By Allison Zisko
NEW YORK-Life in cyberspace can be lonely sometimes.
So when Christmas rolls around, some e-tailers like Christina Norsig, founder of etabletop.com, find it exhilarating to get out there and rub elbows with the customers they typically only deal with online.
Last week, Norsig unveiled her seventh annual pop-up retail store, on Spring Street in SoHo here, where she has converted 1,500 square feet of raw, banged-up space into a winter wonderland of holiday shopping.
"I love the idea. Pop-up shops are fun," Norsig said a week before the opening. She hopes the store, which opened Dec. 10 and closes Dec. 23, will, in its short existence, draw attention to the etabletop brand, generate excitement and simply give people what they want--an opportunity to scoop up some hard-to-find or out of circulation pieces at a good price. The shop carries overstocks as well as unique pieces from such companies as Rosenthal, Arzberg, iittala and many of the other tabletop vendors that appear regularly on Norsig's site.
"You can only sell so much online. You hit a wall," Norsig said. Pop-ups create a sense of urgency and force a deadline. They also offer the chance for Norsig to meet her customers, and would-be customers, in person. "It's much different than taking orders on the phone. It's Christmastime. You want to see people."
Pop-ups are popular. Major retailers such as Target, magazines such as Bon Appetit and individual vendors (Swarovski, for example) have set up temporary shops in a variety of high-traffic areas in the city over the years. Consumers have grown used to them and understand the concept better now, Norsig said.
Pop-ups carry a certain degree of risk, Norsig acknowledged. But armed with experience, knowledge and accumulated assets from past years, such as signage, Norsig believes this year will be particularly profitable. "I have a daily number I want to hit on this one," she said. "I want this to be the best one ever."