Showpo

LOS ANGELES Australian fast-fashion e-tailer Showpo is ready for its in-real-life U.S. debut.

The company on Saturday opens a Melrose Avenue pop-up on a street that’s served as a breeding ground for Millennial digital brands hoping to put their best foot forward when it comes to physical retail. The doors remain open through March 17.

Showpo’s 1,600-square-foot, single-story space includes a spring assortment of occasion wear and a Coachella capsule. It’s a curated assortment representative of the brand, Showpo founder and chief executive officer Jane Lu said.

Showpo joins the Revolve Social Club, which opened on Melrose Avenue in 2016. The multibrand e-tailer’s strategy with its space is slightly different in that it’s a permanent door open only to Revolve VIPs and influencers and predominantly used for events. Although, there have been times, such as around the Coachella music festival, that the Social Club’s doors are opened to the public for shoppable pop-ups. Digital darling Nasty Gal had at one time operated a store on the street prior to its bankruptcy and change in ownership. Reformation has a store farther down the street. More recently, Manchester fast-fashion e-tailer Boohoo Group plc’s PrettyLittleThing opened U.S. headquarters on Melrose Avenue in a space that also functions as a place for influencers to create content. Not far from there, PrettyLittleThing’s sister company boohoo.com set up a similar outpost on Melrose Place.

Showpo shoppers can use an in-store touch screen to order merchandise they don’t see in store and have it delivered. Express shipping is free if they spend more than $50. The company’s image-search feature, launched a few months ago on its app, is another feature being played up as the bridge between online and physical retail and lets consumers snap pictures of a product to find out more information and then buy it.

Melrose seemed an appropriate place for Showpo’s store because of the existing customer base there and for the influencers it works with, Lu said, adding, “It just seemed like a great hub to align our brand with.”

The timing made sense for a business that two years ago began laying down roots Stateside, first with a Los Angeles distribution center. Last year the company began ramping up its marketing team locally.

“In Australia we had eight years to build a brand, build trust. We’ve become somewhat of a household name back in Australia, but here we haven’t had that luxury of time,” the ceo said. A store further tells the story where the business is gaining momentum, she said.

Showpo began in the physical retail world with three stores in Australia. However, trends at the time were moving toward digital and with limited resources in terms of people and capital, the company shifted to an e-commerce model. However, Lu pointed out, the renewed interest in brick-and-mortar among digital brands would certainly have the company considering reopening stores — whether pop-up or permanent — in the future.

“Just like our business strategy with everything else, we’ll dip our toes in and then analyze how it went,” Lu said. “We’re definitely open to doing a permanent fixture or running more pop-ups.”

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