Timberland is fully embracing its flex retail concept.
The VF Corp.-owned outdoors brand introduced the concept in 2017 by opening up a series of temporary stores during peak Timberland season — October through January — that were up for four to six months in locations including Lenox Square in Atlanta, Roosevelt Field on Long Island, Queens Center in New York, the Somerset Collection outside Detroit and the Mall of America in Bloomington, Minn.
“I think as our brand evolves and as we continue to do research on our consumer, flex gives us the ability to learn quickly and apply those learnings to our entire store fleet in an efficient way,” said Jim Pisani, Timberland’s global brand president. “It gives us the opportunity to present Timberland’s heritage in a modern way.”
The flex locations are typically smaller than Timberland’s stores — they operate 65 to 70 stores throughout the U.S. — but they are going big this season with a Fifth Avenue flex shop that’s 3,500 square feet and will feature two experiential or Instagram-friendly spaces. It fittingly sits right across from The North Face, another VF Corp.-owned outdoors brand on the corner of Fifth Avenue and 43rd street. This is the first flex location in Manhattan, which Pisani calls the pinnacle of its flex concepts.
The location, which will be open to the public today and remain up through early to mid-January, brings the outdoors in. They tapped Greenery NYC to create a lush wall of plants, which will be planted across New York once the flex shop is closed. They also worked with Cleveland Art on all of the fixtures in the shop, which are made from repurposed materials. The store features two interactive weather experiences made to be shared on Instagram: a snow room that will give the effect of a flat snow globe and a digital rain room. An area in the store will feature limited-edition Timberland product with Off-White, Don “Don C” Crawley and Christopher Raeburn.
The product footwear and apparel assortment is equal men’s and women’s, but they gave the women’s collection prime window real estate to showcase two elevated lines: Sutherlin Bay and Courmayeur collections. The store will also highlight Timberland Boot Company items that utilize premium materials, and the new American Craft collection, which is designed and handmade in the United States with global materials.
“Our main goal is to bring our creative vision to life and show the synergy between the power of nature and the outdoors,” said Pisani. “Eighty percent of apparel sales still happen in all brick-and-mortar stores and Millennials like to shop, but we need to make sure we get the retail environment right. They are looking for newness, experiences, emotional connections and convenience. That’s what we want to provide.”