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Founded in 2018, Leap operates retail locations in major cities like Chicago, New York and San Francisco, Los Angeles, Dallas, Austin, Scottsdale, Coral Gables and Fort Lauderdale. Brands using the company for their physical stores and operations include popular retailers like Faherty, Something Navy, Frank and Oak, Yoga Democracy, Twenty Montreal, Goodlife, Naadam, Dormify, Koio, Birdies, Upwest, and Luli Fama.
Leap takes care of everything for a brand, from locating and signing the leases, to renovating the spaces, designing layouts and installing fixtures. The company also provides checkout systems and data analytics, as well as training and even providing salespeople for their client’s brick and mortar stores. Because the company has built the infrastructure already, and maintains a pipeline of locations ready to deploy, they can offer brands a faster and more cost efficient way to serve their customers than going it alone. On average, it takes Leap less than 60 days to open a store, and the company bears most of the upfront costs which makes them an attractive partner for landlords, who otherwise would be dealing with the uncertainty that comes from contracting out to a myriad array of shifting retailers.
Leap saves its clients money by realizing economies of scale across operating infrastructure and staffing, and creates revenue for itself by withholding from the monthly intake of client stores an amount equal to that location’s operating expenses, including the cost of insurance, rent and staffing, plus a surcharge of about 10%. Leap also extracts an additional fee equal to 5-20% of the store’s sales, depending on the details of the client's contract, such as length of lease, which can run up to seven years.
Leap is one of a number of new plug and play operators PSFK researchers have noticed stepping in to provide critical backend support and infrastructure to the rising class of creators and entrepreneurs who are beginning to transition from marketing their influence online to selling branded physical products on main street. Other examples include Pietra, which provides a business-in-a-box platform for digital creators giving them all the tools they need to build their own business, such as sourcing, warehousing, fulfillment, and e-commerce tools; CALA, an end-to-end fashion-brand marketplace targeted toward creators and influencers, but also available to anyone who is looking to launch and helm their own fashion brand; and Drop Party, a full-service eCommerce platform that handles product “drops” for top creators selling to their fan communities.
This article originally appeared in PSFK’s research paper, Unlocking the Power of Creator-Led Brands