Miltons – The Store For Men recently implemented a TestShop concept in its Chestnut Hill store and, according to Dana Katz, it’s been a home run! The three brands sharing 350 square feet of premium space are Paige Denim, State backpacks, and Vince knitwear. So far, the big winner has been Paige: at $179 to $198 retails, Katz was surprised by the strong (25 percent) sell-throughs so he’s already reordered.
The evolution was a natural consequence of brainstorming with friends. Mike Sampson and Ken Giddon came up with the original concept, a hybrid pop-up/concession model in which a vendor (or vendors) pay what amounts to rent for a dedicated space that they can design, stock, manage, and market as they see fit for a given period of time. The store pays the vendor the wholesale price of whatever sells; what doesn’t sell goes back to the vendor. The retailer then has the option of continuing with the brand after the test, or not.
“We sat down over lunch at Project and talked about which brands I don’t carry that could enhance my mix,” says Katz. “We carefully considered what was missing and came up with these three contemporary labels. In addition to increased sales, the shop has created a nice buzz. We’re now discussing what to bring in for the next cycle.”
Asked why a credible retailer would need Giddon and Sampson to mediate this kind of deal, Katz expresses much admiration for the two. “Mike and Ken have been doing it a long time and have strong relationships with the principals of many great brands. A local rep might not so readily approve a pop-up outside of NYC.”