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Vancouver-Based Retailer ‘Native Shoes’ Launches 1st Toronto Pop-Up

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By Dan LeBaron

Vancouver-based Native Shoes planted a temporary retail flag in downtown Toronto this weekend with a four-day pop-up shop. From immersive workshops to vibrant green walls and display installations, the marketing activation offered great value for all of its visitors regardless of things like age or areas of interest. The pop-up officially launched on September 26 and was open to the public until 7:00 p.m. on September 29.

The brand, which offers consumers the chance to “Live Lightly” through its lightweight and minimalistic footwear products, offered visitors to the pop-up something unique on the majority of days that it took place. On September 26, the first 50 visitors in line were given coupons for $80 off their choice of Native products, a significant sum considering that the company’s classic shoe, the “Jefferson,” generally starts around $55. On September 27, the first 100 guests were gifted floral bouquets from local Toronto company, The Delicate Flower. 

And, on September 29, the pop-up offered kids a chance to participate in a “design-it-yourself” session where they were tasked with colouring and designing their very own Jefferson shoe. Additionally, all Jeffersons were 20 percent off between 1:00 – 3:00 p.m. to coincide with the workshop.

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Native Shoes was originally founded a decade ago by Scott Hawthorn, who remains the company’s CEO. The brand is now available in countries around the world and has reached elevated levels of success as a stylish-yet-practical alternative to stereotypical runners or boat shoes. Made for adventure, Native Shoes can easily be cleaned and are surprisingly durable for a shoe designed for stepping outside of our respective comfort zones.

The Toronto pop-up embraced this brand identity and the entire company ethos with a healthy dose of positive marketing materials relaying the company’s environmentally friendly goals. In line with these goals, the company’s website was shut down for the day on October 27 in support of the Global Climate Strike while the pop-up and its messaging attempted to educate its visitors on Native’s recycling program called “Project Remix” on the street level.

The pop-up took place at 639 Queen St. W., which has become a holy grail of sorts for brands seeking to launch temporary activations of late. Prior to Native Shoes, the space was recently occupied by pop-ups for the National Football League (NFL) and Frank And Oak. Local pop-up incubator, pop-up go, worked with both the NFL and Native on their pop-up planning, and has been a major catalyst for a large number of recent short-term activations across North America.

Dan LeBaron

Dan LeBaron has an extensive background in editing, writing, event management and content creation. He sharpened many of these skills while acquiring a master’s degree in journalism at Ryerson University. He also has significant experience in sports media, legal communications and content creation in the start-up and tech space. When he’s not in the office, he can be found spending time with family or exploring Toronto’s bevvy of outdoor hockey rinks and independent coffee shops.

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