Big plans for The Pop Up Marketing agency

Big plans for The Pop Up Marketing agency

Agency executes pop up shop events for small and medium-sized businesses

BY ABBION ROBINSON
Business reporter
robinsona@jamaicaobserver.com

Sunday, January 19, 2020

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IF one has dreams of exploiting a gap in the market and staging a regional expo of cultural expression through business and entrepreneurship, it should be noted that it takes effort and determination. One doesn't simply pop up as an industry-leading innovator. Unless of course, you're Akeem Marriott of The Pop Up Marketing Agency.

Inspired by personal experiences from trade shows as vendors, 27-year-old Akeem and his business partner Toni-Ann Watson created The Pop Up Marketing Agency platform for small and medium-sized businesses in July 2018, with the mission to provide a space for entrepreneurs to showcase their talents and crafts. The agency plans and executes pop-up shop events under the name 876 Pop Up.

Marriott recalls that in the beginning, he had to use his savings and funding from other business ventures to fund the business, but emphasised that the experience has been rewarding.

“We were shocked at the positive responses we received on our first event and genuinely appreciative of the continued support. Up to 75 per cent to 80 per cent of sign-ups for each event came from new vendors, and we received an average of 200+ registrations,” he toldSunday Finance.

“Our event has served as the launching ground for a lot of businesses and gave them the platform to grow and provide a physical space from new and existing customers. They express their gratitude and appreciation every chance they get. Also, customers get great deals and meet the people behind an online business they have been supporting.”

Today, the business is managed by Marriott and Watson, with a team of five who have various responsibilities, which include event set-up and organisation, booth assignments, vetting of businesses, and other administrative tasks.

“We do online research and social media checks. If the business has a location, we sometimes visit and even engage their customers. If no online footprint or physical location is available, we ask the owners to send us detailed information on the business.

Marriott boasted that the team has planned and executed seven events to date, but his greatest achievement so far has been the successful hosting of three 876 Pop Up events over the Christmas season.

“It was very hectic, but we were able to pull through,” Marriott shared. “I learnt the true meaning of Murphy's Law and to always have a mitigation plan.”

For its anniversary event in November, the agency specially acknowledged vendors Simone Smith of Simantics JA, Vanessa Morris of Let's Get Fab JA and Misheka Bennett of Kitty Klenz for their unwavering support and participation in all the events held.

“I saw the event being advertised online, and I reached out to them. From then on I have been involved in the events. As a small business owner, I don't have a physical store, so people were able to come and view my products. Even if they don't buy same time, they follow my[Instagram]page and direct message me,” Smith toldSunday Finance. Simantics JA offers coconut and beaded handmade jewellry and other accessories.

“Actually, someone who I met at the 876 Pop Up I became very close friends [with] and sometimes we will go the events together. I gained great friendships and support from the other entrepreneurs there. It builds a social network as we're all trying, and we push each other even more,” she continued.

Morris, a beauty cosmetics and personal care products provider, also recalled looking for a different avenue to display her products to customers.

“My experience has been wonderful, because [at the events] you're able to meet different kinds of people and meet and interact with customers or people who are interested in your products,” she shared.

Marriott defines success by the growth of the businesses and the people he associates himself with.

“ If I'm able to have a positive impact on others — that is my success.

My drive to succeed comes from the satisfaction I g et from the growth of others, which [translates] to personal and professional growth for me. After each event I set new goals for the business to keep us on track and maintain the growth,” he said.

However, considering himself a practical man, Marriott emphasised the importance of understanding the risks when making the leap from passion and interest to entrepreneurship.

“[People say] 'do what you love, and mon ey will follow', but for me, loving what you do isn t enough to make it w ork. In any business venture, the entrepreneur must understand the majority of the aspects that affect the business — especially the finances. The aim of any business is to make a profit, so one should be practical and fair when assessing a business venture, whether for love or any other reason,” he advised.

Marriott revealed that in expanding the Pop Up Marketing Agency, he aims to begin hosting 876 Pop Up and other events outside of Kingston and, ultimately, in other countries.

He projected that the business has the potential to evolve into a Caribbean festival for entrepreneurs and creatives to showcase their goods and services.

Such goals may become overwhelming or seem intimidating. Still, Marriott assures that while he enjoys what he does, remaining focused is not always easy. But his goals, business partner and the team have kept him motivated. He added that the vendors also play a big part.

“We do this for them, and they make it what it is. We aim to please our vendors and use whatever constructive criticism we receive to build our business and try to make it better for our supporters and us. We have met some wonderful people with awesome businesses on our journey and we can truly say we have a great relationship with the majority of our vendors,” he said.


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