Thursday, May 03, 2007

Gone Soon

Back home in India when a makeshift store pops up on the sidewalk without warning, people complain about hawkers taking over the last inch of left to the pedestrian. Here in the US, it is a new trend in the retail industry. It is also upscale and fun. The same idea executed in a different context not to mention enviornments has completely different outcomes.

In a world of BlackBerries and instant messaging, there's a growing sense of haste in people's lives. In response, companies trying to get consumers' attention are trying to create a sense of urgency. For retailers, who need to get people into stores to try out their clothes, their shoes, and any other new products, the store itself is the new limited edition. So limited in fact that it may last a mere 96 hours. "There's a certain passion about things that shout 'act now!' and that has transpired into the way we shop too," says Claudine Gumbel, co-founder of Think PR, a New York fashion publicity firm.

In India street side stalls may look temporary but they really are not. Despite appearances to the contrary they really mean to stay and we all know that. The "act-now" factor does not come into play. We do get a taste of the western pop-up store when an artisans's fair rolls into town. That presents a very small window of opportunity to buy art and craft work from around the country within a few hundred square feet - it is usually slim pickings by the last day of the fair.

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