Brandless’ ‘Pop-Up With Purpose’ Focuses on Community Over Product

Brandless, the e-commerce start-up selling home and beauty essentials for $3, opened its first pop-up store last month centered around community instead of products. The space was located on Melrose and the experience was dubbed “Pop-Up With Purpose” with programming and ticketed events centered around wellness and nutrition – the company even donated 5,000 meals on behalf of each speaker to local food banks.

We spoke with Lee Anne Grant, Head of Business Development and Partnerships at Brandless, to discuss why they chose to sell community over products, why the store generated so much traffic, plus helpful tips for startups looking to plan their first pop-up store.

Brandless – Photo: Matthew Simmons Getty
  • What did your customers love about this pop-up experience?

Whether people were familiar with Brandless, or had never tried it before, they loved the opportunity to experience our products in real life. We had several spaces for people to taste everything from our non-GMO crackers and organic sauces, to our Fair Trade cold brew coffee and tea, and these were all a hit. People were wowed by the breadth of our assortment.

Most of all, people were curious. They wanted to learn something new. Most people don’t know what it means to be lean and cruelty-free in beauty and personal care, or non-toxic and EPA Safer Choice certified in household cleaning supplies. We’ve always valued conversations and authentic connection with our customers, and the pop-up store allowed us to take this one step further by getting to know them in person, and hearing their direct feedback around what they loved about Brandless and what their values were.

Brandless – Photo: Matthew Simmons Getty
  • Why did you choose this location?

We chose Los Angeles as the location for our first pop-up store not because it’s our top city, but because it’s emblematic of our city: it has a diversity of values (vegan, gluten-free, etc), income levels, and is home to so many thought leaders in the social good, entrepreneurship, wellness and food communities who could host daily programming within the space and that we could share out to our community across the US. We were also able to connect with close community members in the LA area and invite groups like the Vegans of LA to spend time with us and share their stories.

  • What is your advice for brands deciding on a pop-up location?

Brands should recognize that, even if their community lives all across the country, like ours does, they should pick a place where they can learn the most. For us, we were focused on content creation, so LA made sense. While the pop-up was based in Los Angeles, we created several experiences that were streamed live nationally, so people could be a part of the excitement from their home states and we could engage with them everywhere.

Brandless – Photo: Matthew Simmons Getty
  • Why did you chose this specific space?

Our product is modern and clean, so we wanted something bright and warm as a complement. We fell in love with the big windows and exposed brick of our storefront. The pop-up store was all about community interaction and engagement, so we loved the big open space for demos and conversations and lots and lots of bean bags. And we loved that there were dressing rooms that could easily turn into a reflective, intimate Instagram and intention area.

  • What traffic did it generate?

The foot and online traffic that we generated exceeded all of our expectations. We hosted over 30 events with speakers coming in to share their stories, and people heard about us or walked by and came in to get a better look at what we were up to throughout the entire pop-up experience. And we were so happy with the digital traffic we received: to our website, to Facebook, and to Instagram. We saw #brandlesslife love all across the US!

Brandless – Photo: Matthew Simmons Getty
Brandless – Photo: Matthew Simmons Getty

Ready to choose your next pop-up space?

Arielle Crane
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