Popping PopUpsters

The latest episode of Popping the Bubbl features, Jim Burke co-founder of PopUpsters. He gives Sandra and me a view inside his startup bubbl discussing not just his innovative business, but how the service enriches lives, fosters creativity and improves community.

Jim and his co-founders, Aaron Lander CEO, and Brina Bujkovsky Director of Product, designed the PopUpsters platform to assist both sides of the maker space marketplace connecting event organizers to a community of artists and makers.

The founders recognized a need to improve the intersection between event organizers and makers. PopUpsters aggregates events into a single marketplace and facilitates interaction between planners and makers which include artisans, entrepreneurs, chefs and non-profits who are now empowered to maximize their off-line interaction in a way that drives online revenue.

Event planners, festivals organizers and the like leverage the PopUpsters platform to provide previously unavailable value to makers who pop-up their brands at their events. Conversely, makers and artisans seeking to reduce the guesswork of which festivals, fairs and markets to attend use the platform to make more informed decisions. This data guides both parties to create/leverage events that provide the best opportunity to interact with customers.

In an earlier Bubbl episode, Mentor, Founder and VC Will Bunker (GrowthX Academy) noted that having ideas is common. Entrepreneurs, he noted, can’t simply focus on product, they must interact with their customers and the community to improve not only their product, but also their perspective. Through tactile interactions, makers are best able to adapt their product and services to the customers they want.

Jim, who also handles business development for PopUpsters agrees, noting that while online is where revenue grows, it’s offline where the personal connections are made and lessons are acquired which lead to building something bigger, more reliable and sustainable.

Since ideas are common, then taking the risk to, “go for it” is the next obvious step…

What separates success from ideas?

Jim thinks it’s sacrifice, and he walks the walk by being lean himself. He's lived on couches and reinvests every dime back into the company to increase growth and reduce financial challenges. According to Jim, this struggle is what separates companies that survive from those that can’t.

It's during the lean times that company leaders must learn and adapt constantly as they interact with their market. They must seek to constantly replace their assumptions with what their clients value.

The key to survival is of course monetization, “How do you make money?” PopUpsters takes a small transactional fee, typically a portion of the rent changed to the maker by the planner. This approach to driving revenue allows for events, planners and PopUpsters to create an ecosystem that benefits all parties. This then leads to more makers and artists successfully building their businesses and focused on doing what they love.

PopUpsters is growing and helping planners and makers PopUp their brands in major markets throughout California, Seattle, Chicago and New York City. Whether it’s the latest “Off the Grid” food truck rally, or your local artist and wine festivals, PopUpsters allows makers to be more connected than ever before. Enabling all of us to better access to the art, food and brands that enrich our lives.


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