Retail Alchemy 101

What’s the recipe for retail success if you’re an independent retailer striking out on your own? There are at least a dozen variables – some that you can control, most that no one can really control. Location. Merch mix. Price point. Traffic. Density. Timing. Trends. The marketplace. And that elusive pixie dust that comes from a certain type of customer and thrill-seeker who likes the discovery of that off-the-beaten-path retail thrill [hint: think Opening Ceremony on Howard Street circa 2005] before the masses discover it. And location.

Crain’s recently thrashed (or lamented depending on your perspective) the boom-and-bust goings on of the Lower East Side fashion boutiques in a piece earlier this week. Racked picked up the piece (“Can’t a Boutique Survive on the LES Anymore?“) and the comments found there were a lot more interesting than Crain’s thin reporting. All of which got us thinking about the changes we have seen over the years in retail in general and in Williamsburg, specifically — as avid shoppers, shop-keeps, market-makers and general fans of social theories on why people buy. A lot of these changes come from some of the reaction trends in shopping and retail. Things like pop-up shops, retail collectives, flash sales and the knee-jerk reaction to online shopping.

Beginning next Wednesday, we’re going to do a deep dive into these trends, picking and choosing some of the stores, boutiques, entrepreneurs and innovators who are making things happen in new ways in retail. We encourage you to jump in, join in the conversation, state your piece, opine or tweet.



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