Showfields is bringing its distinctive retail format to the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn.
The 11,500-square-foot store will open in June at 187 Kent Avenue, at the base of a new apartment development called The Kent House, WWD has learned.
“When you look at the type of audience we are aiming for and the demographics in Brooklyn, the two very aligned. There’s an audience of creators, an audience of collectors, and people looking for different types of experiences. It’s a young demographic,” Tal Zvi Nathanel, chief executive officer and cofounder of Showfields, said in an interview.
Showfields, which currently operates a store in Manhattan’s NoHo neighborhood, another in Miami, and a pop-up in Los Angeles, emphasizes emerging, mission-driven brands, while also carrying growth and heritage brands. The focus is on wellness, home, food and beverage, beauty, ready-to-wear, and accessories brands — and changing the lineup every six months.
However, the Brooklyn store, unlike the other Showfields locations, will be called “House of Showfields” and will be designed to emulate a six-room home, replete with a courtyard; a dining room for products for dining and socializing; a foyer; a lounge, and a kids’ area with high chairs, bibs, toys and educational products.
Noting that Brooklyn is just the first of four new Showfield stores opening in 2022, Nathanel said, “Besides growth, what I am most excited about is that House of Showfields takes all we’ve learned until today to create a better discovery and shopping experience. This is more aligned with today’s customer,” which implies making Showfields “more experiential and curated in a post-COVID[-19] era and providing things you couldn’t see anywhere else. We look at what’s happening in our stores and constantly update the experience to the needs of our customers.”
Asked to explain why the new store is being called House of Showfields, as opposed to just Showfields, Nathanel replied, “The home is your gym, where you work, where you socialize. We want to give customers the context, the construct they need to understand the brands, which is a house. So you walk into a house, which is made up of rooms, an outdoor area, the kids area, etc., and each of those areas is merchandised with brands in a very editorial way which helps you understand how you use them. This is not products on a shelf.”
In addition, the House of Showfields offers different financial arrangements for brands, providing a “lowering the barrier of entry,” Nathanel said.
Launched in 2019, Showfields doesn’t operate with a wholesale model. The store doesn’t buy product. Instead, at the existing locations brands are charged $12,000, $24,000 or $36,000 for six-month “campaigns,” like pop-ups in the store, depending on the number of stock keeping units being displayed and the degree of exposure and space involved. A brand could display two or three skus and get charged the lowest rate, or a few dozen skus for a fuller brand statement, and get charged the highest rate.
The Brooklyn location will provide more affordable terms, Nathanel said, adding that about 80 percent of the brands there will be spending $16,000 to $18,000 for six-month campaigns, while others could choose shorter and more immersive campaigns covering more space in the store.
Nathanel also said the Brooklyn store will have proprietary technology not only for sales data but also to learn which customers saw their products in the store and ended up interacting with the brand’s website and possibly making a purchase online. That’s part of Showfields’ “dashboard” of data for brands, that seems granular. Sensors from Retail Next and Showfields’ point-of-sale software gather sales figures, traffic figures, customers’ gender, whether they touch and engage with products or just pass by, among other types of data.
Among the brands that will be sold at the Brooklyn store will be Greats, a premium sneaker brand; WTHN, a wellness company; organic skin care brand Ogee, and Lalo, which creates products for babies. House of Showfields will also offer a program of events beginning this summer.
Last month, Nathanel told WWD that he plans to open four more stores on the East Coast by the end of 2022, and that to support the expansion, he has raised $20 million with Hanaco Ventures, Swan and Legend Ventures, MUFG Capital and some other sources. Brooklyn would be the first of the four. He declined to specify where the next three openings will be.
“The curated experience created by Showfields is a journey of discovery in lock step with the ambiance of this red hot Manhattan submarket,” Brandon Singer, CEO of Retail by Mona, a retail real estate advisory firm that helped Showfields secure the Brooklyn location, said in a statement. “The company is redefining retail and, as such, was keen on bringing its brow-raising brick-and-mortar experience to Williamsburg.”