Storytelling: when retailers become media providers

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(e)Retail / Publishing

Steven Cook, partner at Edenspiekermann („digital products, brands and service experiences with attitude“), talks about the importance for brands and retailers to integrate the digital space to tell their story

The history of retail is a story of change. We might forget this today, as „digital“ seems so disruptive. However, back in the day, wasn’t the arrival of the department store just as disruptive to all the specialty stores with their snobbish staff that would turn up their noses if you didn’t buy what they showed you? Didn’t the supermarket shake up the landscape of grocery shopping? What about the effects of home order television or outlets on city centres? At pretty much every point in time, retailers had to adapt – or they would disappear from their customers’ shopping lists.

Yes, the digital transformation can be daunting. Advancements in technology happen fast and what was hot yesterday might not be tomorrow. Plus, revenue streams might not be what physical retailers are used to, at least when you make your first steps in the digital world.

Nevertheless, some of those advancements – broader bandwidths and ever smarter stationary and mobile devices – open possibilities never known to tell a story and, eventually, make a sale.

Steven Cook is a partner at Edenspiekermann, self-proclaimed agency for „digital products, brands and service experiences with attitude“. He tells us how important it is for brands to integrate the digital space to tell their story, what the challenges are and how to face them.

(The header image shows Steven Cook with his wife Maxi. It has nothing to do with this story, other than luring you in with attractiveness.)

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„Don’t be guided by fear“ – about opening a retail business

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(e)Retail / Publishing

With no background in retail, friends and business partners Anke Lönne and Saskia Willich opened Alma („Kicks for ladies“) last October. We talk about whether things are going according to plan and what to do if they don’t. 

Having an idea is one thing. Turning it into reality is another. Every once in a while, some of us dream of changing careers, of opening a little hotel or café. But most of us never do it.

Anke Lönne is a successful manager for people in the media industry, TV presenters for example. She had an idea for a long time. She loves baking and sneakers and she always had a little shop in mind: „Torten & Turnschuhe“. That’s German for „Cakes & Kicks“. She loves baking, but shoe shopping often became a frustrating affair. She likes the cool kicks for the boys, the limited editions. Most of the times they wouldn’t be available in smaller sizes for women.

The idea was there and Lönne had already identified a little niche in the market. In 2015 plans become more concrete and Lönne asked her friend Saskia Willich, who has a background in marketing, to help her with the business side of things. The working together intensified and the two became business partners.

In October 2016 they opened Alma (that’s Lönne’s mum’s name). Alma is a physical store in Cologne, but also an online shop and community for women who like sneakers. Kicks for kids are also available.

With no experience in retail, Lönne and Willich have a fresh take on things. Five months after the opening, we talk about whether things are going according to plan.

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“I find limitations inspiring”: New York based label CORRELLCORRELL

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Design & Product / PR & Sales / Technology

Read and learn: How Daphne and Vera Correll lead their label CORRELLCORRELL to sustainable success

It’s not only what good design is about, it’s also what doing successful business is about: be creative within your limitations and turn disadvantages into advantages.

Smaller labels often struggle to operate profitably. On the one hand, their comparatively small quantities result in higher unit costs (and mostly there is only so much you can do about it in the short term).

On the other hand, there’s the customer who is only willing to pay a certain retail price. However, if your offering stands out, you can charge a premium.

 

Spring summer 17

 

In Daphne and Vera Correll’s case, it’s the personal touch they give every piece that leaves their studio. The twin sisters live in the cities of Berlin and New York but their production happens in the latter.

Find out how to not only survive, but be successful as a David in this competitive industry of Goliaths. In this interview, Vera Correll explains how producing locally works to their advantage and to build a business which is sustainable not only in its growth but also its production and output.

(PS: All the business talk … Did I mention that the designs are really beautiful? Header image: spring summer 17)

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Capturing the look of the moment: Vladimir Karaleev autumn winter 17/18

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Design & Product / Fashion Weeks

Capturing the look of the moment: Vladimir Karaleev presents his collection for autumn winter 17/18 at Berlin Fashion Week

It’s a term that is so overused to describe fashion these days that it has almost lost its meaning: effortless. However, sometimes you just have to use it – when it’s true.

Vladimir Karaleev designs the kind of dresses the cooler actresses want to wear on a red carpet (you know, the ones that don’t wanna go for hourglass or mermaid, like, Tilda Swinton, if you will). They are feminine, but beyond the obvious idea of sexiness; they have fluidity; an open seam here and there; the drapings are carefully placed, yet seem accidental.

 

 

The designer is questioning the fabric codes that come with clothing. Evening gowns are made from satins that you’d use for linings and tweeds that are actually made for coats. Inside out, upside down, what’s in the front moves to the back.

„Take the collars of the bomber jackets for the boys, they look like they’re hanging in the wrong spot on the back but that’s not styling, it’s actually constructed. People style it this way now and we kind of wanted to freeze that look“ says Karaleev.

Capturing the moment of effortlessness is not an easy task and most designers, literally, fail at the effort. Karaleev, on the other hand, has nailed it.

 

From wrapping up goodie bags to brand consulting – how PR has changed over the last 15 years

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PR & Sales / Publishing

A conversation with Mandie Bienek and Luiza Philipp, founders of Berlin based Press Factory, about the changes in PR: ”Over the last years, all these services like consulting, marketing and PR have started blending into each other.“

Berlin, 2001. Hedi Slimane was yet to discover the city with his camera and capture its cool in his black and white photos and the trade show Bread and Butter was still two years away from moving from Cologne to Berlin. In other words: Berlin was far away from being on the fashion map. If anything, people were concerned about whether their clothes would endure the next 48 hour rave.

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Nonetheless, Mandie Bienek (left) and Luiza Philipp (right) decided to found their PR agency Press Factory. They weren’t aware of it at the time, however, later it turned out it was the first of its kind in the city.

Bienek was marketing director at luxury watch and jewellery brand Bucherer, Philipp worked „on the other side“, in publishing, and was heading Leonce, Berlin’s first independent fashion magazine. They met through work and it was only after the fifth or sixth time they had met, that they decided to found Press Factory. Among their clients: Armani, Bogner, Chanel – to cover only the first three letters of the alphabet.

The last 15 years have seen a massive change in what it means to do PR. Fashion no longer happens in an ivory tower. Digitalisation makes everything more direct and more accessible. That is good, but can be confusing for more traditional brands. PR went from „sending out the samples“ to „giving direction“. In this conversation with Bienek and Philipp, we’ll try to break down what that means.

(Header image: Whoever has a brilliant idea at Press Factory gets to keep the white rabbit as a trophy for a while)

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