Live Rocket New York plans to open a street-level experiential retail studio in New York targeting Millennial and Gen Z consumers. The studio is scheduled to open in 2020.
Live Rocket New York will feature exclusive merchandise and content, which will be available in-store, on mobile, app, online and via the new LRNY television network, initially reaching over 25 million U.S. homes over broadcast, YouTube and Roku.
According to Mark Bozek, founder and chief executive officer of Live Rocket, a content and commerce developer started in 2017, the exact location hasn’t been determined yet and they’re considering two sites, both below 14th Street. He said he expects the space to open in the first quarter of 2020.
The “retail studio” experience will include a 150-seat multipurpose theater for fashion shows, film screenings and curated “live” events and podcasts with celebrities, designers, musicians, artists and social media influencers.
Bozek said he imagines it will be similar to Samsung 837’s space downtown. “Imagine that without being quite so technology-product driven. There’s that notion that you can create that experience where you can have live shows, you can screen movies, you can introduce great product, and it’s all being done in this live street-level space. But it’s also live on digital and it’s also live on television.”
Bozek is financing this himself through his company, Live Rocket, and is in conversations with various strategic partners.
The LRNY television network plans to combine shopping and content with revenues coming from advertisers and product sales. The product focus will be on beauty, fashion, wellness and home.
Bozek said he’s had daily conversations with brands that are looking for new ways to launch their product, rather than just selling it to a traditional retailer or just selling it to Farfetch or other online players. He’s talking with major luxury brands in the U.S., China and Europe, as well as celebrities and personalities.
“The conversations are going really well. It’s going to be in a store, it’s going to be on television, it’s going to be done digitally, and through social media. That combination doesn’t exist,” he said. “Given the fluid and fractured relationship brands have with retailers, there’s endless interest to collaborate with us,” he said. He said it will be an opportunity to discover new talent, and gives them platforms on TV, online, app and in-store.
“Half will be us making money through selling product, and the other half will be through content. A network like that doesn’t exist today where you have both,” Bozek said. He said advertisers are “loving this idea because it’s a unique opportunity to participate in something that’s live and is based in New York, initially. It’s the notion of lines around the block, virtually or otherwise.”
Live Rocket’s first entertainment property is “The Times of Bill Cunningham,” a documentary about The New York Times photographer, that will premiere in the U.S. in September.
Bozek is a former executive at Fox TV, Evine Live, QVC and HSN, where he was ceo.
“There are many pundits in retail as there are in television declaring both to be ‘dead.’ That’s always been true. But every retailer, designer, television network, mobile carrier, publisher, broadcaster, cable and satellite operator are now looking for ways to create incremental revenue through models they have never had to consider before. Live Rocket is in discussion with many of them,” said Bozek.
According to Bozek, the long-term goal is to connect Live Rocket New York with similar retail Live Rocket studios in London, Paris, Tokyo and China.
William Susman, managing director of Threadstone Advisors is advising Live Rocket. “I feel this is exactly what the customer is asking for today. They want constant change and freshness, they want new product that’s exclusive and unique, more to be a happening.” He said this venture meets all three of those requirements.
“In today’s world of technology, customization, unique product, small batch production runs are all economically feasible,” he said. “Regarding multimedia, show me today’s customer or any age that isn’t watching shows on their phone, shopping on their laptop, interacting with their television. Multimedia for the first time is just that, multi mediums. Threadstone believes this is a unique retail opportunity, and with time we will look to raise capital for the venture,” said Susman.