It’s a busy Monday afternoon at a distribution warehouse in Midrand, where workers are packing Bathu sneakers for distribution to the company’s two retail outlets and to fill online orders. The brand was founded by Theo Baloyi in 2015, and launched online a year later with a stock of 400 pairs of shoes. But with increasing demand — and customers wanting to get a "look and feel" for the product — Baloyi opened his first store, a pop-up shop in Joburg’s Newtown Junction mall. Pop-up stores are a smart way for mall owners to fill empty retail space on a temporary basis, and for businesses to punt their product without the overheads of the full store experience. In this vein, the landlord of Newtown Junction invited Baloyi to provide shoppers with a flash retail experience of the Bathu brand. The mall has a regular influx of artsy, creative visitors, given its proximity to the Market Theatre and Museum Africa. While it is home to traditional retail stalwarts such as Mr Price and Clicks,...

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