A Pop-Up Shop for Periods? U by Kotex Believes the Time Has Come

Idea Stems From Student's Tumblr Post, Kicking Off Multi-Year Campaign

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Pop-up shops have become popular for all kinds of brands in recent years, but U by Kotex has an idea that never popped up until now -- The Period Shop.

Opening Friday at 5th Avenue and 19th Street in New York, the shop will be dedicated to "all things period," according to the Kimberly-Clark Corp. brand, including U by Kotex products, of course, but also custom tampon pillows, Brooklyn Bell ice cream and Bon Bon Bon chocolates from Detroit. Elise and Natasha of YouTube's VerveGirlTV will give away custom T-shirts to the first 450 visitors on Saturday. And there will also be DJs and "beauty experiences."

Kimberly-Clark's U by Kotex Period Shop in Manhattan
Kimberly-Clark's U by Kotex Period Shop in Manhattan Credit: Kimberly-Clark

"Periods are very multi-dimensional, so we wanted to reflect that," said Crystal Boersma, lead creative director for digital agency Organic in Detroit, which led creative efforts. "So you'll find snacks and goodies, home goods, clothing and accessories, trying to run that full gamut."

The whole idea stemmed from a Tumblr post by Fashion Institute of Technology student Sarah Michelson, spotted by Organic. Ms. Michelson noted: "We as a society have thousands of stores for random crap like shaving, containers, Crocs" but nothing for women that doesn't involve clothes, makeup and shoes. So she said: "I'm calling for a Period Store."

Ultimately, she got her wish and the chance to create it, along with Organic, which is using it to help kick off a multi-year effort dubbed "The Period Projects." The brand plans to collaborate with real women to make things better when it comes to periods and the feminine-care category, said U by Kotex Brand Manager Lauren Kren. Part of that is listening to women in social media and digital channels and looking to them as a sources of ideas, inspiration and innovation.

"The shop is really going to be very stimulating and empowering where women can participate in the conversation and have fun there," Ms. Kren said. "We view this really as showing that people can change the way they think about, talk about and shop for periods in general."

"It wasn't that challenging to look for women who have ideas about this. We're always listening in social, and we found this Tumblr post," said Ms. Boersma. "So we reached out and made it happen." Ms. Michelson went on the location scouting trip, helped brainstorm on product ideas, and appears in the YouTube promotional video for the store.

The Period Shop will also exist online, to an extent, through an e-commerce program to run with Jet.com and HelloFlo.com, handled by Rockfish Chicago. Also working on the program are Mindshare on media buying and partnerships, KC Connect on sampling and shopper marketing and Marina Maher Communications on PR.

Whether the concept will pop up in other places remains to be seen, based in part on response in New York, Ms. Kren said.