FACS Students Bring Small Business Ideas to Life With Pop-Up Shops
Walking through the Montview Student Union on a Friday in early November brings a new excitement and a feeling of drive, innovation and future creators. It is the Family and Consumer Sciences Department’s “pop-up shop” day.
On Nov. 12, 2021, the FACS 324: Specialty Markets class had its annual pop-up shop event. In this class, students are tasked with the challenge of brainstorming their own ideas for a product and bringing it to life. This class is only offered in the fall, so students begin thinking of designs early in the year in preparation for the November event.
The Specialty Markets class teaches students the fundamentals of bringing an idea to life and how to efficiently market it. FACS 324 Professor Matalie Howard gives students free reign to create any product. Not only do students create a product to sell, but they also dive into the fundamentals of business.
The students form in-depth business plans, which they can use to build their businesses in the future. Students study market categories, research to create a product for a specialty market, write a detailed business plan for their start-up company and sell the product at a pop-up shop.
“I want to give the students a chance to put a practical application behind their desire to be in the fashion industries,” Howard said. “It is such a creative industry as well as a business-focused one.”
Howard explained that the process for creating a pop-up shop is much more in-depth than people might think. Students research trends, use color forecasting and conduct public surveys to target a specific demographic. Howard wants her students to not just create a product but to passionately bring their vision to life and do it well. Because these products will be sold in a public setting, the expectations are high.
The pop-up shop assignment has been an essential component of Howard’s class for five years, and it has proven to be successful each time. While this is an academic assignment, Howard also hopes that some of her students will see their greater potential and go on to create a bigger shop.
Victoria Cropper is a student in the FACS 324 class. Her business, Held Handbags, is a sustainable handbag company that uses recycled materials such as corduroy and denim to create multi-use bags. With her handbags, Cropper aims to provide an eco-friendly, everyday bag for carrying items while replacing plastic bags. In order to get the material, Cropper thrifted and went to yard sales to get pieces that would most likely end up getting thrown away.
“My vision for this product is to remind people that they are held by the Lord,” Cropper said. “Whether it be a man or woman, I want them to know that they are held and loved by the Creator.”
Students prepared for this pop-up shop event for a long time. Cropper, for example, created 10 bags for the event, each of them taking two hours to make.
Another student, Savannah Horton, created a business called Adornments from Above, selling beaded gold hoops in both big and small sizes. She made 22 sets of earrings for the pop-up shop, and it took her two full days to create them.
By the end of the event, many students sold out of their products and saw a demand for more. Many of them have plans to create online shops and sell their products in other locations.
Farmerie is a feature writer.