Online Activewear Brand POPFLEX Launches its First-ever Pop-up Shop Experience

Popflex_2023_woman looks in mirror_credit popflex

POPFLEX introduced its first puffer coat at the pop-up, along with other activewear items from its newest line.

In the absence of storefronts and capturing passersby, e-commerce brands rely heavily on social media influencers. But keeping a social media community engaged and loyal in this competitive space is driving online retailers like activewear brand POPFLEX to explore experiential marketing. POPFLEX’s first-ever pop-up, Cloud Playground, in December hosted invited influencers (with followers ranging from 5,000 to 8 million) and its most loyal customers in a multilevel space where they enjoyed wellness moments, shareable backdrops and the opportunity to shop a new collection.

“We wanted to test two things: One, test an in-person experience with our influencer and creator community and give them an opportunity to build relationships with our team so we could really deepen the partnership we have with them. And two, connect with our fans and community of POPFLEX customers,” says Jen-Ai Notman, vp-marketing at POPFLEX.

Social media is a critical channel for POPFLEX, whose ceo and lead designer, Cassey Ho, is a certified Pilates and fitness instructor who rose to popularity with her Blogilates YouTube channel. Ho often jumps on social to show off the sketches and development processes behind t-shirt, leggings, hoodie and skort designs, and to solicit feedback in the comments. POPFLEX team members and brand ambassadors also model the apparel and their various features in Instagram posts and TikTok videos.

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Popflex_2023_cloth tree installation_credit popflex

Attendees could write a wish on a piece of fabric and clothespin it to POPFLEX’s “Dream Tree.”

But in bringing the active online community together for an in-person event, POPFLEX took full advantage of the opportunity to immerse the attendees in its product textures, visuals and sneak peeks. The two-story venue was decked out in a white and pastel color scheme and featured activations on the first floor and a shop on the second.

Highlights included a “Dream Tree” engagement, where attendees were encouraged to write down their wishes on small strips of fabric and pin them to a decorative tree with clothespins. At the “Stairway to Heaven” backdrop, participants stood on a set of pink stairs in front of a blue-sky backdrop to make it seem like they were descending from puffy white clouds hanging overhead. A two-person cloud swing set completed the “ethereal” vibe.

Upstairs in the shop—featuring tables, racks and mannequins with POPFLEX’s new Ooey Gooey mockneck sweatshirts, sweatpants and lounge shorts, as well as the brand’s first puffer coat—product team members helped measure shoppers who were unsure of sizing, a pain point of buying clothes online.

“Menu cards” listed all of the products available for purchase, and attendees carried them around as they shopped to note styles and sizes they wanted to order. Afterward, they brought their lists to the checkout station where a fulfillment team sorted orders into bags, which were ready in 10 minutes. Attendees could also visit a design lab featuring styles POPFLEX is thinking about launching and vote on whether they’d like to see the style come out.

“We’re at this really fascinating time with d-to-c in retail, where we’re kind of pulling a 180. At the height of COVID, everything was online shopping and delivered to your door. People became more comfortable with that experience. But now, there is more of a case for retail presence. People kind of miss going into a store,” says Brittney Irwin, creative brand director at POPFLEX. “We’re going to see more and more d-to-c brands think about retail, whether that’s a store or more of a creative experience.”

While the event was only open to invited influencers and customers in the L.A. and surrounding areas, POPFLEX posted a teaser on social two days ahead to let followers know the brand was up to something special. On the day of the event, there was on average one piece of content posted on social media per attendee. POPFLEX then kept the conversation going by asking fans on social to comment where the brand should host its next event. The main feedback: Attendees wanted more products available at the pop-up shop and the opportunity to meet founder Cassey Ho—learnings for next time. (Agency: In-house.)

Take a Tour of the Cloud Playground:
@popflexactive Omg… we did it… We had our first-ever pop-up shop experience in LA! You guys literally made our 2022 dream come true. Thank you ❤️ Where should we have our next pop-up? 👀📍 #popflex #popupshop #fashiontiktok #fashiondesigner #popupevent #cloud #whatdreamsaremadeof #dreamcometrue ♬ What Dreams Are Made Of – Hilary Duff

Photo credit: POPFLEX

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