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Young alumni stories: Entrepreneurial duo address Perth’s vacant retail spaces

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Popupshopup may sound like a tongue twister, but its name belies a very simple yet innovative business launched by Curtin architecture graduate, Daniel Rainone and UWA commerce graduate, Ronan Bray.

The life-long Kensington friends realised that if people can ‘try before they buy’ in today’s market – anything from clothing to cars, beds to beauty products – why not a business?

Popupshopup is an online platform that addresses Perth’s vacant space problem by matching up short-term rental spaces to businesses, allowing owners or entrepreneurs to test their success in the long term, or simply stand out in a competitive market.

“It’s designed to break down all the barriers associated with traditional retail and commercial leasing, and seeks to address the $5.4 billion in annual foregone rent in Australia alone,” says Rainone.

“It allows you to identify possible downfalls of your original ideas and business models, some of which are almost completely hidden
until real-time scenarios are applied,” says James Quinn from Sunglass Society, a Popupshopup user.


Popupshopup launched less than two months ago, but Rainone and Bray received interest for leasing a space just three days after their website went live.

“There has been an overwhelming response from real estate agents, interested tenants, the City of Perth and the public,” says Bray.

“For me this proves that there is a tremendous opportunity for pop up spaces nationally and I’m excited to think what will start to fill these vacant spaces in the coming months,” says Rainone.

As well as being budding CEOs, Rainone and Bray both hold down full-time jobs in architecture and construction, and in marketing management respectively. Rainone says Popupshopup was developed over many late nights and endless weekends, but he didn’t think twice about starting up a business alongside his friend.

“It has always been a passion of mine to develop concepts, research ideas and activate those ideas and concepts that excite me,” he says.

Rainone’s degree in architecture taught him a range of skills that he says has been continually beneficial in the development of Popupshopup.

“One of the most important skills was the ability to collaborate and work with a number of different parties through the various stages of the business’s development. In addition, the degree taught me the importance of remaining creative, while at the same time ensuring concepts could be developed into reality without losing the original intention.”

While the pair are still “ironing out the teething issues” that come with any new venture, they plan to take Popupshopup nationally in the near future, and are also working to launch a new facet of the business.

“Watch this space!” they declare.

This story is part of Curtin’s Young Alumni Stories series where we celebrate the achievements of Curtin graduates 35 and under. Learn more about the Young Alumni Program.

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