Thomas Zimmermann, founder of “Mise en Place” answers 10 questions about his pop up shop.
1. Please describe your concept/pop up shop in three sentences.
“Mise en Place” – a completely new way to shop and cook! The speciality food shop that opened in mid-June 2014 at Seefeldstrasse 12 in Zurich presents various recipes with the accompanying portioned ingredients on stands as we know it from the market. Thanks to the “Mise en Place” purchases and the illustrated step-by-step recipe, one can cook refined dishes in their own kitchen from scratch in no time. True to the motto: “Peace, happiness, self-catering”.
2. What do you do/offer?
In addition to refined recipes, a fine selection of wine and assorted beverages, high quality cooking accessories, cooking utensils and kitchen appliances are available in “Mise en Place” for our customers. Additionally, we occasionally have food and beverage events. For companies as well as private individuals we offer customized Wine & Dine events.
3. How did you hear about the pop up shop concept and when did you decide to go pop up?
The Pop-up concept has become quite common in other major cities (especially in the Anglo-Saxon region).
In order to test our innovative concept on the Swiss market, we had the idea of a pop-up solution, i.e. the temporary use of a commercial space that is very convenient at the outset: Our location at Seefeldstrasse 12, was from the outset designed for a temporary use of 10 months. From April 1st, 2015 the entire building will be completely renovated for at least six months. Now we are looking for a permanent location because the basic concept of our business model has proven to be successful. With catering, cooking classes, home delivery service, there is plenty of room for growth, which we have not used to its full potential with a temporary space.
4. What were your goals?
To create a start-up, which provides a unique added value to the people of Zürich in a certain segment, as well as to once again encourage the customers to cook for themselves.
In our fast paced world, many people find cooking (with friends) to be relaxing and provides enjoyable moments.
It is also important to know exactly where the ingredients for our recipes originate. Therefore we maintain a close relationship with our producers and winemakers.
I think that we impressively succeeded within a short space of time.
5. How did you find your space? Was it easy?
Within three months we signed the lease for the location. This requires daily, intensive research and countless appointments until the ideal location for the concept was found. We also created macro and micro analysis for each potential location. Along with the demographics of the population in each municipality around the location, it was also necessary to stand in front of the location over several days, at various times, in freezing weather, in order to count the pedestrians. Finally, like many things in life: This location was not officially advertised – an acquaintance assisted us in finding the shop. This example shows that you have to use all channels in order to be successful. I think that this is especially true in Zürich with the high store rents.
6. What are/were the most important factors for you in choosing a pop-up location?
Because we are working with a Switzerland wide unique concept on the market, a pop-up location is ideal for our case: After a short time it can be seen if there exist a customer need for our offer.
If this were not the case, we would have had the opportunity to close the business activities within a reasonable time. A further advantage is the low capital costs, and that one is not caught in long-term lease agreements with real estate managers.
7. How can/did you ensure a return on investment given the cost of setting up a pop-up shop?
Thanks to low investment cost (which is also thanks to the previous tenant, as we were able to take over the flooring as well as the lighting concept) and tough cost calculations (investments, purchasing, etc.) we will succeed in closing positively after 10 months.
8. How do/did you create a buzz around your new pop-up?
From the first day on we offered an innovative concept with top products at a prominent location in Seefeld – where the word quickly spread. An informative homepage (incl. webshop) as well as a Facebook page also helped. Within a short time, we had over 1,000 likes on Facebook. At the start, we also sent a press release to all relevant media within Zürich – as soon as a relevant media reported on us, the others also jumped on the bandwagon.
9. Will a pop-up really increase sales in the long run?
This question is difficult to answer as it always depends on the nature of the business model as well as the duration of the concept. From my own experience it is certainly highly recommended as an initial idea for a young company because it allows for more “experiments”.
10. What is your advice for people looking to do a (pop up) shop?
Have a good idea, which performs well during economic downturns (For example, people always have to eat), calculate the business case conservatively in terms of sales figures, and coupled with the necessary commitment and perseverance: Go for it and have fun…