Author: Marianne Wilson
Source: CSA The Business of Retail
Showfields, which bills itself as “the most interesting store in the world,” has opened in downtown Manhattan.
Part retail, part art exhibition and part community space, the four-level, 14,707-sq.-ft. store is reflective of a new retail model that makes it easy for digital-first brands to interact with customers in a dedicated space without taking on the risks — and costs — associated with opening a full-blown store.
At Showfields, a brand selects a space, which is then customized, fitted out (with everything from fixtures to technology) and staffed by Showfields, with the brand paying a monthly fee. Product sales go directly to the brand.
Many of the pop-up shops at Showfields offer experiential and/or Instagrammable moments, along with interactive displays where shoppers can browse the brand’s full assortment. Frank Body, for example, has a sink station where customers can test the brand’s signature scrubs. Dental care start-up Quip’s space features a bathroom vanity, complete with toothpaste, where customers can try out high-tech toothbrushes.
The line-up, which will rotate with time, include about 40 curated brands from wellness, home and design, along with dedicated food, drink and event programming. The first floor is heavy on wellness and beauty brands, while the second floor is mainly home goods. Also on the second floor, a collection of rising Shopify merchants are featured in a curated shopping experience that marks Shopify’s first time partnering with a physical space.
Art exhibits take up the third floor, while the fourth is a community space designed as a downtown loft, complete with a roof deck. The community space offers daily programming and events during store hours. At night, it turns into an invite-only venue for creative types.
Showfields is the brainchild of co-founders Tal Zvi Nathanel, CEO, Amir Zwickel, chief real estate officer and Katie Hunt, chief revenue officer.
“We want to create the most interesting store in the world,” said Nathanel, who is also the founder of mobile payment system MyCheck. “A space filled with wonder that connects a curious and creative community to the brands and experiences reshaping our world.”
In February, Showfields announced a $9 million seed round led by Hanaco Ventures with additional investments from SWaN & Legend Venture Partners, Rainfall Ventures, Communitas Capital (Tom Glocer-former CEO of Thomson Reuters) and Richard Gelfond (CEO of IMAX) in February 2019.
“With over 10,000 emerging brands created annually, we at Hanaco believe Showfields best enables any brand and consumer to build a direct and physical relationship,” said Lior Prosor, general partner, Hacaco Ventures, in a blog post.