Nfld. & Labrador

Instagram-friendly retailers bring a pop-up store to their hometown

Salt is home for the holidays with a short-term shop in Grand Falls-Windsor.

Salt is home for the holidays with shop in Grand Falls-Windsor

Emily Evans, left, and Lauren Saunders, right, are the two women behind the Salt clothing brand. Both have full-time jobs in marketing, outside their business venture. While they work in St. John's, they've tapped their family and friends to run the storefront in Grand Falls-Windsor. (Garrett Barry/CBC)

An Instagram-loving clothing series is back in its hometown — while quantities last.

The women behind The Shop Salt, an local clothing company sold online, have opened a "pop-up" store in Grand Falls-Windsor — painting, filling, and constructing in a former bakery building.

Emily Evans and Lauren Saunders plan to sell out of the revamped building for about a month. It's the longest physical storefront they've had, and a homecoming for both partners.

The display of Salt-branded t-shirts, sweaters and jackets in the pop-up store in Grand Falls-Windsor. (Garrett Barry/CBC)

"It always seemed like this region [was] really excited for us, and kind of following along what we were doing," said Saunders.

"When we first started the brand, about a year and a half ago, we didn't realize just how much support would come out of this region specifically."

The women sell minimalist sweaters, shirts and hats — much of it screen-printed — featuring their Salt logo.

The turn to a brick-and-mortar store is a bit of a departure for the brand that has found its biggest following on Instagram.

But to Evans, the move isn't a big departure. She said their "pop-up" stores and craft fair sales replicate what they try to do online.

"It was one of the first times we actually got to have a face-to-face relationship with our customer. And that was really important to us," she said.

"We try to have that on Instagram, which is why we love that social media in particular, really, because it's a little more — we have more capability to be a little more genuine, to like, show your more playful side."

Open for the holiday season

The women — and their parents and friends — spent Friday getting set up for Saturday's opening. They unpacked, cleaned and folded their sweaters and jackets — which sell for as much as $90 — along with their tuques, which sell for $38.

Emily Evans, left, folds sweaters for display along with her sister-in-law, Ashley Evans, in the Shop Salt store in Grand Falls-Windsor. Evans says she's had lots of support from her family and her friends in the venture. (Garrett Barry/CBC )

"We honestly think it's as fair as we can make it," said Evans. "We want it to be accessible to everyone. We try to do something that, you know what, if you can't afford a little bit of a more expensive Salt product, there's always something that's accessible for you."

Instagram is not only where they sell their clothes, it's also where the pair chronicle what they've come to call "Salt Sightings" — snapshots of their clothes in the public.

"We love those!" Evans said. "We get really excited."

So why would a group with such Instagram success go old-school?

A first, day-long pop-up shop in Grand Falls-Windsor last year was a success, Evans said. So that got the ball rolling on another one this year.

"Suddenly, it became a month project," she said.

Future plans

Evans said in the early going of the brand — which started only a year and a half ago — the women rolled with the punches, and didn't plan too far ahead.

But now, with some success, things are changing. And the storefronts might be getting only bigger.

Lauren Saunders cleans a sweater with a lint roll before hanging it on an in-store display in her pop-up shop in Grand Falls-Windsor. (Garrett Barry/CBC)

"Maybe we'll be doing pop-ups in further places, that's what I think we'd like to do," she said. "Something that involves jumping off the island, getting somewhere else and just having, yeah, a bunch of new experiences."

Saunders says her project — and its growth — fits into a larger story about her home province.

A welcome sign for the Shop Salt store in Grand Falls-Windsor. (Garrett Barry/CBC)

"I find that there is this real emergence in Newfoundland and Labrador about design, and the landscape, and connecting the two together," she said. "There's so much power in art and creation here."

And being two young women in the world of business gets you some support, too.

Jeff Saunders, left, is Lauren Saunders' father. He helped install the Shop Salt road sign in Grand Falls-Windsor on Friday, along with Doug Evans, right, who is Emily's father. The women say they have lots of support from their friends and family. (Garrett Barry/CBC)

"It's a cool time to be a female entrepreneur, honestly," Evans said. "There's so much respect and so much support for women who are out there just trying to take their own world into their hands and do their own thing."

The Salt store is located on Hardy Avenue in Grand Falls-Windsor, and will stay open until Dec. 23 — or until everything sells out.

Read more articles from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador

About the Author

Garrett Barry

Journalist

Garrett Barry is a CBC reporter based in Gander.

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