LOS ANGELES — Ripndip has begun a store expansion plan with the Los Angeles skate brand set to open a store in Tokyo Saturday.
The door follows last year’s conversion of a space on Fairfax Avenue that began as a temporary shop to a longer term lease for the business, whose brand is sold in roughly 1,000 stores including Zumiez and Active Ride Shop.
The Harajuku space is next to streetwear boutique Beams and totals about 1,500 square feet across three floors. The first two levels will be used for retail while the top floor will serve as a stock room. The store’s design is modeled off the Fairfax store and will include the same neon ceiling and rotating skateboard rack among other design elements.
Ripndip‘s opening the store in partnership with its Japanese distributor and will offer a few stockkeeping units exclusive to the store. The rest of the inventory will mirror what’s available through Ripndip. The store marks the first time the Japanese consumer will be able to see the full breadth of Ripndip product.
“This is going to be the first of many in Japan,” Ripndip founder Ryan O’Connor said. “After that we can make a [guide] on how to do a store properly and make it work for everyone and then we can introduce it to other distributors in Europe, Canada, Australia and definitely Hong Kong. It’s just getting through this first stage of working out all the kinks and then rolling this out.”
O’Connor said he wants to do a full year in Japan before the company does that much larger store push. He said the distributor in Japan is already looking at other real estate in Japan.
In March, the company will ramp up its retail strategy with a West Coast pop-up tour, which will take the brand to San Francisco, Portland, Seattle and then Vancouver, landing in a new spot each weekend. The tour mirrors what the company did in Miami for Art Basel. The tour will conclude in Hong Kong for another pop-up, which is seen as a litmus test before potentially inking a longer term lease there.
“It’s baby steps,” O’Connor said.
The company’s still learning at retail after reopening on Fairfax last year, he added.
“The learning curve is just that rush of opening stores is amazing, but you have to carry that energy throughout the year. You have to continue to keep feeding it and giving it attention, telling people about it,” O’Connor said. “Once you open up a store there’s all this press and marketing in the big push to open it and everyone’s excited, but you’ve got to keep carrying that energy and keep reminding people the store’s there.”
To accomplish that, Ripndip‘s focused on offering some store exclusives or dropping product first at the store before pushing it our more broadly. There are also in-store events, such as the upcoming Valentine’s Day party in which Ripndip is enticing people to spend a certain amount, which is still being determined, to receive a wristband that guarantees their spot at an in-store performance by Soulja Boy.