of downtown, and of course- the incredible special guests and celebrities who always seem to be popping in to see what’s happening at our one of a kind events. Face it, there is no greater city in the world to experience celebrity than NYC- and there’s no greater place to run into one than at a hip, cutting edge pop-up experience. And this year, we were blessed to have some of the world’s coolest celebrities drop by to say hello. 

Earlier in the year, film industry icon and Hollywood royalty Drew Barrymore dropped by with her family to the opening weekend of the Sloomo Institute of Slime, an Instagram fueled pop up dedicated to all things slime, and a wonderland for kids of all ages and interests. There, the crew was able to learn about the vivid history of slime, add their own gooey creation to the “slime and repeat wall”, and even take a trip down their infamous slime slide. 

It’s one of our favorite events at Rawspace and to have some of Hollywood’s coolest celebrities jump headfirst into all that gooey goodness made it even cooler. 

Mid-fall saw the release of Amazon’s hit series Modern Love, an anthology series, based on the popular NYT column of the same name, that explores love in all its complicated and diverse forms. To celebrate its release, Rawspace was able to partner up with Amazon Studios to pull off an immersive pop-up experience allowing viewers to actually step inside the world of the film. There, visitors can engage deeper with the beloved show, have their love aura read, and get their hair touched up in a full-service salon. 

And to promote the new series, Modern Love’s own Anne Hathaway dropped on by to take part in the festivities.  

Finally, the end of the year brought about one of Rawspace’s favorite projects so far, the American Express pop-up event The Big Future of Shopping Small, a two-week event highlighting the future of retail and celebrating the amazing history of American small businesses. And of course- some of our favorite celebrity entrepreneurs just had to check it out. 

To discuss his new acquisition of the Drama Desk Book Store, Tony Award-winning actor, writer, musician, and all-around nice guy, Lin Manuel Miranda gave a presentation on day two of the event, and supermodel turned entrepreneur Karlie Kloss joined us to highlight the incredible achievement of her new coding camp for young women, Kode with Klossy. 

Don’t get us wrong, these events more than stand on their own- but it sure doesn’t hurt when we are graced by the top of NYC’s incredible celebrity culture. So what are you waiting for- do as the stars do and come give us a visit? 

Winner of the Most Popular Space in 2019

Rawspace boasts an unbelievable roster of trendsetting, exclusive downtown spaces. But when looking back at the huge selection of high-events we’ve pulled off, and the astounding transformations we’ve taken our buildings through- our hands-down winner for the most popular space of 2019 is without question 623 Broadway, The Masterpiece on Broadway. 

Newly activated as of August 15th, Masterpiece on Broadway has already hosted some of our most exclusive events of the year, and our roster for 2020 looks just as impressive. 

At the end of the summer, we transformed the space into a fully immersive museum dedicated to all things Missy Elliot for the groundbreaking Missy Elliot Museum, a week-long event hosted by Pepsi and MTV that brought visitors directly into some of the hip hop icon’s most popular music videos. 

The fall saw Amazon’s Museum of Modern Love, a pop-up experience celebrating the release of the hit television series based on the wildly popular NYT column. There, visitors were able to have their love aura read, get their hair done in a full-service salon, and some lucky patrons were able to hang out with Oscar award winner and star of the show herself, Anne Hathaway. 

And rounding out the holidays, Rawspace partnered with American Express to produce a two week-long pop-up symposium on the future of small businesses, projecting what the landscape of small business production could look like in 2030. Tony award-winning composer and actor Lin Manuel Miranda of Hamilton fame dropped in to give a talk on his acquisition of the Drama Desk Book Store, and supermodel turned entrepreneur Karlie Kloss joined us to promote her new coding camp for young women, Kode with Klossy

Now until the end of the holidays, Amazon is back partnering with us at Masterpiece for their Smart Home for the Holidays event, a pop-up shop showcasing some of the latest and greatest smart technology innovations specifically geared for the holiday season. 

Located at the famous intersection between Soho and Noho, Masterpiece on Broadway is the largest white box space below 14th street and one of our busiest properties. Its location boasts an astounding 115,000+ pedestrians per day and features large-scale windows, making it an ideal space and opportunity for branding, marketing, and heightened exposure.

With 25,000 square feet of space, this landmark pre-war building covers the entirety of the block, and features 18-foot ceilings, a mezzanine, basement, and sub-basement, making it ideal for artist installations, after-parties, large company benefits, and galleries.

Rawspace is proud of all of its amazing downtown properties, but there’s no denying it; 2019 belonged to Masterpiece on Broadway. 

Now, let’s see what 2020 has to bring. 

Capture the Seizing of GIving with Facebook’s Holiday Pop Up Fundraiser for Military Mama Network

The holidays are a season for giving. And now with our “More Together” partnership, Facebook and Rawspace are building opportunities for generous hearts to give IRL to one of the most popular fundraising groups supporting military families in need. 

Over the years, Facebook has become an extremely powerful outlet for charitable giving, having collected over $2 billion in donations since the 2015 launch of its charity and philanthropy initiatives. 

Coinciding with giving Tuesday, Facebook is expanding its online charity measures to integrate pop-ups experiences all over the country, with holiday events happening in New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles. All donations will go directly to the Military Mama Network– a nonprofit group supporting military families in need this holiday season. 

Starting in 2013, the Military Mama Network has grown into a successful non-profit agency, providing supply boxes for deployed troops, moral support for trainees and families, and public outreach to help promote recognition and appreciation for the service provided by our troops and their loved ones. With over 17,000 members, the Military Mama facebook group has also become a powerful support forum for relatives and friends of service members to come together, connect, and share advice and support. 

These holiday pop-ups serve as an extension of the company’s successful “More Together” campaign, an initiative created by Facebook’s CMO Antonio Lucio to promote interconnectivity through social media platforms to foster support and community building. Military Mama Network was recently featured in the platform’s holiday ad as a means to raise awareness for the campaign. 

“We know Facebook is where people go to support the causes they care about,” said Samantha Wu, Vice President of brand and product marketing. “We wanted to create a physical pop-up to highlight one of our groups, Military Mama Network, to showcase in real life the power of people coming together for a cause they care about, and to help make the holidays magical for a number of military families.” 

Located at our 580 Broadway location, attendees of the event are encouraged to donate to the Military Mama Network through QR codes located on fun, oversized gift boxes featuring seasonal items like a mitten, teddy bear, or a tree ornament. The QR code then takes guests directly to the Facebook donation page where they can learn more about the Military Mama Network and make their contribution.

Taking advantage of the immersive nature of pop-ups, the event also features a festive display running the powerful Facebook ad for the Military Mama Network, as well as information about both the project and the Facebook group’s founder Geriann Wisebrook. Visitors can write letters of support to military families and troops overseas, and the event also includes festive photo backdrops and a full-service hot chocolate bar. 

The Military Mama Network fundraising initiative is just one of the ways pop-up experiences are affecting the world to promote positive change. Charities require inventive marketing methods to drive traffic and encourage contributions. The pop-up experience allows for these important groups to make use of the short term nature of the pop-up, drive social media attention towards their cause, and help positively affect the lives of troops and the families of servicemen and women all over the globe. 

It’s a cause we at Rawsapce are incredibly proud of this holiday season.

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