Melissa Gonzalez is one of our favorite people in fashion today. Her company, The Lion’esque Group, has gone from producing shows at NYFW to producing award-winning pop-up shops for big & cutting edge brands. This week, she also released a new book, The Pop-Up Paradigm. We caught up with Melissa.
Why did you decide to write the book?
Since leaving Wall Street, I have immersed myself in working with brands, both emerging and mass market, working with them on pop-up retail strategies. From DIY budgets to half a million dollars, my team and I have been entrenched in what works, what doesn’t and how to stay innovative. The genesis of the book, was so I could share our years of experience and how brands can stay relevant as the retail industry and consumer needs, wants and expectations continue to evolve.
What can brands learn from it?
The Pop-Up Paradigm is a guide to the important new role that pop-ups are playing in retail, across industries, tackling some of the top reasons a retailer or brand could benefit from a short term retail space. We also tackle a checklist to ask before deciding if its the right time for your brand, and best practices for execution.
What surprises people the most about doing a pop-up shop?
Many associate spontaneity with pop-ups and for the consumer it can feel spontaneous, but from the brand point of view many underestimate the amount of time needed to properly plan and the importance of really focusing on understanding your goal and customer as a starting point.
When is the right time to do a popup shop? When is the wrong time?
When a brand calls me and asks, “Should I put on a pop-up?” I answer, “That depends.” There are so many factors affecting whether or not a pop-up is a good idea that there is no one-size-fits-all answer. If you have zero idea of what your retail strategy is, if you don’t know what customer you’re going after, if you don’t understand what you’re asking a customer to do and what you’re giving back for it, don’t do a pop-up.
If you do understand your general retail strategy, customer, and product, the next step is to think about your goals. Start considering: What are you looking to achieve? Why do you want to do a pop-up, specifically? What’s the end goal?
You wrote this in a really nontraditional way. Can you give us a peek into the process?
I knew I wanted to get a book published, because I have true subject matter expertise, but I needed the right partner who could help me put pen to paper in an authentic way. Fast forward to Evan Nisselson’s LDV dinner series where I was seated with NY Times Bestselling author Tucker Max. Here is the behind the scenes story. (Editor’s note: it’s well worth a read!)
How can we stay in touch?
Buy the book here, and come back tomorrow for an excerpt from the book.