Due in part to the rise of e-commerce, many traditional retailers have been closing locations in recent years.
At the same time, there are some companies that began online and have seen brick-and-mortar stores as an opportunity for expansion. Many of these startups and smaller brands got their feet wet in the retail space through pop-up shops. But now that trend has led to permanent locations, at least for some direct-to-consumer brands.
Known for its eco-friendly footwear and burgeoning celebrity following, Allbirds opened a 4,800-square-foot flagship in New York’s Soho this year — and it has plans to add more stores stateside in coming months. The DTC brand initially dipped its foot into retail with pop-ups in Los Angeles and New York, and an in-store retail partnership with Nordstrom. But in 2018, the sustainable sneaker company has made its retail ambitions more permanent.
M.Gemi has experimented with retail locations for the past few years, such as a holiday pop-up at The Shops at Columbus Circle in New York last November. Currently, M. Gemi operates two fit shops — where customers can transact in-store and have items shipped to their homes — in Boston at 172 Newbury St. and in the Shops at Derby. The brand also recently launched a shop-in-shop at Bloomingdale’s 59th Street in New York. Plans are in the works to expand to more pop-up shops as well as to expand M.Gemi’s brick-and-mortar presence.
Launched as an online-only brand, Greats now has locations in Venice, Calif., and Soho and Williamsburg, N.Y. The indie sneaker brand — which sells men’s and women’s styles — has plans to open additional U.S. doors.
With a San Francisco flagship and a recently opened store in New York’s Nolita, Everlane has entered into the retail space after starting online-only — and it seems likely that there will be more locations to follow for the apparel and accessories brand.
This DTC athletic wear brand now has six permanent physical stores and pop-ups worldwide after launching as an online-only company.