Garnet Hill, the HSNi-owned apparel and home brand, has come up with an unconventional shopping experience — a mobile pop-up shop built out of a shipping container.

The mobile pop-up goes on the road next month. First stop: Exeter, N.H. on Aug. 10 for two weeks, and then it’s on to Manhattan’s South Street Seaport where it will be parked from Sept. 1 to 24.

“We’re creating an experience to bring the brand and its tag line to life and demonstrate how Garnet Hill is a well-rounded lifestyle brand,” said Claire Spofford, president and chief executive officer of Garnet Hill, which is based in Franconia, N.H. “We’re bringing it to life in a cool, modern way.” The tag line is “Beautiful. Naturally.”

Garnet Hill primarily sells through its Web site and catalogues, and has only one brick-and-mortar location, a one-year-old seasonal boutique in Bridgehampton, N.Y. Garnet Hill’s brick-and-mortar strategy is moving gingerly. “One of the reasons we are doing this container is to test the waters in different places,” Spofford explained. “We are looking at the potential of opening some more stores, a very finite number over the next few years. But we are not talking about a major brick-and-mortar rollout.”

The 350-square-foot container pop-up includes a Murphy bed, closets, a kitchen, a roof for an additional selling area and is a combination retail store/showroom/event space. Spofford sees wine tastings, art exhibits, farm-to-table brunches and other events being staged at the pop-up. Some products will be available for sale on the spot; other products displayed will be for ordering only. Best-sellers from the brand’s 40-year history will showcased. Garnet Hill is known for relaxed and casual apparel and home products, including bedding sets in soft linen, organic cotton, cardigans, heavy woven silks and cashmere robes.

Garnet Hill was founded in 1976 as an importer of English flannel sheets. Garnet Hill’s average customer is 35 to 64 years old with an household income of $170,000.

Spofford said the plan is to go on the road again with the container pop-up next year and possibly subsequently. “It’s reflective of who we are as a brand, in terms of honoring sustainability and doing things in a less predictable manner. It also gives us a cool factor,” said Spofford.

 The container will be transported on a flatbed truck. Generally, two people will man the container pop-up; more staff will be there for events.
The idea was spawned by Garnet Hill’s marketing department and Drake Boroja, ModEco founder who has developed a home and pool houses crafted from shipping containers.
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