- FashionUnited |
In 1970 Dick Haynes, together with his roommate Scott Belair, opened their first store selling only second hand clothing, furniture, decor, and jewelry. The company, originally called ‘Free People’, grew steadily, eventually expanding into its sister brand Urban Outfitters. It was in the 1990s that Haynes realized his original dedicated clientele were outgrowing the younger trends, offered by Urban Outfitters And were in need of a different type of lifestyle store. Therefore Anthropologie was born, in order to meet the needs of the 30 to 45 year old female shoppers.
Thursday marked the opening of the first Anthropologie store in Europe, located in Dusseldorf, Germany. FashionUnited spoke with Gisela Garcia Escuela, Marketing Director Europe of Anthropologie via telephone to learn more about the brand's expansion.
Are you ready for the store opening today?
I'm pretty nervous about the opening in Dusseldorf, because I want everything to be more than perfect. I hope that the customers feel it is perfect when entering the store for the first time. Dusseldorf is our first store on the European continent and I want to do everything right.
"I hope that the customers feel that it is perfect when entering the store for the first time."
What are the typical Anthropologie customers like?
Urban Outfitters is aimed at a younger target group and Anthropologie accompanies the same consumers as they enter into the next phase of life. The concept is designed to help the customers in setting up their homes and translate their style of dress into their decor. Many mothers and daughters shop together in our stores. We look at the whole life of our customer and consider where we can apply ourselves: clothes, furniture, decoration. This is a very successful concept in the US and Europe is still new for us, so far there is only one Anthropologie store in London and the e-commerce.
So far Anthropologie was only available online in Germany. Why made you decide to take the step to open the store in Dusseldorf?
We already had experience from our e-commerce and Urban Outfitters and could see that there was a demand for our products and a market niche for us in Germany. It was only logical that we wanted to be represented in retail stores.
How long have you been looking for a suitable location and what made you choose this one?
It took a long time until we found the right location at the right price. Dusseldorf is a fashion capital in Germany and has a strong arts and culture scene. We delete discovered the beautiful shop on the King Avenue and were at the right place at the right time: We love the canal and the greenery there. However, we are still actively looking for other locations in Germany: Hamburg, Berlin, Munich are definitely on the list.
How well is the brand recognised within the German market?
There is not a particularly large brand awareness of Anthropologie in Germany. In the US, the business is mainly grown through word-of-mouth. Therefore, social media is very important to us: Instagram, Facebook. Events are also very important to us and we find that they have a more long-term effect. We work with local restaurants, communities and women's organizations. We want to find the local heroes and organize beautiful events with partners who offer our customers a positive experience. We encourage our stores to participate with their community ties and each one is allocated a budget specifically for that.
"It is much easier for customers to shop online. So you have to give them an even better reason to come into the store."
How do you see the future of retail in fashion?
That's a question I like to think about. It is much easier for customers to shop online. So you have to give them an even better reason to come into the store. Events, as I see it are crucial for bringing customers to the store. In the UK for example, we worked with Credit Suisse; the bank held recruiting events from our stores specifically for women to encourage them to enter into the financial world. we do not gain a profit for those services but hope that just one woman remembers for the rest of her career that she got her job in an Anthropologie store. This is our long-time approach. We have beautiful shops and people like to spend time there, as well as our restaurants.
What expansion plans do you have for Anthropologie for the future?
In Europe we have an eye on Spain and France, but first we want to expand to more cities in Germany. We are actively looking for commercial locations and continue to grow organically.
This article was
originally written for FashionUnited.de. Translated and edited by Kelly
This article was originally written for FashionUnited.de. Translated and edited by Kelly Press.