If we know one thing, it’s that retail is doing it tough right now across the country, however the residents of startup hub PS1875 [Public School 1875] are looking to shake things up a little and show retailers a different way of doing things.
The space is unique in that it provides tech startups that mainly sell online, the chance to have a showroom where they can display their products for customers. The two flagship companies that have occupied the space are furniture startup Sofia and eye wear startup Oscar Wylee – both businesses have received millions of dollars in seed funding and are using the showroom as a way to leverage those customers that might not be quite sold on the idea of purchasing online yet as a way to help them see the light.
Concept Showrooms / spaces are starting to become a common occurrence now as retailers look at increasing their online presence and still maintain a welcoming bricks and mortar space. Instead of a “shop” business owners are looking to create more of an experience for their customers, retail is no longer just about buying and selling – it’s about engagement and building a fan base. One of the best examples of this is recent VIVID keynote speaker Johnny Cupcakes. Johnny owns a clothing brand which has a global online presence but his key point of difference is that he has created a string of bricks and mortar outlets that also sell his clothing, disguised as bakeries. The stores have a fit out the same as a bakery, shirts and clothing are displayed in the counters, ovens and the staff wear aprons just like they are in a bakery. The stores even have a smell of freshly baked goods. The fans built through online love them and treat them as retail mecca and new fans not aware of him online are often pranked into thinking they are heading into a shop to buy an eclair, and walk out telling EVERYONE about their odd experience.
By partnering with local designers and architects to create the PS1875 space the Sofia and Oscar Wylee teams together with others that join the space will be creating a new experience for retail shoppers in Sydney creating a both online and offline virality for their brands.