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Pop-up shop on Newbury Street will showcase products from startups

Posted by Scott Kirsner  April 11, 2012 10:04 AM

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You don't often find Harvard Business School students toiling at retail jobs on Newbury Street, but that'll change — for a weekend, at least — later in April, with the launch of a temporary "pop-up shop" called POPstart.

popstart-small.gifThe store will feature a selection of products from local startups and student-run businesses, and the goal of the POPstart concept is to help those kinds of companies reach consumers and test out new concepts without the expense of setting up their own retail presence. "While a start-up would normally not have the resources to maintain a permanent brick and mortar presence — particularly on Newbury Street — POPstart provides that chance by aggregating the collective resources of startups," explains Josh Plavner, one of the HBS students working on the project as part of the school's FIELD initiative, which promotes entrepreneurship through the creation of "micro-businesses."

You'll be able to find POPstart at 328 Newbury Street on April 21st and 22nd. It'll be open from 11 AM to 7 PM.

Why only two days? "We wanted to test out a minimum viable product to see if this concept resonated as much with start-ups and consumers as we think it will," says Plavner, adding, "We are really trying to prove out the concept and then evaluate how to take it to the next level on a more permanent basis."

The companies whose products will be featured are:

• 9 Tailors – Bespoke suit and custom tailoring experience for men
• Breakup Box – Gift box for newly-single women
Cocomama Foods – Gluten-free breakfast cereal
• Ministry of Supply – High-tech men’s business apparel
• Plug Love – Decorative plugs for earphone jacks and smartphones
• Quiyk – Performance athletic apparel with a specialization in quidditch gear
• Survitalize – Interview “survival kit” for college and graduate students going through the job interview process
• Tav Cashmere – Socially-responsible sourcing for cashmere products
• Zeo – Bedside sleep management system

The staff at POPstart will be using mobile credit card readers from Square to take payments for products, and representatives of some of the startups will be present — for instance, 9 Tailors employees will be taking measurements for their custom shirts.

I'll definitely be stopping by to check it out...

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Scott Kirsner was part of the team that launched Boston.com in 1995, and has been writing a column for the Globe since 2000. His work has also appeared in Wired, Fast Company, The New York Times, BusinessWeek, Newsweek, and Variety. Scott is also the author of the books "Fans, Friends & Followers" and "Inventing the Movies," was the editor of "The Convergence Guide: Life Sciences in New England," and was a contributor to "The Good City: Writers Explore 21st Century Boston." Scott also helps organize several local events on entrepreneurship, including the Nantucket Conference and Future Forward. Here's some background on how Scott decides what to cover, and how to pitch him a story idea.

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