Candy Kittens: Why pop-up shops are a long-term strategy

13 Feb 2015

Candy Kittens

Candy Kittens was founded by Made in Chelsea star, Jamie Laing in 2012. His vision was to create a fashionable confectionary brand that challenged some of the dated traditions of the market. Since their launch Candy Kittens has become the best-selling confectionary in Selfridges and have recently expanded to Waitrose stores nationwide.

Pop-up shops have played a big role in Candy Kitten’s marketing strategy - they’ve done 17 in total at different locations across the UK. Their most recent one has launched in Covent Garden just in time for the Valentine’s Day. Appear Here talked to the Brand Director of Candy Kittens, Ed Williams, to learn what role pop-up shops have played in the success of the brand...

Do you see pop-up shops as a long-term marketing strategy?

Yes, we do pop-ups regularly, and the one in Covent Garden is our 17th already. It’s part of our marketing and retail strategies combined. Pop-up shops are a chance for us to bring to life the Candy Kittens experience in a physical space and communicate our brand story in parts of the country where people do not know us very well yet. So whether it’s in London or more regionally - it’s very important for our brand. By launching a store in Covent garden we are positioning ourselves on the same level as the brands around us, which sends out a positive brand message.

Candy Kittens

Are pop up shops a key communication channel for your brand?

Yes, definitely. We have about four campaigns during the year and the one running at the moment is called “Love Candy” - tying in with Valentine's Day. The campaign will run for a month and a half and the pop-up shop will be the flagship for it - a focal point where it all comes together.

How important is location when it comes to pop-ups?

It is tremendously important. For instance, we’ve noticed that the further away from London we go, the more excitement we get from the public. This is especially true when we appear in a location we’ve never been before. That’s the great part about pop-ups, they let you test new locations, new ideas, new products on different demographics. It’s how we know that certain flavours are more popular in Leeds than in London, each one helps us learn more about our customers.

Candy Kittens

Have your pop-ups affected the Candy Kittens sales?

The only way for people to buy our product directly is through our website or a pop-up shop. The pop-ups drive extra traffic to our website and we notice a significant uplift around the time of the pop-up shop and particularly when it closes. Promoting the website is another advantage of doing a pop-up shop. They also help us build our email database and boost our social media following.

What’s been the most successful pop-up you’ve done so far?

The most successful is probably the one we did in Trinity Leeds. It’s a new shopping center that opened a year and a half ago and we had a very prime location there for the opening. Initially we booked the space for a week and then ended up staying for three. It was very successful since we were in the middle of the busy launch, people were travelling from all over the north to come see the new shopping center, which attracted a lot of footfall. When you look for an ideal pop-up space you should try to make it coincide with local or national event. We try to do all our pop-ups around such events, so next one should be around Easter. Look out for alternatives to boring easter eggs!

Candy Kittens

Do you consider opening up a permanent store at some point in the future?

Well, advantages of pop-ups are very clear and for us it’s very important to keep that excitement of a pop-up and the entertainment factor that comes with it, which would be difficult to maintain in a permanent store every single day of the year.

What should people expect to get from visiting your store?

We see people coming in not just for candy, but for a chance to interact with the brand. So we try to make sure that everybody leaves Candy Kittens with a positive experience whether they bought something or not. We try to create the entertainment element that would make a lasting impression of what Candy Kittens is all about.

Candy Kittens

Ed Williams, Brand Director of Candy Kittens