3 Lessons From My First Pop-Up Barbershop

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Photo taken by Isabel Figueroa

Scissors & Clippers was not my first event but it was definitely the first of its kind for me; a pop-up barbershop and exhibition. While everything I learned was specific to this type of event, I wanted to pull out 3 things I learned that I think everyone should consider when putting on their own event.

1. Think about the length of time.

This pop-up ran for 2 days, 12 hours a day. At first I thought this was a great idea because the longer we were open, the more people we could attract. But there were a few things I never really considered. How many people really want to be getting their hair cut or check out an exhibition before 11am on a Saturday or after 8pm on a Saturday or Sunday? While we were booked up most of the time. Those were the two areas of the day that stood out and it was a little annoying since I could’ve started later (more sleep) and ended earlier (more sleep). So consider how long your event really needs to be. Is it the kind where someone would be willing be there at 10am or 9pm? And if you can’t afford extra help, are you really okay with being there for 12 hours straight?

2. Think about the number of barbers.

This one is pretty specific but it’s still a numbers game. Did I really need to have 4 barbers all day, every day? When I was initially planning this pop-up, I actually wanted more because 4 felt small. I was really thinking about how many barbers I could put in the spotlight and not how many clients I would need in the chair. When I eventually looked at the numbers from a client standpoint, that’s when I realized I was insane. If I had 4 barbers with 14 slots each for 2 days, I would need 112 clients to book an appointment if we maxed out. Sadly but luckily a few barbers dropped out at the last minute, and that lowered the bar we had to reach. However, if they hadn’t, I can’t help but wonder if we would’ve made it close to that number our first time. On one hand, this feels like a cop out but on the other hand, you don’t want to bite off more than you can chew. Mostly though, I was scared to disappoint my barbers and waste their time.

3. Get feedback in person.

I’m so used to hiding behind a screen that I missed the opportunity to get written feedback in person. While I had planned on collecting feedback after the event, I should’ve remembered how low email open rates can be. Getting feedback from each client right after their haircut and before they left would’ve been the perfect opportunity since they were willing, ready and by the looks of it, pretty happy.

I also learned a few smaller lessons:

  • Ladies, don’t wear heels if you plan to stand for 12 hours straight. I had back pain for almost a week.
  • If you can, always get someone to help with set up and take down. Shout out to Joe (friend) and Sandy (venue host) for helping me!
  • Walk through the event day a few times and more than a week in advance so you can purchase items that need to be shipped in a timely manner.
  • This should go without saying but having business cards is still a good way to connect with your visitors when you can’t one on one.
  • If there is more than one attraction for your event (in my case I also had the exhibition), consider why people would want to attend to determine marketing strategy, cost, if people should pay to enter or pay to interact and if it’s worth it.

I learned a lot from my first pop-up barbershop and exhibition. While you may be doing something completely different, I hope some of these lessons help you plan yours.

P.S. Check out photos from the event on Facebook and a press video by Pavement Pieces! 🤗

Do it with passion or not at all,
– Kim Goulbourne aka “Bourn”

CommentsWhat have you learned from your events?

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