Celebrating the people behind British small businesses

Small business inspiration – unusual pop-up businesses

We’ve given you an introduction to pop-ups and shown you the steps to take when starting up your own – now get some inspiration from these fabulous and unusual pop-up stores!

The Depressed Cake Shop

Suzzle, 27 Brick Lane, 2-4th August 2013

Normally bakeries are full of pastel-coloured confections – but not this one, where all the cakes are grey on the outside. The reason? It’s raising awareness of mental health problems, and also raising money for charity CALM. Not only an original idea, but one that’s very worthwhile – so pop down to Brick Lane to pick up your own grey cake and contribute to a good cause at the same time. It’s only around for three days.

Pop-Up Ping Pong

Various locations and dates

For one night at a time, a disused space is occasionally transformed into ping-pong heaven. Battle with strangers or friends, refuel with whatever delicious nibbles are on offer, and have a go at the beer pong table. It’s a bit wacky, and a whole lot of fun.

Pop-Up Opera

Various locations and dates

Forget opera as something a bit stuffy and elitist – Pop-Up Opera brings opera to the mainstream, performing in venues from shops, to festivals, to pubs, without compromising on quality. All the performers are classically-trained and the costumes and production are faultless. A brilliant summer alternative to eyeglasses and theatre-boxes.

WAH nails at TopShop

TopShop Oxford Street, 9-9 Mon-Sat, 12-6

There are manicures, and then there are WAH-nicures. TopShop has many pop-ups on offer in its humungous flagship store, but WAH is our favourite. If you ever wanted animal-print, diamante, polka-dot, or anything else you can possibly think of on your talons, then you need to stop off here! Veterans to the pop-up game, they also have an outlet in pop-up development Boxpark.


Various locations and dates

Bit of a gaming enthusiast, but your heart truly lies with the videogames of yesteryear? Then meet fellow nerds at Reztron events – pop-up videogame evenings where you can battle to the death (virtually), all the while having a refreshing bevy and social experience. It beats sitting in a darkened room killing monsters.

The Art of Dining

Various locations and dates

Pop-up dining experiences are springing up all over the UK, but The Art of Dining is surely the most innovative. They run themed dinner-club evenings that run for a limited amount of time – for example, the night ‘Rations’, focussing on a forties-inspired menu. Not only does the food look brilliant but the set design is flawless, creating an unforgettable dining experience. Snap tickets up while you can, as they sell out fast!


Know of any other unusual pop-up concepts? Let us know in the comments!