Mobile pop-up shop nearing its launch date

Indigo the Bus, nearly ready for its launch, is the result of Pattern’s third and largest crowdfunding to date, raising more than $31,000 from 57 unique contributors.

Polina Osherov is a well-respected commercial photographer, as well as executive director and editor of Pattern magazine.

According to her resume, Osherov is also into “entrepreneurial ecosystem building.” She describes herself as “a problem-solver, helping people reach their full potential. Pattern, more than a magazine, is described as a growth accelerator for Indy’s creative economy, helping creative entrepreneurs and small businesses achieve success through networking, education, programs and exposure via our print and digital media platforms.

And there’s where Indigo the Bus comes in.

Indigo the Bus, set to open this fall, is a decommissioned IndyGo bus which will serve as a mobile pop-up shop experience for small businesses and artists.

The idea merged from several points, including St’artUp 317, the initiative Osherov co-founded a few years back to fill, on a short-term basis, empty storefronts with local artists who couldn’t otherwise afford such visibility.

“There are lots of empty storefronts and lots of artists,” Osherov said, “but it’s just a once-a-year matchup – a small, tiny step. The demand outstrips the affordable supply.”

That’s where another idea began to evolve. Osherov’s notion for an art installation – sort of a “Cadillac Ranch” for public buses – prompted her to secure a retired bus – sans engine – from IndyGo. But burying the bus nose down in the ground proved too step a hill to climb. She then thought about cutting it in half. Another non-starter.

But why not make it a venue to provide small business owners, artists and organizations “the opportunity to get exposure and bring their locally made creations to people in historically underserved Indianapolis neighborhoods to energize these communities and boost the creative economy.”

Blackline Studio’s vision for Indigo’s interior.

With Pattern’s fundraising goal of $25,000 having been far surpassed, Indigo the Bus is ready to roll. Or be towed, actually. No engine, remember? Pattern will also receive a matching grant as part of the Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority’s CreatINg Places program.

The Efroymson Family Fund is the project’s title sponsor, while Osherov has also worked with the Indy Chamber and Develop Indy. She also secured the talents of Blackline Studio to determine what the bus with look like both inside and out. The result: A multifunctional venue which can be a boutique, or an art gallery, or a performance space. Boutique is job description number-one, with the inaugural tenant to be Erica Scott of Fly’s Nest. Pop-up vendors and locations will rotate every two to three months across the Indianapolis area.