In the first of our “Spotlight On…” series, we feature Eugenie Solkow, the owner of The Pop Up Shop, located in Shop E1 at Mainstream Mall.
You can’t miss The Pop Up Shop when you visit the mall. Located with sweeping views towards the beach, next to the parking area outside Woolies, the shop’s glass fronted windows display a feast of beautiful and colourful ladies wear that would have the most hardened shopper weak at the knees. From active wear to select evening wear and everything in between, including accessories and a gifting range, The Pop Up Shop is the perfect spot to treat yourself to a fabulous new outfit for everyday wear or a special function.
We caught up with Eugenie and chatted all things retail, including her stint as an air hostess and her love of collaborating with local designers.
We love having you at the mall. But we’d love to get to know the person behind the brand and what brought you to Mainstream Mall. Indulge us!
ES. It’s a long story that started at The Waterfront many moons ago. I founded, along with my then-partners, The Yacht Squadron, a nautical clothing shop that was one of the first retailers at the newly developed V&A Waterfront back in 1991. Eventually I bought my partners out and ran an extremely successful business until a few incidents set me on the path that would lead me to my new venture, The Pop Up Shop. Firstly the Waterfront restructured their layout and my shop was moved from its location, which coincided with the dreadful Cape Town drought and drop in tourists. I ended up closing The Yacht Squadron and wound up with stock I needed to sell, and fast. An empty shop at Mainstream Mall just spoke to me and I negotiated a short lease. Then I figured that If I’m in this space of needing to sell stock, there must be other designers in the same boat. I put my feelers out and before I knew it, I had created a pop up shop with my and a few other designer’s garments. This was the start of my Pop Up Shop concept which has taken me to a few other locations in and around Cape Town, including 16 Rails at Constantia Village and at Broadacres Mall in Johannesburg. My new spot at Mainstream Mall is the perfect location with high visibility and a market hungry for affordable yet on-point fashion.
Tell us something about you, your brand or your journey that may surprise your customers.
ES. I don’t run a solo operation. I am actually in a collaboration with many different designers who are all locals with a flair for creating beautiful fashion. I provide the space and marketing and they provide me with their stock. It’s a win-win for all of us, as well as our customers who are supporting local designers – their fellow moms, friends and entrepreneurs. If it weren’t for them The Pop Up Shop would not exist.
Tell us a bit about some of the brands you stock and why you love them.
ES. Gosh where to start. I collaborate with up to fifteen designers at a time. Most are female entrepreneurs who started out selling their garments at markets – I simply give their brand another outlet and the awareness is fabulous for them. I am very specific about who I partner with – we need to both have a common goal and they need to realise it’s a journey, where we slowly but surely grow their following. A few of the brands we stock include Dana L Designs, Vanilla rose, Kate Jordan, Flaunt, Nulu Yogawear, Caron, Made With Love, Livitup, Big Love, Julze Shoes and So Soul. We are always on the lookout for new, exciting clothing brands.
If you weren’t in your chosen profession, what would you be doing now?
ES. Well, following on from my two and a half year stint as an air hostess in my early twenties, I just love travelling so if I could be doing something else it would probably be lying on a beach in Bali. But seriously, I’ve always loved seeing what is in demand and where to make a good profit. I would probably still be in retail, but in something like the pet food market. People spend a lot of money on their pets! And It’s less complicated than clothing!
Why did you choose Hout Bay and Mainstream Mall as your base?
ES. I live in Hout Bay and it just seemed the natural evolution for my career. For a shop like mine, visibility is key and location is everything. I’ve been lucky enough to have had my Pop up in various locations around the mall throughout the last year, but our current location is certainly the best.
What “special something” do you add to your service delivery to make it worthwhile visiting you?
ES. I love the fact that I am exposing small yet growing brands to customers, helping them to become well-known and trusted. I also love introducing customers to these brands and seeing the delight on their faces when they find a brand they love.
Visit The Pop Up shop the next time you’re at Mainstream Mall and support local! You may just find that perfect outfit.