ACTIVE RECOVERY: As its name suggests, the new SoHo store Preview is a base camp of brands for men who like to be athletic or at least look like they do.
The 4,000-square-foot store at 134 Prince Street offers a bevy of sporty brands that complement wearables — and other tech items. The permanent space includes an initial assortments from Olivers, Zanerobe Rec, Wheelers V, Fourlaps, Twenty Montreal, Endeavor Athletics, Aeance, Swet Tailor, Hickies and Helmm. Health and technology partners include Amazfit, Whoop, Halo Neuroscience, Hyperice and Revere. Halo, for example, uses headsets to enhance neuropriming to try to improve athletes’ motor skills and performance levels.
Preview’s ethos is segmented into three areas — In Action, In Transit and In Recovery — which are meant to reflect the three pillars of urban life. Founders Geoff Harris and Wesley Collins spent a year scouting locations and interviewing potential brands. Before they culled their final list of sports-minded vendors, they approached the brands via customer support lines and often wound up talking to the founders of various companies. Harris said, “We interviewed them, walked around the city, talked about our plans and what we saw as a need for this.”
The cofounders do not personally invest in any of the companies, although they are not opposed to the prospect of that. All of the brands are sold on consignment since Preview’s business model “combines a partnership fee and a percentage of sales that occurs on a consignment fee,” Harris said.
As of now, shoppers are spending about $200 for one or two items, with men accounting for 65 percent of the base and women comprising 35 percent. To try to amp up shoppers’ energy levels, there is a Bulletproof counter with beverages, food and content from Bulletproof Coffee. The SoHo space will also house health and fitness special events thrown by the various brands as part of the upcoming Preview After Hours series, which may feature local gyms, fitness centers and influencers.
In terms of technology, Whoop is one of the early favorites with shoppers. The lightweight and waterproof Whoop Strap 2.0 collects the wearer’s metrics to provide data analyzing recovery, strain and sleep. Collins said, “While you may be coming in for an apparel brand you recognize, you’re not surprised, you’re actually excited to see a tech product that is also focused on that same type of demographic.”
Asked about the challenges of starting Preview, Harris said, “Operationally, going from zero to 60 from conceptualization to a high-volume retail channel has been the greatest challenge, due partially to the number of brands and the variety of products.
Through a group of investors, Preview has set up a “six-digit” investment. “We really see ourselves as brand ambassadors for these companies. We’re not traditional salesmen. We believe in these products and use these products. It becomes more of a personal explanation than just a sales pitch,” Harris said.
The interior, which has unexpected accents such as pylons suspended from the ceiling and arranged like a makeshift art installation, was created by Rosie Lee. The company, which has worked with Nike, Off-White and other labels, also handled Preview’s branding and it web site. Harris said, “It’s easy to find people who will just build things but they don’t understand you. Rosie Lee was easy. They understood who we are, our model and the brands that we’re working with.”
And the end result was was not only something that Preview’s founders can be proud of, but also something that participating brands would want to build for themselves. Harris added, “That’s a really challenging target, when you have brands with different aesthetics to create a space that unifies them.”