Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Boxpark Opens

The evolution of temporary retail space took a giant leap early last month, with the opening of Boxpark in London.

The world’s first ever pop-up mall occupies a yet to be redeveloped site in Shoreditch. With development of the Goodsyard still another five years away a temporary use for the site was needed.  Real estate developers Hammerson and Ballymore have partnered with Roger Wade, creator of the Boxfresh label and fashion brand consultancy, Brands Incorporated to deliver the concept. With the world focused on East London in 2012, there’s going to be a huge traffic footfall passing through the area. Located in the centre of the city, it will become a arts, retail and cultural hub.

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Constructed of 60 reclaimed shipping containers it’s a low cost, low risk opportunity for retailers. Particularly those looking for an experiential style site to trial a new concept or brand line.  The beauty of course is that the containers can be packed up and shipped off to other sites around the globe as the Boxpark concept is rolled out.



What I really dig about this mall is the positioning. An industrial design in an industrial part of town. The pitch for this urban regen project is at street brands – Puma, Vans, Evisu, Levi’s and galleries like Art Against Knives. According to  Roger Wade, “Boxpark is going to be a home for independent brands. It can’t be about the High Street, that’s never what Shoreditch has really stood for. What Liberty’s and Selfridges have proved is that if you get that brand mix right, if you focus on the most important thing, the brands, then the customer will come.” Bingo!

If you’ve got a spare 15 minutes, it’s worth checking out the team behind the project.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Thanks Aveda

Mad kudos to the Aveda retreat at Hawksburn. I ran in there a Saturday morning to stock up on a few things and was generously rewarded. What looked like the manager jumped up out of his chair and greeted me asking if I was looking for anything in particular. I reeled off the list – conditioner, face cleanser and blemish relief (I much prefer the French name traitment anti-imperfection!). The beauty consultant also assisted, quickly finding the items I wanted and without hesitation offered me a voucher to receive a foot soak & scrub, 45 minute customised facial and 45 minute customised massage within the next fortnight. The catch was that it would cost me $99, but knowing the Aveda retreat price list pretty well (thanks bro for many gift vouchers there over the years) I knew that was a great deal.

What was nicest was that the consultant didn’t hesitate to introduce herself and offer up the special, saying “you clearly love Aveda products and are familiar with the range, come enjoy this”. She was empowered by the store to reward as she saw fit. From a business perspective it was an add-on offer too, an opportunity to invite me to hand over more of my cash!

Nicely done Aveda, you’ll be seeing me again in the next fortnight.

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Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Hello & Happy 2012

Happy New Year to you all!

Although it has been some time since I’ve written that’s certainly not a reflection of the state of retail, rather quite the opposite. Here in Melbourne we’ve had the momentous arrival of TopShop taking over the Borders site in Chapel Street’s Jam Factory with an impressive offering. South Melbourne Market established a curated space for young and emerging designers. And I finally made it up to Sin City to check out Westfield’s Pitt Street complex, a trip that again cemented in my mind why their leading the retail pack. Globally, November also saw the opening of Box Park – a pop up department store in London’s Shoreditch. Over next fortnight I’ll be covering off all of these (old news, but still interesting developments nonetheless).

What has been disappointing is the huge number of retailers that started their Boxing Day sales early in December. Rather than windows awash with traditional Christmas decorations, they were replaced earlier than usual with sales signage. November’s ABS retail trade figures released yesterday were labelled ‘disappointing’ by the Australian Retailers Association, though they reported “looking ahead to December we know most people leave their Christmas shopping until the last minute, so coupled with December’s interest rate cut this will hopefully mean December trade fared better on the fashion front.” We’ll have to wait another month to find out! 

Economics aside, I thought I’d use this post to share some of the interesting things I’ve seen around the traps in the past month;

A more subtle delivery of the sales message by Brooksfield using QR codes. The code revealed the discount customers received in store.

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The best use of space in a window this Christmas goes to Jigsaw, for their oversized decorations in the Flinders Lane store.

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Although it’s difficult to spot the product, this clever display by Paul Smith in the Eyeworks windows on Chapel Street was certainly eye catching.

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Because it is the height of summer… a quick way to check your size in Havaianas. Very handy sales tool!

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Bring on 2012!!!