HomeOPINIONBreaking the rules: from click to brick with Stolen Girlfriends Club

Breaking the rules: from click to brick with Stolen Girlfriends Club

Vend: What made you decide to open a store when you’re already successful online and have your products stocked in other boutiques around the country (and world)?

Gosling: We wanted to be able to showcase our entire range in one place, and have a space that is an extension of our whole brand. Selling through stockists is great but they get to choose what is available to customers, not us. A physical store also means we can talk directly to customers and have a much more personal relationship with them. We’ve run a few pop-up stores over in Japan and America that have gone really well, and had wanted to set up our own retail store for quite a while, but it was a matter of finding the right place – somewhere that made sense to us in terms of location, space and feel.  When we found this site on Nuffield St we thought it was perfect, and we’ve worked with Fearon Hay Architects to create a really timeless concept for the store that fits with our aesthetic. It was exciting to be able to create a full brand experience that brings us closer to our customers.

What can people expect when they walk into the new store?

Minimalism and a space where the colours and fit out complement the clothing rather than overpower it. We’ve used materials like gloss black steel, volcanic rock and rosewood, and big mirrors to create space. And it was important that we had great flow and light so it’s not your typical layout – we’ve opened up the back of the store so it flows right to the back windows bringing in light from both ends. We really wanted the space to feel clean and uncluttered, so we don’t have a cash register or any chunky hardware anywhere in the store. Everything is run off iPads and we use Vend for our point of sale software so we can take sales from anywhere in the store.

Why did you decide to use this kind of technology in your store, and what kind of difference do you see it making to the business?

When we started planning for the new store, we wanted to put something in place that would streamline our day-to-day work and give visibility across the whole business. At the moment we’re doing a lot of manual entry and there’s a lot of time that goes into the back end of things. So we chose to use Vend in the store as it runs on the iPad and links in with the other cloud-based software we use like Xero for accounting and Unleashed for inventory management. It means we can have everything talking seamlessly to each other. We think it will make a big difference to the business, in terms of making it more streamlined and eliminating errors. It’s also a great experience for our customers when they come into the store. Plus Vend is headquartered just upstairs from us, so it’s awesome to be so close to the team. A lot of the other packages we looked at were based far away – like Canada – so we really liked the idea of Vend being nearby.

How have you found the whole process of setting up the store? Have there been any major challenges?

Design wise, it was really rewarding to create something that is a real extension of our brand, but it was also challenging. We had a really short turnaround from when we found the space to get it fitted out and open. This means we’re also still working on getting all the technology components talking properly to each other, but by the end of the month we will have transitioned over completely from our old systems to the new ones. It’s going to great to be able to operate across retail, online and wholesale all on the same platform.

Do you have plans to open up any other stores just yet? What else is coming up for the business?

We’ve just launched a new denim line, which has pride of place in the new store, and we’ve also got a new line of jewellery coming out very soon, plus a sunglasses range for summer so that’s all really exciting. We probably will look at other retail options at some stage, and will let the customers tell us where this should be. But we want to get this store set up first, do it right, and make it a real success, before we think about expanding.  

What advice would you give to other retailers looking to grow their business or use new technologies?  

Give yourself time. When you’re setting up something new – whether that’s a store or technology – make sure you have time up your sleeve to do it properly. You want to get it right the first time.  

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