Simon Pound is a co-director in womenswear label Ingrid Starnes, and also marketing director, brand and communications at Vend. He shares one of the great mistakes he’s made while running Ingrid Starnes with his partner.
When Pound and Starnes, his partner, set out to open a pop-up store in Newmarket, they learned the importance of location, location, location.
The first site they chose looked fantastic – at first. It was a 1920s character building with beautiful lighting and a layout that lent itself to generous changing rooms. The pair didn’t smell a rat, or rather, a fish, until after fitting the site out and holding a grand opening event.
“It was perfect in every way except where it was,” laments Pound. “To find us customers had to wander up past the ‘Smelly Alley’ connecting Teed St and Kent St, past decaying vegetables and a daily rinse of fish blood.”
Although it was only 200 metres away from the action in Teed St and Osborne St, the site suffered from its fishy neighbours. It was also opposite a Lone Star and abutting a panelbeaters’ shop. On reflection, Pound says the site was the wrong place for a high-end luxurious fashion label like Ingrid Starnes.
Pound says the last couple of years have added a lot to Kent St in the form of blowdry bar Dry & Tea, cult restaurant Burger Burger, Best Ugly Bagels and more.
“But when we opened it was us and the fish scales and it was a hard few months.”
He and Starnes spent a few months “tearing [their] hair out and dusting things” before moving just 100 metres to a carefully-chosen new spot on Teed St. The new site was in the same area but sheltered from the fish smell and opposite a popular café. Takings leapt by 30 percent overnight.
“For the record, the fish place and vege place in the lane are excellent if you are looking for dinner ingredients, but if you are trying to entice customers to your new store, I’ve learnt it’s better if they don’t have to step over rotting heads of cabbage and fish,” Pound says.
Pound believes a true ‘retail genius’ might be able to make a poor location work: “But if you are such a retail genius, you probably wouldn’t be trying.”
This story was originally published in NZRetail Magazine issue 740.