Platform Designed as a Landing Pad for Growing Brands and Experiential Retail
It’s no secret that the retail world hasn’t been the same since the rise of e-commerce. The ease of click-to-order purchasing disrupted the industry from every angle. And while millennials – who are expected to spend more than $200 billion annually in 2017 – favor buying online, they also seek out and prefer experiences over material goods. On Newbury Street, retail brands small and large are finding creative ways to bridge that gap.
Pop up shops and store-sponsored events now regularly adorn the street known for high-end fashion boutiques. In the last 12 months, Island Creek Oysters, New England Outerwear, Parlor Skis, Janji, Tracksmith, Martellus Bennett, Cotton, FoMu, Daniela Corte, Daniel Wellington, The Tie Bar and deWolfe Leather Goods have all opened temporary activations on Newbury Street. Not to mention the recent Kanye West pop up around the corner on Boylston Street. Throw in Open Newbury, a summer day without cars parked on the street, and the eight blocks of charming Victorian architecture emerge as a hotbed for pushing the boundaries of experiential retail. Newbury Street is making one thing clear: the future of shopping is unfolding in the heart of Boston.
Here, in the cradle of this ongoing evolution, “The Shop” concept will launch in mid-October at 144 Newbury Street. As part of The Newbury Collection, the driving force behind the majority of short-term activity, The Shop will function as an incubator program that hosts a series of rapidly rotating pop ups. Local entrepreneurs and well-established brands alike will be given the opportunity to showcase their unique products and story to Boston’s thriving retail consumer base.
Confirmed occupants in The Shop include Gretta Luxe, Craft & Caro, Brunswick Park, York Athletics and Lark Hotels, with additional brands filling up The Shop’s schedule in weeks to come. Outfitted with custom, flexible merchandising fixtures that are intended to be moved and reorganized, the space will organically shift its shape as brands come and go. This format provides a plug-and-play storefront for businesses, making build-out and break-down effortless while creating a continuously fluid dynamic.
While consumers will get a taste of freshly rotated brands at The Shop, many of which do not have brick-and-mortars, retailers will have the opportunity to test the waters of physical stores, new concepts and the plausibility of a location on Newbury Street. The strategy of using short-term activations as a proxy for the market has already paid off for multiple brands in the prominent shopping district.
For example, after former MIT students found success with their own online retail platform, the high-tech menswear company Ministry opened a pop up shop at 299 Newbury Street to offer customers an educational experience and touch point with the brand. Indochino and Bonobos have made similar transitions from online to offline and now have shops on (or just off) Newbury Street.
And then there’s Janji, a local running apparel company who popped up twice in The Newbury Collection before settling into a 9 month lease at 328 Newbury Street. As the brand has grown in notoriety, so has their investment in providing a physical space for shoppers to experience and interact with the product. Janji has effectively used their brick and mortar presence to connect with the local running community, partner with other Boston brands and host various fitness events.
The Shop is focused on fostering this kind of organic retail growth. Not every business that comes through the incubator will land permanently on Newbury Street, but each will walk away with the experience of having physically interacted with consumers. The insight gathered through this experience can be invaluable to the future of a small business.
In a city with a third of the population under 35 years old, understanding the motivations that drive millennial purchasing power is essential. Newbury Street is tapping into to that mindset by offering fresh, local and unique experiences for consumers. If the experience of The Newbury Collection is any indication, The Shop is poised to create a dynamic holiday season in Boston.
October 17th – 23th
November 3rd – November 6th
Craft & Caro
November 7th – 13th
La Mia Moda Boutique
November 14th – 20th
November 21st – 27th
November 28th – December 4th
December 5th – 11th
December 12th – 18th
December 19th – January 30th