Santino LoConte has learned a few things since starting Reign, a Meatpacking District men’s wear store that opened last October.
First, limited-edition releases, or drops, generate the most sales, and second, building a community and offering a service are essential to the long-term success of the store, which has a partnership with Samsung C&T Fashion Group that is a minority investor.
That’s why he’s introduced Reign Releases, a microsite for releases and small capsules, and a Deadstock program that will reissue popular sneakers. LoConte said he’s been able to acquire these shoes and hold on to them because of connections within the industry. LoConte was previously the head of global product collaborations at Pony, and his father, Anthony LoConte, owns Unlimited Brand Group, formerly named Anthony L&S, which arranges licenses to manufacture footwear for Pony along with Etonic, G-Star Raw, Levi’s and U.S. Polo Assn.
This program’s first round of releases includes the Adidas Yeezy Boost 700 “Wave Runner,” the Adidas Futurecraft 4D and the Adidas HU NMD “Holi Festival.” LoConte said within 48 hours of unveiling the program, 23,000 people signed up for a chance to purchase the Wave Runner and they will be notified if they’ve been randomly selected to purchase the shoe. He wants to even the playing field that’s usually obstructed due to resellers by limiting each consumer to one pair and offering the sneakers at the original retail price. Customers must come in store to pick up the product, which will come with a certificate of authenticity. It’s not unlike the sneaker apps created by vendors, resellers and retailers alike.
“It’s an easy way to communicate with the consumer,” LoConte said. “I also think you really need to think locally before globally when running a store and think about building a local community that frequents the store.”
Going forward, LoConte envisions releasing pieces of art and apparel. He’s built a modular unit within the store to highlight limited-edition deadstock drops and other capsule collections, which he believes have set the tone for how customers want to shop.
“It’s a much more direct approach,” LoConte said. “I think a lot of the collections from fashion houses are too large and overdone. I don’t think the consumers are clear on what’s available to them. With drops, the merchandise is more focused and it helps the consumer with purchasing decisions. The traditional delivery schedule is antiquated. No one wants to buy a winter coat right now, but we are already starting to get them in the store. It’s all about buy-now-wear-now.”