I suppose you would have to be crazy. Well, looking at a lot of our art, print & designs, I suppose that goes without saying.
Why did we do it? Why did we open a shop? In a pandemic.
Everyone said you were mad . Everyone said online is the future. Everyone said that the High Street was dead. And they did say all that and more.
We didn't see it as that. Yes we knew their was some crazy risks involved but we also new that there is no better way to market, test and learn about your brand and products than real life feedback from real life customers.
Pop Up shop test for 2 weeks
We didn't just jump straight in though. We researched our location. Counted footfall. Found an area that had our type of vibe and found there was no better place for the Famous Rebel brand than Totnes, Devon. We even did a Pop Up shop test there for 2 weeks. Luckily the amazing bag designer Lucy Cast had her shop free for a fortnight. Lucy is just one of many great individual shops in Totnes. That's why we knew we would fit straight in.
Some of Lucy cast's great work
Don't get me wrong online is great ( it's where we started ) and there are some great apps for getting customer feedback ( we use Stamped ). But there is nothing like standing watching customers in store. Seeing what brings them in. Seeing what they pick up, seeing what they laugh at and eventually seeing what they buy.
The Shop before being made Famous
it looked pretty sad, especially in the rain.
It's strange that people see online as a retail revolution but the buying process is the same. You want to entice people in to the shop ( this is called Traffic in online terms ) and you get them in with an interesting shop window ( your website in online terms ). Once inside some will browse, some will walk out in disgust ( it has happened ! ), and some will pick up and put down , and eventually some will buy. In an online store you can see these thing happening using analytics ( we use Shopify analytics ) , that can show you how many visitors are on your site, where they come from and what they are doing ( scary ). From this eventually your online ads should be focused on the customers that you know buy i.e customer demographics ( I know this is getting full of marketing speak, I cant help it I have a background in Marketing lol ).
The Shop being made Famous
What is fascinating though ( at least to me ) is that this process is exactly the same in the High Street in Totnes. Eventually you can almost tell who will like the shop , come in and possibly buy just by going outside and standing in the street. There is a caveat to that in that sometimes you are completely wrong ( i.e when an elderly lady buys lots of Fuck Off Cards).
So to get to the original point. Why did we open a Wall Art store in the pandemic. Well basically because we believed that having this real world marketing experience could only help in our online marketing. It also allowed us to show that we were a real store, show our online customers that we were real people and gave us unlimited stories and images for our day to day life on Social Media. We also new that the location we had chosen to open was bucking the trend of failing High Streets
Original Art, Interiors & fashion for Rebels
It's easy to hide behind an online store with fancy words and images and loads of start up brands do this. But at the end of the day the customer is buying into part of your brand, your story and your life. I believe that means showing who you are and connecting. Having the ability to do that is the real reason we opened our store in the real world. Oh and the fact that online can be quite a lonely, thankless place at times. So even in a Pandemic we are glad we did it.
Thanks for reading Rebels x