HONG KONG — Pedder Red, the private label division of Pedder Group, has opened its first flagship in Hong Kong’s Central District.
Although there are already 14 Pedder Red stores in Asia, the 1,800-square-foot shop on Wellington Street is the first to unveil a new retail concept for the brand and offers an original take on footwear retailing.
Peter Harris, president of Pedder Group, said the first step was finding the right location. “In Hong Kong there’s a big move away from traditional retailing centers to more interesting streets — the circumference around the city. Obviously you need to look carefully, but these streets are where you find ceiling height and facade volume that doesn’t exist in shopping malls,” he said.
Wyndham Street is popular with locals and tourists alike as it connects the city’s two most popular social areas — Soho and Lan Kwai Fong. Although there are a few local fashion boutiques here, the street is best known for being home to Hong Kong’s most beloved roasted goose restaurant and its quirky shops, such as the tattoo parlor next door and the exotic florist across the street.
The Pedder Red shop spans what was once two separate stores — the city’s best-known futon shop and an Indian restaurant. Shanghai-based architects Neri & Hu Design came up with a plan that keeps both entrances and two distinct shopping areas, yet is anchored by one novel feature — the “shoebox.”
Made of smoked oak and placed at the front of the store, the monolithic structure is literally the shop’s storage area, but it is also an integral part of its energy. Through rectangular red-lacquered cutaways, customers can see into the shoe “library” (including rolling shelving units) and espy a red spiral staircase that leads to the larger stockroom upstairs. Salespeople are rarely out of sight and, by design, cannot disappear into the back of the store. Principal architect Lyndon Neri said the concept of the shoebox arose as the team considered how to deal with storage.
“In the end we liked the idea of glorifying the shoebox, which is usually hidden away. We pushed it all the way up front. Shoe stores can be more than a piece of glass and a bunch of shelves. It is possible to have a more meaningful experience,” he said.
The shop’s two distinctive selling areas include an industrial-looking zone highlighted by a curved sky-blue display table, and a warmer area with wooden shelving and display boxes.
The store also features a number of items that are exclusive to this location, including Wellington Limited Edition — a range of pouches, tote bags and ballerinas in black, electric blue, purple, silver and gold. Pedder Red also collaborated with a number of artists for the opening: Hong Kong-based Oivong created the ZIII line of environmentally friendly bags and seven designs from the Converse 1HUND(RED) collection are exclusively available here for preorder.
While most of the affordably priced handbags and shoes are Pedder Red designs, other brands also have a presence, including Spitfire sunglasses, Ed Hardy T-shirts and caps, Stuff rubber bags and Tiger sneakers.
Harris said he expects the store to bring in 1,500 Hong Kong dollars, or about $190, a month. “That’s a competitive projection,” he said.
He added the group has ambitious plans for Pedder Red, which came into being three-and-a-half years ago. “We want 200 stores by the end of 2012,” he said, explaining that growth will come from both adding stores to existing markets and opening new ones, including Beijing and Jakarta, Indonesia, both slated for next year.
“All of our other business — whether it’s On Pedder, Lane Crawford or mono-brand — is based on selling branded merchandise,” said Harris. “Pedder Red is very much a product of our strong point of view and sense of design.”