Hands up if you’ve ever been to a Treasure Tress pop-up activation??? I just want to let you know now that you’re one of God’s favorites! If you haven’t yet been yet you’ve got two days left to visit their Birmingham pop-up. I heard there’s a massive sale on, so you better get going, you can read this on the bus.
I first came across the brand in 2018 when they had a pop-up event in Peckham for their 3rd birthday. I remember walking through the doors and feeling like I was at a local Disney land. There were balloons everywhere, complimentary branded cocktails and snacks, and people doing free hair braiding and nail art. Buying hair products has never felt more special. A to-do list activity that usually takes 10 minutes, turned into a three-hour mixer, as I met so many wonderful people through wholesome discussions on topics such as favorite hair products, nighttime routines, black beauty, and more.
Regardless of how or where Treasure Tress shows up, creative excellence is always at the forefront. From 2018’s single room pop-up in Peckham to 2019’s three-room fully set-built house theme in Hoxton arches, 2021’s hotel-themed lobby in London Bridge station, and now a glossy diner in Birmingham. Year after year, they always commit to creating groundbreaking brand experiences that only continue to innovate and grow, year after year.
In celebration of the current pop-up Seven Girls, I spoke to the founder Jamelia Donaldson about how she feels about the brand turning seven and their biggest pop-up to date.
Soooo, the brand is turning seven, the pop up is drawing to a close, how are you feeling?
I’ve been feeling really good! Obviously, it’s been a massive challenge to bring it to life, especially because it’s in a different city and on a much larger scale than normal, but yeah I feel very accomplished. It’s made me feel more motivated for the next year of business. Being an online business has lots of benefits such as flexibility and remote working etc. However, having a storefront and being able to speak to your customers directly has been amazing. It’s been so heartwarming to really feel their excitement and enthusiasm for the brand, it’s actually contagious. It just reminds you that what you’re doing actually matters and that it’s helping people.
What have been some of your favourite testimonies you’ve received so far?
There are three, the first one came from a lady who walking past by chance. Her hair was slicked back in a bun and she came in to by one box. The next day she came back again and ended up buying three boxes. Her hair was out this time, with her curls looking fresh and bouncy. It was cool to see how much of a difference the box had made in such a short space of time.
The second one came from these two twin brothers who came to the shop around four times each. Every time they came back they referenced a new cousin, a sister, or an ex-girlfriend who they were buying the boxes for, and it was just so special to see them investing in the hair, care, and beauty of the various black women in their lives.
Finally, we had the pleasure of hosting several charities in our space over the duration of the pop-up. There was a particular that was working with survivors of various types of violence and abuse etc and they had been invited down to build their own boxes alongside some other activities etc. One of the participants shared that she had actually been planning to take her life before the event, but that the only reason she didn’t was so she could attend the event. She shared that when she came to the shop she felt so special, safe and seen, and began feeling like a person again. I’m really grateful to say that she’s still with us.
Wow, that’s incredible, and just a real reminder that what you do and how you treat people really does matter. Spaces and experiences like yours are so needed. With the pop-ups themselves, why are you so committed to making them so experiential and concept driven?
I just feel like we deserve it. When you look at other mainstream brands like Red Bull, for example, they work so hard on their in-person activations and do all these amazing things for their customers, but beauty, especially black beauty doesn’t do the same.
I just think we deserve more, not only do we deserve a nice retail experience but we also deserve a space where we can create memories, meet other people and share those memories together etc. Our tagline is ‘no longer trading our hard-earned cash for mediocre experiences’ and so because of that I know our events and experience have to be top-tier. Every year we plan to be bigger and more over the top and I think it’s worked really well for this particular pop-up. Our target consumers who have walked past have all come in and commented saying ‘this is genius marketing’. This pop-up has created a real buzz in and around Birmingham, and I think it’s created a sense of Black Pride, that says ‘wow, it’s young black girls that have created this’. So yeah, it’s just a testament that, despite the stereotypes, Black Businesses can achieve something of this scale and detail.
What is the essence of ‘Seven Girls’ and the importance of Black Womanhood in Treasure Tress’ legacy?
It just goes back to creating authentic experiences. We know what our customers want because we are them and it’s so important that when they come into the shop, they see us and for that reason, they feel seen. For us it’s just about bringing black women together, making them feel celebrated, creating memories, and educating one another. That’s also why we host so many micro-events, where we can learn from and teach one another by sharing our experiences through panels and workshops.
What would be your keys words for next year?
More disruptive. This year we really shook things up, and we overcame so many challenges, putting together this pop-up alone. From issues with the landlords, delays, microaggressions, and disgruntled neighbors, we’ve really been through it, but it’s all been 100% worth it.
Yaaay, I’m looking forward to it! Congratulations once again! Hosting a pop-up of this scale in another city can’t have been easy, but you did it! Finally, as the pop-up is closing soon, what is one message you want to share with all the supporters in Birmingham
I just want to say thank you to the Birmingham community for being so receptive to us. As you said we’re not from their city and so you always run the risk of people being super icy towards you. However, everyone was so supportive, the way they support the Black community is unparalleled. People were buying 4/5 boxes at a time and so yeah, thank you Birmingham, you’ve been amazing!