Negotiating a Pop-Up Shop Lease

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Negotiating a Pop-Up Shop Lease

Pop-up shops (a temporary rental of a commercial space), have become a popular way for fashion startups to show off their products and to test a market before committing to a long term retail space. Many pop-up shops in San Francisco and Los Angeles include a social element, such as a party to celebrate the launch of a new line. This can be a great way to get potential customers and the press to interact with products, but it requires preparation and agreement between the startup and the commercial space owner. Here’s a few topics to discuss with the space owner to ensure that your needs at met.

As with all Law On The Runway posts, this is just general information, not legal advice. If you’d like to speak with us directly regarding your needs for a pop-up shop lease, or have questions about this article, please email Rachel at

1. Term of Rental

The first step is to plan out your timeline for the project. How long will you need the space for you event? Remember to budget in the time you’ll need for set-up and take-down of your shop.

2. Fixtures & Utilities 

It is extremely important to do a site visit prior to your agreement. When walking into the space, take notice of the lighting and the fixtures, such as shelving and racks. Be sure to ask the space owner if you can use the fixtures, if there’s any additional ones available in the space, or if you can make alterations to the ones present. Also, if there’s anything that you’d like removed prior to your rental, be sure to include that into the contract as well.

In regards to utilities, you’ll have to clarify who is paying for the basics: water, trash, and electricity. You may also want to inquire into internet connectivity, which could be essential to your ability to make sales through an online POS, or for ease of communication while you’re operating the shop.

3. Keys & Security

Your valuable assets will be hanging out in the store, sometimes without you. Be sure to ask about the security systems in place within the place, and who has access to the property. If you intend to leave valuables in a area where several people have access, you may want to ask about the ability to install a temporary safe or locker to protect financial documents, electronics, or any other valuables that you intend to leave in the space.

At the time of your event, you may also feel your event could benefit from hiring security personnel. If this is the case, ask the space owner if he or she has a recommendation of someone to use, if they already have a service in place, or if perhaps, if appropriate,  you can split the cost of the security with the space owner.

4. Alcohol, Food, and Noise

If you are hosting a party component with the opening of the shop, consider the restrictions the space may have on your party planning.  A pop-up shop party typically includes refreshments. Be sure to inquire if the space has any restrictions on alcohol or food. While the owner may not place any restrictions on alcohol, do your research into local and state laws concerning the distribution or sale of alcohol at your event.

Additionally, if you are planning on having a band or DJ at your event, ask the space owner if there’s any restrictions from the building concerning noise or electricity usage. Again, also look beyond the owner, and into local laws for any ordinances restricting noise.

5. Marketing & Signage

As you do a walk-through of the space, consider where you’d like promotional material or signs to be placed within the space, or outside of the building. Ask the property owner about ways to hang or mount signs and if you are allowed to place marketing materials on the window. If the space routinely attracts your target market, you may want to ask if you could  have handouts inside of the space before the event, or signs promoting the event. Additionally, do ask about any restrictions on places signs on public walkways near the event, should you want to alert pedestrians to your pop-up shop location.

6. Cleanup & Housekeeping

While the space may look great during a walk-through, ensure that it will remain looking sharp at the time of the event. Ask about any housekeeping or cleaning needs that you may have. If the event is for a very short time, such as one night, or a few days, be sure to include a cleaning prior to the event. If your shop will be longer lasting, such as month, negotiate with the owner about weekly housekeeping services. Additionally, know what the expectations are for your departure. How clean is the space expected to be after your lease has ended? Budget in time and money for the cleaning requirements.

These are just a few topics to get your conversation started with a property or shop owner. If you would like to learn more about how to negotiate this type of lease, or would like assistance with a pop-up shop lease, please contact an attorney.  For questions, you may contact Rachel at