So Your Pop-Up Event Failed! HHBE Case Study

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The COVID-19 Pandemic made things extremely hard on businesses; especially small businesses who make under USD1 Million dollars quarterly. The pandemic also forced several businesses in the Entertainment Industry which includes: Health, Wellness and Beauty to close their doors and certain events we were used to, became a thing of the past.

As we start to move closer to the post-pandemic era, though other variants and other disease types have been discovered, many businesses are timidly coming back to the light. This involves risk, which could either make or break the business and if not done correctly, could push them further into debt or even worse, become obsolete.

So Your Pop-Up Event Failed! HHBE Case Study

Pop Up shop

As it relates to risks, one event type re-emerged in 2022 in the form of Pop-Ups which were popular between 2017 – 2018. 

If you look back far enough, you can find the first seasonal pop-ups in the 13th-century Christmas markets that started in Vienna and spread out across Europe, where vendors sold seasonable treats and crafts. – Clyde.com 

What Is a Pop-Up

Pop-ups are a low-risk way for certain businesses to bring a portion of their products and services to clients for a short-lived or temporary time. Businesses do Pop-ups in two (2) ways:

  1. As the Host, where they work with sponsors to offset the costs for things including venue, electricity, set-up and so on and invite other businesses to attend.
  2. As a Vendor where they pay a fee to display and sell their products and services. Based on the event type, they might have to pay a separate fee for a table or tent.

Pop-ups are a great idea regardless of the size of the brand as it is a great way to appeal to a wider audience and bring your products and services to your own target audience.

In point 1 above, we mentioned hosting a Pop-up as a brand, and today, we will be looking at a few of the factors that caused a local brand we shall refer to as HHBE to not receive the return on investment and ultimately not have the best results as perceived by the general populace.

Background on HHBE

#HHBE’s concept was ignited in November 2018, with the goal of creating a fun, inspirational, creative, interactive, and educational shopping environment to celebrate women, their beauty, and what makes them uniquely beautiful! Our first series of events was launched in April 2019 in Kingston, Jamaica, to a collective of amazing women & men! #HHBE is structured as a high-energy event that sparks conversations among women serving as the destination for local and international brands!

This year’s event was heavily promoted mainly through Social Media channels like Instagram and Facebook as well as traditional Media like TV, newspapers, and Radio. They also have an active email list where emails were sent regularly, informing individuals of where and how to purchase tickets as well as other pertinent information. However, upon arriving at the actual event, it would seem no marketing was done, so what went wrong? Based on research as a Certified Digital Marketing Professional and event Patron, here are a few things I came up with:

Everything That Went Wrong

  1. Wrong Timing: As it relates to events, timing is everything! Being that the entire world is experiencing a Heat Wave and fewer people want to be outside, maybe a much cooler month like October or November could have been considered. This would have been perfect as it would be a great way to be top of mind before the Christmas Shopping Rush and this is the time people are starting to shop for gifts or update their collections. The event was also held during the Emancipation Weekend which is party season in Jamaica so more people will be at other events. There were also other events being held like Denbigh that took a significant portion of the audience.
  2. Sponsorship Not Aligned to Brand Values: When I arrived at the event, the first brand I saw was a snack brand that produces things like Crackers and a variety of biscuits. Snacks and Haircare, Skincare, and Beauty products do not mix in any way shape, or form, but I understand that they might have covered the bulk of the expenses. When hosting events, sponsorship is an important aspect as it helps to offset costs, pay the team, and helps to make your brand credible as people will see that your brand is of value if you are working with a well-known brand. On the other hand of this, A local haircare brand was another sponsor which made more sense than the snack brand, but it was to the far side of the venue that you would not notice unless you are familiar with the brand. Also in the goody bag, I received two packs of crackers that had nothing to do with the event, that I could have easily purchased myself.
  3. Not knowing the target audience: It was evident the brand did not know who its target audience was. I glanced around and saw people in their 50s and their grandchildren who were mere observers who did not do much purchasing. All the working class professionals were on the North coast enjoying the festivities of the popular Emancipation Holiday, with the exception of a few others who were accompanying older or younger relatives.

Tips On How to Have the Best Results for Your Pop-Up

Pop Up Shop Failure

  1. Think of it as a test.

A retailer who hasn’t dipped their toes in brick and mortar yet should think about it more in terms of a marketing and acquisition test, Don’t be afraid to try something new and get new potential customers familiar with your  brand. You want them to have a great impression versus trying to push hard on sales at first. Testing is the best way to approach it.

  1. Don’t chase every opportunity—find the right one.

Yes, we’ve done all this work to convince you that pop-ups are the greatest thing to hit retail since the online shopping cart, but don’t rush into launching a pop-up that doesn’t make sense,“Is the opportunity a good fit? If it doesn’t make immediate sense to you, think about how confusing it will be to others. That means understanding the point-in-time goals as well as thinking about your larger brand experience. Think about the long-tail opportunities and what you can do next to continue the excitement.

  1. Identify the exact audience you’re serving.

With a pop-up, you can also think hyper-local. What community will you be able to serve and how can you connect with them? Can you make it a super special brand experience?


While Pop-ups are a great way to build brand awareness, They can be a great way for brands to lose their credibility, if not done correctly. If you have a business or brand without a brick-and-mortar store, Pop-ups are a great way into the market provided that you have done your research to see what works best for you.

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Disclaimer: This Case study was not intended to showcase a brand mentioned in a negative light, but a way to showcase a few mistakes and suggestions for improvement. 

#So your Pop-Up Event Failed! HHBE Case Study

#So your Pop-Up Event Failed! HHBE Case Study

#So your Pop-Up Event Failed! HHBE Case Study

#So your Pop-Up Event Failed! HHBE Case Study

#So your Pop-Up Event Failed! HHBE Case Study

#So your Pop-Up Event Failed! HHBE Case Study

Haute People was launched in September 2011 as a Fashion Blog and has grown into a Lifestyle Blog. The Term “Haute” can be defined as “Fashionably Elegant” or of High Quality. This blog looks at topics from Beauty, Fashion, Entertainment, Hair Trends, Pop Culture as well as exciting new features every month. A favorite among our readers is “Behind The Seams” where influential people from the Creative Industries are featured. . Haute People are Smart, Bold, Creative and Individualistic. If you have an innate passion for Lifestyle, Fashion and all things current, you are HAUTE.

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