Day 321 – Tweener stores stateside, part 1

Thursday 17th November 2011.

Reflecting back on our shopaholic tendencies in the States, we cannot forget (and should seriously think about) what motivated the kids and what left them cold.  As shopaholic parents (in remission!), watching them grow towards teenagers, it’s interesting to occasionally step back and watch what makes them tick, and what turns them off.  So here goes……. what you need to do to keep those pre-teens shopping!

First off, focus on what they want, not what we think they want.  After all they know, or are at least experimenting, and like adults they have their own tastes, directions and peculiarities……

Take mine….. no surprise, with very casual parents, jeans driven, t-shirted tops, and don’t feel the cold (hence distinct lack of jackets and woolly items!), they gravitate towards the collegiate Abercrombie/Hollister/Superdry direction.  Although brand aware, they don’t turn their noses up (yet!) at other labels, but clearly want no-nonsense casuals, basic colours, strong but simple graphics, with a vintage/surf/sport or collegiate touch.  It’s just what they relate to.

So the new kid on the block, in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut (Shanghai, Beijing, Seoul, but not yet Europe) touched their wavelength.  WHO.A.U (Who are you? a South Korean brand with a passion for the California lifestyle) had the look and feel, but was probably still a little too complicated for their mindset.  Based on a Californian vintage collection, the mix is not quite sporty enough for them at this point in time.  However they are still only 10 and 11.  WHO.A.U is definitely more 14+, where they get the vibes and the translation, whereas the trad A&F and Hollister have the pre-teens queueing on the street.  However it is still an interesting concept, and worthwhile to watch their retail directions as the ‘Patch it up’ section (adding badges to your clothes) in terms of customisation (not prevalent in the clothing sector but massive in the shoe and sports sector) could still prove to be quite a hit.

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WHO.A.U

eye catching window

display podium that sums up the brand

denim wall - key at teen age

mannekins with outfits suggestions are key

customisation, add your badge!

patch it up

high level display

colour ambience

table programs

vintage feel in wall display and table presentation

flannel shirts, a must

To sum it up, a nice concept not a Wow!, the kids were happy to go in (but did not pester-power to buy anything!).  It lacked the anticipation of Hollister, the teen glamour of A&F, and the huge accessory offer of other retailers (such as Forever21).  Actually it felt more like an upmarket version of Old Navy, sitting in the price bracket between Old Navy and Hollister.  Parents will like the prices, Tweeners will mix it into their wardrobes, but it’s unlikely to become a destination store on the Saturday shopping list, more a ‘pop in when you pass by’ type of location.

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Related Articles and Links

more retailers will be featured in later posts!………

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