Retail Experiments

LULU Lemon opened a 25,000 foot store in Chicago yesterday. I think it is a great idea.

LULU has community and their customers are bought in on the lifestyle that goes with the brand. They continue to be bold and experiment and seem to have endless growth opportunities ahead as their community grows and the brand moves across the globe. (I am long)

I was walking with Rachel in the meatpacking district in Manhattan last weekend and we spent some time in the Restoration Hardware and the Starbucks Reserve store.

I think Restoration Hardware is being extremely bold in how they think about retail and am rather fascinated by their execution. The stock has been extremely volatile as it pursues the massive showroom retail strategy. The cyclical nature of the furniture business will always make for a tricky

I don’t know if a furniture brand can create community, but if they do, look out above.

Starbucks has the power of addiction in its favor as they roll out stores on every corner of the earth. I was impressed by Starbucks Reserve store but it felt too much like a department store and not enough like a great extension of the brand.

My new favorite brand is ‘Rapha‘. It took a while for the brand to resonate with me. Rapha is a very high end clothing brand for cyclists that also opened boutique stores in major cities (in NYC it is in SOHO). The stores have a coffee section and is all about community as riders can gather before and after rides and be part of a local riding community. They offer memberships to people for this purpose which should be a great long term business model. At first I felt the brand was too exclusive for a cyclist like myself, but with their streetwear clothing, I feel more connected to the brand.

The future for bold and innovative retailers is looking very bright.