While the month of June usually heralds in dark grey skies, it was a summer of colours and throbbing excitement in Panaji on June 5, 2016 as two young ladies – Natasha Parekh and Bhakti Hirani – decided to give Goans a vibrant shopping fiesta titled Pop it Up - The Monsoon Flea.
“ We were inspired by a previous bazaar and decided to just try it as a one off thing. We never thought what the response would be like. With it being the monsoons we decided on an indoor space (Taleigao Community Hall). Slowly it occurred to us that it was a big hall and we needed to fill it up with people!” recalls Parekh. “When we saw the actual response on the day of the event when the bazaar opened, we were left spellbound.”
About 75 stalls featuring an array of items from home décor, fashion, stationary, food etc adorned the hall as crowds flocked to check out this relatively new concept in the city. “The amount of creative people that are there in Goa left us surprised as we don’t see them coming out too often,” says Hirani. The teeming crowds also meant the duo were on their feet right throughout the day. “We were constantly texting and calling each other all the time. And I had worn wedges. Biggest mistake of my life!” says Hirani laughing.
Their best moment however came once their first event was done. “Prior to holding this event, both our parents got us together and told us that how we can’t do this, etc. Out of respect, we listened to their inputs, but in the end we just went with what we wanted,” says Parekh chuckling. And they managed to leave their parents amazed too. “They way they looked at us so proudly, that picture will always remain in my head,” states Hirani. And it was that moment, that the duo decided to take the concept further.
They replicated the success in October that year and then again in December this time at the Goa Marriot Resort and Spa. They also got the opportunity to do a flea market at the India Beach Fashion Week in March this year.
“Every event is a learning and you understand better on how you can work with layout, the expectations that people have and how you can do better all around,”says Parekh. “In Taleigao we worked with tables, while at Marriot, which was an open space, we worked with tents. We had decided on the distance between the tables or tents keeping in mind the convenience factor of both the guests and the participants. We also didn’t have too much décor as we wanted the participants to display their creativity.”
The fashion week experience on the other hand was their first time collaborating with another event and thus helped them understand how to deal with other collaborators and get a better picture of how they see themselves in the future.
While they don’t exactly have a criteria from choosing the stalls, the only thing they try and ensure is that it doesn’t begin to look like any other commercial exhibition around, which means at times having to shut out vendors who want to sell electronics for instance.
“The whole reason behind Pop It Up is that it is a platform for every creative person so we cannot be judgmental about a person’s creativity. What we think is nice may not be something that someone else thinks is nice,” says Parekh. And each time, they state, they make sure to innovate and add something new, depending on their observations of what people want them to do.
Another aspect that they focus on a lot is their social media marketing. “I think our USP is that we involve the participants a lot in what we are doing, be it interactive - videos or pictures, etc. When you involve people, it gets more exciting,” says Hirani. “Also, when you are recommended something by someone, like if they tag you in a post, etc, you are more inclined to check it out than if you just read about it. Also social media gives you the option of then going to our page and seeing all the previous work done.”
To commemorate the successful completion of one year, Pop it Up is all set to hold their fifth bazaar titled Pop It Up Turns One on June 4 at Taleigao Community Hall. And as usual they are upping the ante. More than hundred participants are all set to showcase their wares and goodies this time around. “We will also be screening the India Pakistan cricket match live (Champions Trophy). Plus there will be a bar. Generally we have noticed that women have a lot of shopping to keep them occupied but the men are left out. This way we will keep them busy too,” informs Hirani. Princey Mehta will also have a Zumba dance session in the evening.
(‘Pop It Up Turns One’ will be held on June 4, 11 am onwards at Taleigao Community Centre)