Retail

Adidas Reinvents The Pop-Up As Collaborative Creative Space

The pop-up store, in an era where retail is resetting rapidly all around, has become a popular option for all types of businesses, including eTailers looking to put feelers out into physical commerce without a big commitment, or even physical retailers trying to test-drive an expansion into a new market.

They’ve become so popular, in fact, that permanent stores have actually started incorporating them into their design with an eye toward drawing customers back in with a new and exciting experience. Pop-In@Nordstrom, for example, has featured stores within stores at Nordstrom locations care of The North Face, Everlane, and All Birds, to great effect. The latest iteration, running from now until mid-August, is Nordstrom and Casper’s team-up, cheekily called “Sleep-In@Nordstrom.”

“Pop-In@Nordstrom is all about introducing our customers to the best of what’s out there, and we are excited to partner with a like-minded brand like Casper that leads with innovation and a strong customer experience,” noted Olivia Kim, Nordstrom VP and author of the pop-in concept.

And the power of a pop-up goes beyond merely that test-driving aspect. Pop-ups, because of their relative novelty, tend to draw scores of social media devotees on the hunt for the unique snapshot to post to Instagram before anyone else in the world has seen it. The Egg House’s New York pop-up, for example, sold out every weekend during its 12-week run, despite the fact that it paid for no advertising for the event. Instead, it relied on the more than 15,000 people that follow the pop-up on Instagram and sold about $200,000 worth of tickets.

But, as is the case with anything that becomes popular, the novelty of the offering can be hard to maintain. Pop-ups were unusual events even two or three years ago, but these days they are common enough that it can be hard to stand out.

Enter Adidas’ Factory 55, the shoe brand’s pop-up reimagined as a “temporary creative communal space.” Created to celebrate the launch of the Adidas POD S3.1 running shoe design, the store’s reimagining of the pop-up concept is fitting to the product it is promoting insofar as the POD design itself is an update on a 90s shoe design that Adidas has worked with in the past.

So, what does a temporary communal space consist of?

According to an Adidas spokesperson  Factory 55 is an “entirely new way for the brand to crowdsource fan creativity and inspiration.”

The new space, coming to the eternally hip Williamsburg neighborhood of Brooklyn, is designed to offer sneakerheads and design buffs access to an “entirely new and innovative approach” to understanding the creative design process. Which means instead of merely being a space dedicated to sneakers, Factory 55 will feature a series of public workshops and open lab sessions led by an alternating roster of local artists, musicians and designers.

According to Adidas, creative contributors like Fool’s Gold, Morning Breath, Joe Freshgoods, A-Trak, Luke Tadashi, Procell and many more will be on hand.

And, of course, there will be retail space – but the focus of the pop-up shops on offer isn’t the parent of Factory 55. Instead, the space is open for local creatives to push their own goods.

The space will also include a “Better Together” art exhibition featuring graffiti and street art, as well as a merchandise customization studio.

The creativity factory isn’t quite open yet. Factory 55 will be live and open to the public starting on Aug. 2 and will end on Aug. 5, so the engagement will be a brief one.

But brief can be impactful – and with the rather packed schedule that seems nearly custom-built to draw social media influencers in droves (lots to do, see and shop for means lots of photo opportunities for the Instagram enthusiasts of the greater New York City metro area), it may well be worth watching how much bang for their creative buck Adidas can get out of Factory 55.

“We are rethinking everything – and key to that is ideas outside our own that we can solicit in this kind of space,” the company said. “We are very excited by the upcoming opening, as we absolutely think this can change how people think about temporary retail.”

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