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How to source products for your popup shop

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by Startacus Admin

If you are a regular visitor to Startacus, you will know that over recent weeks we have been outlining the specifics of setting up a popup shop with a renewed spirit and vigour.

So far in the series we have brought you ‘How to set up a popup shop’, ‘How to select and secure a location for your popup shop’ and ‘The legalities of setting up a popup shop’.  Now we continue with this natural progression to give you some advice on how to source products for your popup shop, enjoy!

What type of popup shop?popup shop

It might seem an obvious statement to make but the products you stock in your popup shop will be highly dependent on what type of popup shop you have and crucially what your reason for having one is. As we see it there are 4 main types of popup shop:

  • A popup shop which is intended to test the market for a potential permanent store - In which case you will want to sell products which give a realistic cross section of the products your permanent store will house

  • A seasonal popup shop - These are established in order to make the most of seasonal changes in consumer buying habits for example around Halloween and Christmas

  • A plain old popup shop - One which is intended as a temporary venture to either make some money or simply give the operator the opportunity to gain some extra experience of the retail market in a relative low risk way

  • A popup shop which stocks the products of an existing store/stores to either clear merchandise or assess the possibility for a more permanent store

To avoid confusion (or at least try to) we will assume that you have a fair idea of the products which you want to have in your popup shop and focus giving you some advice on how to get them.


A wholesaler is an establishment which purchases large quantities of goods with the intention of selling these products as merchandise for retailers rather than to the public.  

Wholesalers can be a great place to find products for your popup shops as they allow you to have a high margin on the goods that you sell but also they have a very large range of stock meaning that you have plenty of choice. They are also a quick and convenient way of purchasing stock particularly at short notice.

Many people make the mistake of assuming that their business is too small to utilize the services of a wholesaler. In truth however wholesalers will be happy to sell to any trader, big or small, assuming of course that they intend to sell on the goods within a retail environment.  Your business does not need to be a Ltd company either, sole traders are perfectly welcome and this makes them a great place to find products to stock in your popup shop.

  • Some wholesalers (although very few) prefer to ensure bulk buying by implementing a high minimum spending limit, however in most cases the minimum spending limit will be low and well within the reach of someone popup shopsetting up a popup shop.  It may transpire that a wholesaler will require proof that you intend to use the goods purchased as merchandise for a commercial business, in which case the statement of your business bank account, a business card, or any other official documentation connected to the business should be sufficient.

  • You will probably be aware that many wholesalers now offer trade cards as a way of verifying your intentions and encouraging customer loyalty. The good news is that these cards are usually free and can be issued in minutes by simply filling out a form and providing appropriate documentation of your businesses such as those mentioned above.  Thereafter your card will make the process of visiting and buying from a wholesaler as quick and smooth as possible.  Furthermore some wholesalers will accept the card of a different wholesaler as proof of your trader status and therefore this actually makes it a bit easier to shop around and try a number of different establishments in your area.  

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Published on: 4th November 2013

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