Pop-Ups Create Brand Awareness for Innovative New Denim Brand

Photo: Rhonda Dent Photography

Photo: Rhonda Dent Photography

Vancouver-based denim brand Dish Jeans is using multiple pop-up locations to build awareness for its brand, as well as its new men's technical denim brand. We spoke with ‎Co-Founder/President of parent company Pimlico Performance Apparel Ltd.'s Gary Lenett to learn more, and we consulted with a retail expert to gain insight into the benefits of pop-ups. 

Dish Jeans recently expanded to include a new "function meets fashion" men's denim line, called DU-ER. Recognizing the new 'athleisure' demographic, Mr. Lenett developed two proprietary fabrics for the line. The fabric, L2X (leisure to extreme) and N2X (nature to extreme), combine COOLMAX® fabric and TENCEL® to offer moisture management, temperature control, and anti-bacterial properties. Mr. Lenett also innovated the design to include lined pockets that protect males against cell-phone radiation and dark/reflective branding that can be spotted by night drivers, as the denim is fit for bike commuting. The lightweight jean has five times the stretch of regular denim for males, allowing it to be worn by a wide demographic of active people.

Both the women's Dish Jeans line and the new DU-ER men's line wholesale in a number of top retailers. To heighten brand awareness and to enhance its wholesale accounts, Mr. Lenett explained how his company is seeking temporary pop-up retail space between about 1,000 square feet and 2,000 square feet. Each location will remain open for about four weeks, hosting a variety of events for shoppers. The company's first pop-up recently opened in Vancouver's Railtown area, adjacent to the company's design studio. 

Founder Gary Lenett has over 25 years in the denim industry and extensive experience collaborating with brands including Levi Strauss, Wrangler, Guess, Eddie Bauer, Nordstroms, Banana Republic, Nike (Michael Jordan), Harley Davidson and Lululemon (Ococco). Photo: Rhonda Dent Photography

Founder Gary Lenett has over 25 years in the denim industry and extensive experience collaborating with brands including Levi Strauss, Wrangler, Guess, Eddie Bauer, Nordstroms, Banana Republic, Nike (Michael Jordan), Harley Davidson and Lululemon (Ococco). Photo: Rhonda Dent Photography

The pop-up trend is "as much as an event as a store" according to Mr. Lenett. Besides its Vancouver pop-up and a number of planned U.S. locations, Mr. Lenett says that Dish Jeans may roll-out pop-ups in markets including Calgary, Toronto and Montreal. The brand will announce these closer to their opening dates. 

We spoke with retail expert Farla Efros, President of leading retail consultancy HRC Advisory, to discuss the pop-up trend. Ms. Efros explained that pop-up shops are "here to stay" and that pop-ups can bridge the gap between online and offline, as brands look to build awareness, drive loyalty, and convert shoppers into buyers. She noted that the shorter commitment and lower-cost of pop-ups make them attractive to some retailers, especially as pop-ups require little lead time. By the nature of their "limited engagement" format, pop-ups can generate brand excitement, encourage planned purchases, and create an overall buzz that may not otherwise be achieved. 

Ms. Efros further explained that pop-ups can be leveraged as brand development 'labs', testing new products in new markets, while reaching new customers. For pure-play retailers, the number one goal of a pop-up is to create a direct connection with the customer, she said. When done successfully, these customers will continue shopping with the brand either online, or with its local wholesalers, if applicable. 

Canadian Retail News From Around The Web: June 24, 2015