orum, b8ta

In the four years since the “retail-as-a-service” model by B8ta launched, the company has embarked on transforming consumer electronics, toys and now fashion and lifestyle categories.

“Forum,” which derives from the Latin meaning for place, will serve to foster community, connection and discovery. The store, which is located on Melrose Avenue in Los Angeles, will include lifestyle goods as well as both men’s and women’s clothing and opens mid-November.

“We always knew that we wanted to take this and grow into other verticals,” said Phillip Raub, cofounder and president of B8ta. In recent strides, B8ta partnered with Tru Kids to give Toys ‘R’ Us another go at smaller format retail stores, announcing two stores to open this holiday season.

Today, B8ta operates 18 branded flagships throughout the U.S. with the intent to bolster product discovery and meaningful brand engagement in-store — while supporting the direct-to-consumer entry for both emerging and established brands alike, with its proprietary software.

As with B8ta’s other stores, the underlying software and business model at Forum are exactly the same. Except when applied to fashion and lifestyle categories, the concept invites more stockkeeping units, fuller size runs, accessories and the addition of fitting rooms.

The product mix in Forum invites a “cross-section of different types of brands” including men’s sustainable brand Tact & Stone, which focuses on organic and upcycled materials; mission-driven apparel brand, Neococo; luxury activewear brand, Alala, which is the first anchor tenant in Forum; handcrafted leather goods brand, Moral Code, and many others.

Landon Nash, chief executive officer and founder of Tact & Stone, cited how his company is vying to “shake up the traditional practices of the fashion industry,” stressing the excitement in having an “experienced team,” which exists at B8ta to guide the mission.

Each brand elicits its own value proposition for driving meaningful engagement. While some of the brands focus on sustainability and consumer consciousness, Forum also includes trend-driven products, local designers and everyday classics.

After testing and learning through this first Forum location, B8ta intends to apply the concept to other product verticals. “This is something we’re looking to grow with more locations next year,” reiterated Raub.

“Shopping used to be a very social experience,” said Raub, who reminisced on the excitement of shopping malls in their heyday. To infuse newness in the Forum, radio-frequency identification technology will complement the fitting room experience allowing customers to request different sizes and to adjust digital displays. And uniquely, the fitting rooms are located at the front of the store to encourage shopper interaction.

For More WWD Business News, See:

Toys ‘R’ Us Back for More Play in U.S. Joint Venture With B8ta

B8ta’s Latest Round Brought in $19 Million — and Macy’s

Separate the Store From the Sale, B8ta Says

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