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A visit to the first store of influencer-driven online retailer NA-KD

By Weixin Zha


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Swedish fast fashion brand NA-KD started as an online fashion platform in 2015 and gained traction by collaborating with influencers to launch capsule collections. Already boasting 1.7 million followers on Instagram, the brand's most recent expansion is its first physical store that opened in the Netherlands on Friday.

Passing a farmers market with fresh produce to artisanal Dutch cheese to find the brand’s first store in a small and suburban shopping centre, the location of the social media-driven brand shop may come as a surprise at first. One would expect the physical shop of a brand targeting millennials with the latest fashion to be located in the bustling and picturesque heart of Amsterdam. Instead, it chose Amstelveen, a small town just south of Dutch capital.

A DJ is playing while cocktails are served at the opening last week. “I wanted to bring back the boutique feeling”, says Penny Jane Ros, the owner of NA-KD’s first store. Stores are still needed in the streets, online and offline businesses can work together, she explains. In the middle of her story, she welcomes acquaintances and is busy talking to her mother and grandmother who are behind Rosmode, a store in the same shopping centre. The opening day of the 70-square-meter store feels like a party for family and friends, including to millennials who seemed well acquainted with NA-KD, and older generations curious to see what the buzz is about.

The approachable and intimate atmosphere might be exactly what NA-KD is looking for offline to translate its online success with its target group: women between 17 and 35 years, the so-called Generation Y and Z, that traditional retailers have a hard time deciphering. “They don’t care about these supermodels that are standing there and being super pretty, they need something that is completely relevant to them”, said Magnus Hjörne, one of the founders of NA-KD, in a presentation at Berlin fair Panorama. “The only thing they’re looking for is authenticity, authenticity, authenticity.“

"Everything you do has to be simple, relevant and new"

To achieve authenticity, NA-KD doesn’t use traditional advertising with models. It works with influencers, girls with a sizeable following on social media platforms and of similar age as its target group. The company conducts 6,000 influencer campaigns per month, has a team of 40 employees negotiate with girls active on Instagram and delivers to 130 countries, said Hjörne, who also calls himself a social merchant. The brand started on its own webshop and also sells at retailers like department store Hudson’s Bay in the Netherlands or online platform Zalando.

According to Hjörne, a Google study named NA-KD one of the top global trending brands among millennials. “They have an attention span of eight seconds [...] and everything you do has to be simple, relevant and new.”

The franchise store of Penny Jane Ros receives delivery every two weeks. The fall collection is already hanging in the left part of the store, the right side hosts immediate collections. Dresses, pants and jumpers at prices between 20 and 80 euros come in darker autumnal shades like emerald green, burgundy and ochre. Details like animal prints, vertical stripes, checks, ruffles and fake fur capture the latest trends. Ros also stocks some pieces from collections, that NA-KD developed with influencers. A red and black dress at the door carries the label of Emilie Briting, a Danish girl who has a following of more than 100,000 on Youtube and Instagram. There is also an exclusive retail collection spread through the store and also available on the webshop RSMD that Ros will launch on Tuesday.

Foto’s: NA-KD (foto 1, 3) FashionUnited (foto 2, 4, 5)

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Store opening