‘A Nation of Shopkeepers’ for the 21st Century

How time flies – I have had an online boutique for over five years and this 21st-century way of shopping has become routine.

And, in the last decade everybody, but everybody I know uses online shopping for some aspects of their lives, but sometimes for me it is pleasant and beneficial to meet my customers in real life. This was the case the other weekend at Blackthorpe Barn. I set up my display, took a quick tour round to meet fellow artists and stood by my stall ready for the first customers at 10.00 am.

By 11.00 am the featured scarf displayed was sold to an enthusiastic customer who used to be a silk painter. Obviously, the large poster-style photograph caught people’s attention, but there is nothing like seeing and feeling silk in real life and I hope she enjoys wearing it. 

British Crafts at Blackthorpe Barn is a good venue to attend, but there is a newer, 21st-century form of selling. Since the first experiments in Los Angeles, the ‘Pop-Up Shop’ phenomenon has spread across the globe. Pop-ups in all sizes, selling all types of products, from all types of venues temporarily open their doors to the public. And, in my little corner of East Anglia a local artist transforms her charming house into a Christmas Pop-Up Shop for three days selling work by fellow artists from the surrounding creative community. 

The Pop-Up Shop at East Cliff House, 24, Harwich Road, Mistley, CO11 1LQ, will be open Friday 7th from 3 pm to 9 pm, Saturday 8th and Sunday 9th December from 11 am to 5 pm.

Author: agnesashe

Artisan, blogger and passionate East Anglian working from home.

10 thoughts on “‘A Nation of Shopkeepers’ for the 21st Century”

  1. What a lusciously displayed array of your scarves! I was in fact over in the UK early November, in your part of the world, and so thanks to your blog, visited one of the first weekends at Blackthorpe Barn. What fun to have the Pop-Up Shops to look forward to. Sadly, I’m back in the US now.

    1. Thank you for your positive comment re display. I find it tricky to display large scarves without it all becoming too crowded. My neighbouring stall holder did comment that I seemed to spend my entire day unfolding, holding out for inspection and refolding scarves. I hope you enjoyed your visit to the Barn and wish you a great Christmas in the States.

  2. Selling scarves sounds a lot like selling jewelry as I have observed it. Customers need to touch and try on. Different from what I do in selling paintings or clay. There it’s necessary to let people look and approach me though I must look friendly and attentive! We have many pop up shops in my area, either group things like you describe or sponsored by organizations. I like participating in them this time of year. I am glad the show went well and your work shows beautifully. Best of luck in the next event.

    1. Yes, you are right there is a different attitude to buying art for a wall and painted work to wear. I do think that both purchases are quite personal although I think buying a painting as a gift is more intimate than buying a scarf, but about the same as buying jewellery. I would have to know somebody very well to buy them a painting or sculpture as a gift unless they were with me and had expressed a liking for a particular work. A couple of the scarves I sold at the show were presents, but the intended recipients chose them themselves.

      I am very pleased to have been invited to show work at the local pop up and realise it must take the organisers much time and effort to arrange everything. So far I’ve only been to a pop up Vegan cafe with my daughter. I think they are a good idea to make use of empty buildings. Not sure I could have one in my own home though. Wishing you a busy and successful holiday season.

  3. You will be hard at work at the pop-up as I read this. I hope it goes very well. The display at Blackthorpe Barn looked great, and you are correct, the poster print really grabs attention – but then, it is all over to you to fathom the colour and style preferences of the prospective buyer.

    1. Guessing what colours people might like never ceases to surprise me. You can’t have any preconceptions and naturally the customer is always right. Hope you are enjoying your Christmas shopping and the festive season in general.

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