RYU Apparel is introducing direct-to-consumer brands to retail with the help of Guesst, a technology platform that connects brands, retailers and landlords.
Through the new partnership, RYU, which is short for Respect Your Universe, will stock digitally native brands at its U.S. stores in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, and Abbot Kinney and Newport Beach, Calif.
The new brand offering will be handled entirely by Guesst, which partners with retailers to give brands a short-term space to sell products called “pop-shares.” The platform works as a separate POS system, handling product inventory and sales transactions and will track weekly sales reports.
The Canadian company did not reveal what brands will launch first in stores through Guesst, but said they will be complementary items, such as earphones, that are sportswear appropriate and from companies that don’t want to operate their own retail stores or pop-ups.
“We were flattered when the Guesst team approached us and we are excited about the opportunity to partner with such a vibrant team,” said Massimo Bellini Bressi, director of business development at RYU. “As a retail company, digitally driven with physical stores, we want to be open to new concepts, new opportunities and forward-looking approaches to the experience. The digital component of Guesst’s approach is also very intriguing and we definitely look forward to what’s next.”
The new partnership marks Guesst’s first national retail partnership. The platform has more than 2,000 brands and partnered with John Hardy for its Las Vegas store that opened in May and with Steven Alan in 2018. Founder Jay Norris said about RYU, “They have a certain cultural currency in ath-leisure, and we’re just going to continue to build on this story. They’ve placed their brand in neighborhoods and we have direct-to-consumer and indie brands that aspire to be there”
Norris added about the Guesst concept, “Pop shares could be permanent. Our retail thought-leaders have noticed that most retailer buying teams are shrinking because sitting on excess inventory that isn’t moving is apart of the old retail story. On our Guesst Platform we minimize this risk because our brands pay to be in your retail location and send the goods on consignment through our inventory management system”
RYU operates nine stores in North America, six of which are in Canada. A 10th store will open in Melrose, Calif., with construction beginning in the fourth quarter, and that store will also utilize Guesst’s platform.