As the Downtown Days of Wonder season comes to a close this week, we're celebrating some awesome initial stats from our Pop-Up Shop Program. Haven't visited our Downtown Tulsa Pop-Up Shops yet? You still have time, but hurry — most shops start to wrap their season this week and will close by January 15th.
We at Downtown Tulsa Partnership are happy to report that one of the Pop-Up Shops, Tropical Origin, has signed a lease for their space in the Philtower and will be staying past the 15th! Additional Pop-Up Shops are discussing long-term leases with property owners, so more to come soon on that!
In the meantime, here are some huge wins:
- Nine of our 11 participants (82%) are BIPOC entrepreneurs (82%).
- For seven of our entrepreneurs, this is their first time hosting their product in a brick-and-mortar setting of their own.
- Nine of the 11 (82%) are female entrepreneurs.
According to Emily Scott, Director of Planning & Vitality for Downtown Tulsa Partnership, "DTP's outreach and applicant prioritization was intentional, working toward our inclusive economic development goals outlined in our organization's strategic plan, which explicitly defined a need to support Black-owned businesses throughout Downtown. We hope our prioritization of inclusivity is evident through our program participants in our Pop-Up Shop pilot year."
DTP received 25 completed Pop-Up Shop applications, 18 (70%) of which had attended a local entrepreneurial or maker incubator program. Of our nine selected Shop Concepts representing 11 individual entrepreneurs, 9 of the 11 individuals (82%) graduated from a local incubator program. Programs included ACT Tulsa, the Black Upstart, Kitchen 66, Cocina 66, MORTAR Tulsa (through TEDC), Build in Tulsa, and Tulsa Artist Fellowship.
Five of our female entrepreneurs are mothers with dependent children in the home (55%), representing a small but growing body nationally of mom entrepreneurs (an estimated 33% of female entrepreneurs have dependent children in the home). One of our co-entrepreneurs, Onifade Colbert, is 15 and started Onifade's Cookie Co. at age 6 to raise money for a trip to visit family in Lagos, Nigeria. This trip made him among the first generation to return home to Lagos to visit distant relatives.
Part of what makes our program accessible and an opportunity for non-traditional entrepreneurs to showcase their brand and product is the elimination of common barriers to brick-and-mortar tenancy, including:
- Deeply affordable rental rates — our rents are 10-20% of the average rental costs in Downtown's commercial market
- No required personal or bank credit disclosure
- No required former commercial rental history or positive commercial rental history
- No proof of income, assets, or business revenue
- Flexible support for costs — seven of our nine concepts received micro-grants (average grant of $750)
- Facilitated relationship between owner and tenant where we "matched" tenants with spaces for their needs
- Hands-on communication and support to troubleshoot everyday needs and concerns
Downtown Tulsa Partnership also supported the Pop-Ups via regular marketing via signage; press releases resulting in local news coverage; social media posts; and operational info and blogs on DowntownDaysofWonder.com, giving the Pop-Ups exposure thanks to our partnerships with the BOK Center, Guthrie Green, Tulsa Performing Arts Center, and the Tulsa Christmas Parade.
At the end of the program, all shops will provide weekly statistics about their sales revenue, estimated profit and costs, and they will complete a survey on the quality of their experience and the program. That info will help us define the program's impact and allow us to innovate how we serve local entrepreneurs. But positive outcomes are already apparent.
Pop-Up Shops Bounceless and The Stylish Agency report their shared space at 427 S. Boston Ave. allowed them to increase revenue through in-person product sales and a live window model event. One of their fashion brands sold out within the first week of opening, and a designer from New York City gained exposure in the Tulsa market. "There is a great need in the community for small business retailers to have space," said owners Chantelle Lott and Lisa Campbell in a joint statement. "(Through) this initiative, the waitlist of small businesses wanting to be in our shop confirms this need."
What's next? We've heard from MANY local business owners who are excited to apply for future Downtown Pop-Up Programs! If you're one of them, email us at Hello@DowntownTulsa.com to be added to the list for communication about new opportunities.
We are already planning next year's Downtown Days of Wonder, so stay tuned!