Snowe, the direct-to-consumer e-commerce site that can’t keep its best-selling Italian percale bedding in stock, is trying its hand at offline retail.
The brand this week opened The Blankspace, a 1,000-square-foot shop at 252 Lafayette Street in NoHo that will remain open for the remainder of the year. According to Andres Modak, cofounder of Snowe, the retail concept is an evolution of interactive showroom, The Whitespace, which bowed in February as an appointment-only, shoppable loft for customers.
The approximately 100 in-house-designed products are currently available at snowehome.com — grouped by behaviors including Eat, Drink, Sleep and Bathe — will all be sold at The Blankspace, as well as a handful of items exclusive to the store. Snowe’s point of differentiation is a simplification of the home, Rachel Cohen, cofounder, explained, where instead of searching for dinnerware and being bombarded with a dozen plate options, customers will see just one type of white plate offered in various sizes. Cohen said products — all of which have a clean, minimal aesthetic — are comprised of luxury quality materials offered at an accessible price point.
Modak said the space serves as both an “immersive billboard” to raise brand awareness and a sales driver for the almost two-year-old start-up, and depending on reception and sales, could eventually lead to a permanent retail space.
“The Blankspace, if you think about it conceptually, is a couple of steps before The Whitespace in terms of what a home buildout would look like. We basically sketch out your home on a blank canvas and you can come and see the products on this blank canvas,” Modak explained. “When you come in we basically use colorblocking and block out different vignettes across our different categories to make it feel immersive. You’re meant to use your imagination to picture and layer your home over the space that we’ve created, but still be able to shop just our products.
He added that technology played a significant role in the development of the shop. For instance, a partnership with Cloudtag uses ultrasonic frequency to help build wish lists and facilitate communication between a sales associate’s iPad and a customer’s smartphone. There will also be a SmartGifting option once the holiday season kicks off, which allows someone to send a gift from the store and let the recipient select exactly what they want. “It feels more personal than just a gift card,” Modak maintained.
And since leaving the shop with bedding and boxes of dinnerware and glassware could be cumbersome, Snowe will keep minimal inventory in-store and instead offer free next-day delivery.
“Home is different than fashion, and people need a bit more guidance in home. It’s hard to envision and understand, and it’s apparent in home that it’s a more tactile experience,” Cohen said. “We always wanted a strong physical manifestation of the brand. Having someone from our team being able to guide the customer through makes such a difference.”