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Store on Tour
Designers Shane & Shawn Ward have had enough of the brick-and-mortar lifestyle. The duo is moving out of their store in Manhattan’s Nolita neighborhood and launching a mobile flagship this January, taking a tour bus on the road and bringing merchandise to the consumer. “We thought, ‘How can we get our brand to the people?’ and thought it would be cool to do a rock-tour type of format, but with designers,” said Shawn Ward. About 75 percent of shoppers who visited the Nolita store were tourists, said Ward, which also supported the idea.
Starting Jan. 21, the mobile store (below) will make its first stop in Park City, Utah, at the Sundance Film Festival. “We’re going to places where there is a condensed group of our consumers,” said Shane Ward, adding that the bus will coordinate its stops with high-profile events, including the Super Bowl in Miami in February and the Tribeca Film Festival in New York in April.
“For 2011, the plan is to take the tour to international cities,” added Shane Ward.
The designers will keep consumers updated via Facebook and Twitter announcements, and at each city, they will host a launch event. A store-like atmosphere will be set up outside the bus with furniture, carpets and a canopy. Celebrities and VIP shoppers will be invited onto the bus for special fittings and shopping opportunities, the Wards said.
“Things are changing. As retailers and wholesalers, we can’t sit back and wait for people to come to us,” Shawn said. “We’re on the cusp of this [retail trend] — and maybe ahead of the curve.”