Bandier’s president Stephen Ippolito highlighted some of his company’s strategies to encourage attendees to approach retail nontraditionally.
What started with a Southampton, N.Y. multibrand store in the summer of 2014 has evolved into an e-commerce-fueled business with multiple locations housing fashion-laden athleticwear and unexpected features.
The company recently opened an outpost in New York’s Flatiron district, and has another planned for Los Angeles across from the former Fred Segal store and a yet-to-be-opened four-floor flagship that will include office space. While the new Fifth Avenue one has a cafe through a deal with Broken Coconut, the other two will also have healthy eateries, as well as Bandier’s Studio B fitness studio concepts. The Los Angeles store will include a beauty apothecary, as well as a flower shop through a tie-in with Moe’s Flowers. Always infused with fashion, Ippolito mentioned collaborations with such designers as Prabal Gurung and Cushnie et Ochs.
In addition to on-site fitness classes and grab-and-go food options, Bandier uses exclusives, branded experiences and in-store pop-ups and activations to encourage consumers to drop by more frequently. The company has also partnered with landlords, as was the case with its Dallas store where the landlord “covered the entire build and owns 50 percent of the store.” Through Studio B there have also been corporate partnerships with such companies as Propel in the past. Bai is now on board as a sponsor.
“Does your retail marketing strategy have a holistic approach? I hate the word omnichannel. I really think it’s just running the business. You can’t go out and say your’e going to e-comm, you’re going to retail, you’re going to do wholesale,” Ippolito said. “Inventory flows through everything and the brand messaging flows through everything. You can’t choose to do one or another.”
Through an alliance with Parsons The New School of Design, the company recently awarded the Bandier Design Prize for $5,000. One hundred students competed and two young designers earned jobs at the fitness-minded label. Aside from the new talent, the contest resulted in “more press and p.r.,” Ippolito said.
Ippolito continued, “If you’re a multibranded retailer you can’t go out with a business model that has chargebacks and allowances. You have to have a model where those businesses can grow alongside of you.” And instead of offering traditional options like window displays, digital marketing choices are to be considered, like which videos will lead to optimal consumer engagement. Social affiliate search, influencers and gifting are other parts of the equation.
With five private-label collections — three of which are also sold via Net-a-porter, Bandier uses wholesale as a way to enter markets and mine customer data beyond its own distribution, Ippolito said. Planning a Hong Kong store as early as March, Ippolito said that will be an opportunity to bring existing and new brands to Asia.