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With the concentration of a vast number of retailers in relatively compact footprint, PSFK sees New York City has the home of physical retail innovation. In fact, with the volume of omnichannel experiences in Manhattan and neighborhoods like Brooklyn’s Williamsburg, it could be argued that NYC is the center of every major aspect of retail innovation!
While pages of amazing retail experiences found in PSFK’s New York City Retail Guide confirm that the city is a hot-bed of experimentation and change, our latest update shows that the Five Boroughs are also a playground for digital-first brands and the DTC arms of consumer goods companies.
In this newsletter, we’ll highlight eight examples of new and established digital brands are exploring physical retail across NYC’s neighborhoods, as they look to provide greater opportunity for consumer engagement.
New York or Nowhere (NYON)
250 Lafayette St, New York, NY 10012
After a successful 6-month pop-up, lifestyle and streetwear brand New York or Nowhere’s permanent Nolita storefront is surrounded by other digital natives like Frank and Oak, Allbirds, and Lively, as well as popular coffee shops Blank Street and La Colombe. Along with NYON branded merch, customers are able to browse exclusive NBA and Knicks-specific pieces. With this location planned to be the first of many, NYON plans to open multiple stores around the five boroughs, likely starting in 2024.
37 Crosby St, New York, NY 10013
A golf brand for the streetwear minded, Malbon’s SoHo flagship provides a modern take on the pro shop. Designed to act as more than just a retail location, Malbon’s New York outpost offers golf-inspired street looks as well as a space to gather, learn about the sport and compare games. After first launching in 2017, the digital-native brand now has a second location in Camel, CA.
Santos by Mónica
22 Ludlow St, New York, NY 10002
After stepping back from the corporate luxury world, designer Mónica Santos Gil first set out to create sustainable and locally made handbags in 2020. Successfully extending her week-to-week pop-up lease in the former Beverly’s space on Ludlow, Gil has signed on for a half-year extension on the SoHo space. Dedicated to making their signature handbags in small batches, the brand plants a tree with One Tree Planted each time a purchase is made.
208 Mott St, New York, NY 10012
Created four years ago, Tombolo makes apparel that plays on classic, kitsch souvenir garments. Existing online, as well as selling at pop-ups and events across the city to Montauk and beyond, Tombolo opened their first permanent, fish shop-inspired physical home in 2022. The store (which used to be Nolita Chemists) is also an event space and gallery.
Little Words Project
374 Bleecker St, New York, NY 10014
Founded in 2014 by Latinx Entrepreneur, Adriana Carrig, Little Words Project, the ‘original words bracelet’ brand has sold over 1 million bracelets. At the end of 2021, the self-care focused brand moved into physical retail with their Bleecker street location. Along with a DIY bar where shoppers can customize their own bracelets, the store also features two activation rooms, one with surround sound positive affirmations as well as a 360 confidence mirror photo op.
12 Prince St, New York, NY 10012
Within its ear piercing studios, Studs’ customers browse the brand’s earring collection before receiving a 1:1 consultation on earring selections, piercing care and placement. Combining its online jewelry business with physical ear piercing studios, experiential earring brand Studs has expanded from its original Prince street space to 16 additional permanent locations across the US as additional pop-up locations through its Studs on Wheels program.
99 Prince St, New York, NY 10012
As travel began to return to pre-pandemic levels, luxury travel brand Rimowa reformatted its New York flagship to assist travelers in updating their passports ahead of their next trip. A complementary self-service, the in-house Passport Studio complements the store’s luggage selection, providing 2×2″ portraits (and emails digital versions for Instagram flexing) on the spot.
363 Lafayette St, New York, NY 10012
First opened at the close of 2020, Swiss running brand On has successfully used its NoHo flagship store to break into the sport sneaker market via a tech-backed experience. Using a ”Magic Wall” that spans the entire store, shoppers are able to measure their running styles through gait-analysis and receive show recommendations based on their running style. An invisible foot scanner further ensures shoe size accuracy within +/- 1.25mm.
New York City is a hub for retail innovation, with a vast number of omnichannel experiences in Manhattan and neighborhoods like Brooklyn’s Williamsburg. It‘s no surprise then that the city is a playground for Direct to Consumer (DTC) retail, with digital–first brands and the DTC arms of consumer goods companies popping up all over. From lifestyle and streetwear brand New York or Nowhere in Nolita, to golf brand Malbon in SoHo, to the self–care focused Little Words Project on Bleecker Street, the variety of DTC stores in NYC is incredible. Rimowa has reformatted its flagship store to assist travelers in updating their passports, while Swiss running brand On has used its NoHo store to break into the sport sneaker market with a tech–backed experience. Whatever a shopper's interests, NYC has something for everyone when it comes to DTC retail.
In our updated report on New York Retail, PSFK’s research and strategy team explores how retailers are implementing innovative strategies, re-formatting their physical footprints, and aligning their stores with consumer expectations around engagement, service and flexibility. Supported by innovative examples from a range of retailers and businesses, get to know the newest store openings in New York City and let this report guide you through the city’s most lively neighborhoods.
Curious to learn more? To dig deeper into these trends and help you understand what this means for your business, connect with the PSFK team today – email@example.com