Labor Day “Pop-Up” Retail Experience

As many of you know, I enjoy cartooning and spend most of my free time painting and drawing. Recently, I came up with a series of T-shirt designs that are reminiscent of the old Wacky Packages collector cards. The Wacky Packages images are focused on poking fun at packaging, but the messages in my designs are more about the person wearing the shirt, as opposed to making fun of a specific product. I have a friend who has the latest digital dye-sublimation printing equipment; we took a chance and invested a lot of time and money to see if the public would embrace these designs.

Over Labor Day weekend, we set up a “Pop- Up” retail store and spent 12-hour days working the Dazed Tees booth at The Taste of Colorado. It was quite interesting to observe the reactions of this very diverse crowd of shoppers. Thousands of people passed in front of our booth, many stopping in their tracks, taking the time to study, read, purchase, and laugh at my designs. I tried to create silly, simple, and iconic images that would make people laugh at themselves and spark memories of when ads and packaging were more fun and in your your face.

The uniqueness of the designs was the key; they were unexpected, refreshing, and different than anything else at the fair. We also printed on high-quality performance-apparel shirts. We had already determined our price point before the show, but I walked through the entire venue and asked each vendor about their price points. We were less expensive than most ($15) while offering something original by a local Denver artist (me).

The cross section of consumers was huge: teenagers, baby boomers, and all ethnicities. Even old ladies were stopping, looking, and laughing out loud. We set up our booth with to have a clean look (white tent and white table cloths) so the designs really popped. I also took time to talk to the consumers to find out what drew them in and which designs appealed to them and why. It was a great experience, and I learned more about consumers in a totally different kind of retail environment. I’m not going to quit my day job, but I extend my thanks to those of you from Integer who stopped in. It was nice to have friends helping me out and experiencing the circus environment with me.

Contributed by: Tom Pounders