How to set up shop on a start-up's budget

16 Jul 2015

The retail design agency, Not Tom, share their top tips for creating stunning experiences on a start-up’s budget.

design pop-up on a budget

Retail is constantly evolving and in the digital age having a physical presence where your customers can experience your brand is key to driving home your story. You’ve had your winning idea and put it to work but a temporary retail space is the perfect platform to take your business to the next level.

However, though raw space is brimming with potential, an empty shell can also be pretty daunting. How do you use your temporary space to reflect your brand? What does a great fit-out need to deliver the best customer experience? And perhaps most importantly, how do you achieve your dream set-up on a start-up’s budget?

design pop-up on a budget

At Not Tom we believe in simple, functional and flexible design, using honest materials to design and produce everything from the build to bespoke furniture, signage and little fixtures and fittings. To help you get the most out of your temporary retail space, here are our top tips for fit-outs that pop on a budget:

Create your story

A temporary retail space is your chance to immerse your customer in the pillars of your brand. Think about more than just the look, but instead how your brand would feel. Materials, lighting and layout – all are details to help create a multi-layered experience.

design pop-up on a budget

Shopping experience

Create a space where your customers will want to linger. Think about your target market and design an environment they want to be in. Ask this group of people what they want; you might be surprised with their answers.

design pop-up on a budget

Function over all

Functionality is king: thoughtfully designed spaces value usability just as much as aesthetics. List the important functions of your space. This will be your brief and you should keep referring back to it as you go.

design pop-up on a budget

Keep it simple

Don’t be scared to really pare it down. It’s easy to be distracted by showy details, but instead focus your budget on a few key pieces. Not only does this generally look more tasteful, it also creates more impact.

Get creative

Simple, cost efficient materials can make just as big a statement as their more expensive counterparts when used en masse or in interesting ways. Resourceful design makes the ordinary extraordinary.

design pop-up on a budget

Enlist an expert

Think about finding space in your budget to enlist someone who can design value into your fit-out right from the word go. Start-up budgets can be tight, but investing in good design can save you money later down the line.

Set a realistic budget

Be open and honest about your budget if you are asking anyone to design or make anything for you. Transparency will help you all achieve the best result within the time and cost limitations that come with fitting out a pop-up.

Find more pop-up tips in our guides.

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