Boutique stores get a local, experiential upgrade

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The Future. As ecommerce retail has reached its peak, the next era of retail may be hyper-local, in-person-only boutiques that craft a shopping experience. While online retail will still hit record numbers thanks to Instagram and TikTok, those looking to step out of the mainstream may fuel a localized boutique boom that mirrors Gen Z’s obsession with thrifted clothing.

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Post-pandemic, many luxury ecommerce stores have been saddled with disappointing sales, falling valuations and, in some cases, closures.

  • That’s because online customers have endless options to find clothes at the lowest prices possible while also expecting retailers to carry everything they may be looking for — a trend that hurts new designers or niche styles.
  • That has opened a lane for smaller stores like ESSX in NYC, Just One Eye in LA, ANT/DOTE in Atlanta, Sportivo in Madrid, and The Broken Arm in Paris.
  • The allure? IRL comes first, giving customers a curated experience featuring several new designers and local styles — things harder to find online.
  • Additionally, they offer events, parties, and activations that build community among customers (something skate shops have been doing for decades).

Julie Gilhart, a business consultant and former long-time fashion director at the legendary Barneys, said these types of stores stock “the hardest thing to create: intimacy.”

David Vendrell

Born and raised a stone’s-throw away from the Everglades, David left the Florida swamp for the California desert. Over-caffeinated, he stares at his computer too long either writing the TFP newsletter or screenplays. He is repped by Anonymous Content.


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