Nothing lights up a New Yorker’s Instagram feed brighter than a cool new pop-up. In fact, there are Instagram accounts solely dedicated to highlighting the best pop-ups in the area, complete with dates, locations and a sneak peek inside.
SHOWFIELDS, a space that hosts rotating direct-to-consumer (D2C) brands, just opened to the public on Friday as a way to tap into this Big Pop-up Energy.
“The benefit of SHOWFIELDS on the consumer side is that it gives people the opportunity to discover and interact with brands that they normally only see online,” said Co-founder and CEO Tal Zvi Nathanel. “It’s not about someone walking out of SHOWFIELDS with just a shopping bag — it’s about someone walking out of SHOWFIELDS having just had a mind-blowing experience.”
It’s not about someone walking out of SHOWFIELDS with just a shopping bag — it’s about someone walking out of SHOWFIELDS having just had a mind-blowing experience.”
And “experience” is a word you’ll often find plastered across anything related to the millennial generation. As the age group most commonly associated with “doing it for the ‘gram,” millennials are often the biggest target audience for pop-ups.
“[Pop-ups are] new, fresh, experiential and by definition, will go away soon,” said Nathanel. “So you need to be there before they’re gone. We have found that the experience is valuable to all generations, but millennials pushed open the door for experiential retail for all.”
The D2C brands featured in the space are given the opportunity to engage with customers on a more personal level. From smelling Nuria’s vegan skincare products to physically touching the coffee grinds used in Frank Body’s scrubs, visitors are given a total sensory experience that can’t be done behind a screen.
Essentially, no matter how flashy or modern a brand, there must be some traditional aspects in order to relate to consumers and provide trust.
“Across the board, brands understand today that they need to be both physical and digital in order to truly thrive and manifest brand penetration in a market,” said Nathanel. “The problem is that going physical, and surely doing it well, is hard. It requires time, skills and resources most brands don’t have.”
SHOWFIELDS lowers the barriers to physical retail and makes it more accessible for D2C brands. The opening lineup includes companies like The Farmer’s Dog, Meural, Function of Beauty and other brands powered by Shopify. SHOWFIELDS generates revenue through the monthly membership agreements that they have with each brand — and they never touch sales.
“D2C models are popular because the brand owns 100 percent of their sales,” said Nathanel. “SHOWFIELDS is a platform for amplification for the brands that we work with.”