Startup Stories: PopUpsters

PopUpsters Logo

Popupsters is an online marketplace which is devoted to helping local vendors, businesses and aspiring entrepreneurs. By creating a profile, users can search for events and find a space to PopUp and grow their own business.

We caught up with PopUpsters founder and CEO Aaron Lander to find out more about this business startup. As one of many businesses to have incorporated in 2014, we asked Aaron what makes PopUpsters so unique. “We are a Public Benefit Corporation with a social mission to help strengthen local communities and economies” Aaron explained. Aaron described that this is facilitated by “fostering small business incubation within our neighborhoods and communities”.

What’s more, Aaron told us that “PopUpsters looks to empower those who are disproportionately disadvantaged.” Such groups include women, low-income, veterans, disabled, LGTB and other minority groups. Therefore, one of the greatest reasons that makes PopUpsters so unique, is that it creates the opportunity for employment and adds money to local economies without compromising community cultures.

The Inspiration for PopUpsters

With all this in mind, PopUpsters sounds like a fantastic business, so we wanted to find out more about the idea behind it and how this business came to exist. “I was taking a course on sustainable communities for grad school and realized that PopUp economy has no structure or formality” Aaron revealed. This paired with the fact that his friends had some great skills and practical crafts meant that Aaron spotted those who would benefit from finding places to PopUp. With this realization, only four months passed before PopUpsters was launched.

The Toughest Challenge of Starting a Business

In today’s culture, social media is an integral tool for almost all business, so we wanted to know what kind of role social media plays for PopUpsters. Despite highlighting particular vendors during PopUps, Aaron explained that both Twitter and Facebook are used as fantastic lead generation tools as well as offering potential for building strategic partnerships.

Obviously building a humanitarian business is an admirable venture, so we asked Aaron about the toughest part of starting this business; “the unknown is the hardest thing to deal with, but it gives you opportunity to create your own path for the company”. Perhaps reassuringly, this unknown is exactly the leap-of-faith stuff that all new businesses face.

Aaron added that, “not knowing when you are going to get paid, if you will succeed, if you will have the intended impact [or] if you will make the right decisions” can be some of the most difficult parts of running your own business. Arguably, it’s exactly these points that distinguish the average mind from the entrepreneur; whilst many may share these concerns, only the entrepreneurs among us will actually start or continue to run their business in the face of this “unknown”.

PopUpsters Market

Having seen the difficulties which can arise from starting a business, we wanted to find out if Aaron had made any mistakes since starting PopUpsters. “Oh yeah, everyone makes mistakes” Aaron reminded us, “but every time I do [make mistakes] I learn from them.” Crucially, often it’s not the actual mistakes which matter but as Aaron eloquently informed us, “There’s always mistakes that are made, you just have to get up, dust off your shoulder and go at it again.”

The Best Moment for PopUpsters…So Far

Finally, we wanted to know about the most satisfying moment since Aaron founded PopUpsters. Naturally, Aaron’s response had a lot to do with the vendors that PopUpster supports, Aaron explained that the most satisfying moment is “whenever a vendor comes up to me and thanks me for what we are doing for their business.” It turns out, that the driving force behind why Aaron intends to turn PopUpsters into a huge company, is listening to the stories from the vendors who have already benefited from his company.

We wish Aaron and the team at PopUpsters all the best and look forward to seeing what the future has in store for them. If Aaron’s plans go smoothly, we’ll soon be seeing PopUpsters “making an impact across the world”. Good Luck Popupsters!