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Zady Prepares to Open Three Airport Pop-Ups for the Holidays

The online retailer has upped the ante on itself.

Around this time last year, e-commerce startup Zady — then just a few months old — opened its first pop-up shop in an unconventional spot: LaGuardia airport. With duty-free business booming for retailers the world over, the plan was to catch holiday travelers in need of gifts for their loved ones. 

Apparently it worked, because Zady is back for round two. The site, which pitches itself on a dedication to conscious consumerism and sourcing products made in America, is opening three airport pop-ups on Wednesday — two in LaGuardia and one in JFK, which opens up the business to international customers for the first time.

While the team is merchandising the shop around gifts and items that are easy to carry on, like jewelry and accessories, it's also offering the option to buy everything in the store and have it shipped elsewhere. That's an advancement from last year and a nice touch benefiting chronic over-packers.  

According to co-founder Maxine Bédat, sales last year hit $2,000 per square foot on an annualized basis. She declined to give more exact sales figures than that, but if you're in the mood for some multiplication, the pop-up was 300 square feet and open for two months.

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Equally important, the real-life exposure to a swath of people who might not otherwise have found Zady's site did help convert them into future shoppers. Bédat says that the team saw airport customers coming back later online, so as far as expanding Zady's geographic reach goes, you could call the pop-up a success.

Bédat and her co-founder, Soraya Darabi, wound up working a number of shifts themselves and found that people coming and going to different regions of the country shopped for different reasons.

"We had a flight going to North Carolina, and we knew that would be a great couple of hours — people would love the story of the fifth generation men and women making our denim," says co-founder Maxine Bedat. "Then there were folks going to Chicago or Denver, and they’d love the environmental story."

Hey, whatever floats their boats. A sale's a sale.