What is so special about Lithuanian design, and what it is like to work around it? Probably one of the most qualified ‘experts’ to answer these questions is Erika Paule, who has been working with Lithuanian designers for many years, gathering them and their creations under a well-known popup.lt roof. However, the ongoing pandemic has made Erika adjust this nice initiative and move it to virtual market space, although still under the same popup.lt name. Usually, this event is buzzing with people and hot chocolate in their hands, but this year, surprise, yes – it’s very different.
Why Lithuanian design?
It came naturally. I have started popup.lt with the idea to gather the most relevant, consistent designers under one roof. At first, once a year before Christmas. Later, three times a year in three different cities. The Smart Pop Up is the newest addition to our cycle of events where we are aiming at emphasizing sustainability in design and everyday life through conscious consumerism. The current pandemic situation and an increasing need to look for more innovative tools have triggered the idea of creating an online platform for all these designers to reach out to the whole country’s customers whenever needed. This project’s motivation is to gather Lithuanian design into one ecosystem consisting of yearly events and an online platform. Our team is highly motivated to take this idea into the wider waters and represent our creators abroad one day.
What makes this platform outstanding?
It’s a two-sided platform. From a customer perspective, it looks like a regular e-shop, though if we look behind the scenes – all designers have their own virtual little stores where they can place their products themselves. Simultaneously, customers get a direct relation with designers and access to their virtual showrooms. The best part is that creators also pack their products!
Lithuania is a small country with a limited market. It is not unusual that a designer is a creator and a seller, and a marketer. It’s usually because of saving costs, but it’s limiting creative potential. As a community, we all centralize marketing, IT, selling efforts, and leave designers their key part – creativity – as a daily job.
In your opinion, how do our local design products look in a global context?
Lithuanian designers are brave and hard-working, consistent, and big thinkers. They are keen on creating functional, classical, timeless pieces. I can’t see why we couldn’t be a part of the global fashion industry. However, we lack support, recognition, and financing to cover all occurring costs related to international trade shows. Only a few can allow that to themselves.
Your top pics from this year’s holiday shopping list?
We are currently on a mission to merge two shores – Lithuanian designers and customers who appreciate locally produced products and want to put these beautifully made pieces under the Christmas tree for their beloved ones. I have actually even forgotten my own family because of this mission! Still, it is not too late. I do love giving functional gifts that can be used every single day. Also, I appreciate esthetics, natural materials, and designers’ thoughts put into their products. Below I am listing just a few that caught my eye.
How can I support Lithuanian design during quarantine?
When you are thinking of purchasing a new item for your wardrobe, interior, or kitchen, or you want to surprise your beloved ones with gifts, think local! Support Lithuanian creators by choosing local production. You will always find amazing items at popup.lt. Shop locally!