Nine young retailers have joined forces in downtown Brooklyn with a new 1,900-square-foot shop called HiO. Of the brands/retailers featured, all but one are international, many entering the States for the first time. The space serves as a platform for brands looking to get into brick and mortar while serving as a discovery opportunity for consumers.
Companies include: women’s accessories line Parfois, travel items by Campo Marzio, sunglasses brand Hawkers, soap and cosmetics by Compagnie de Provence, embroidered bags by Emma Lomax, spa line L:A Bruket, candles and oil diffusers by Skandinavisk, and notebook line Moleskine. Makeup brand Winky Lux, is U.S. based and already has a store on the Lower East Side.
“The market with the biggest opportunity to grow is still the U.S. for retailers,” HiO co-founder Sever Garcia told CNBC, but this gives them a way to test the market amid all those store closures plaguing the U.S. retail world. At the end of the day, however, all those empty storefronts present opportunities for savvy developers.
HiO is owned by Direct Brands Group, a relatively new company that helps international businesses and e-commerce brands establish bricks-and-mortar locations in North America. HiO had been running “The Edit” at Simon Property Group’s Roosevelt Field Mall. Future HiO shops are planned at 5,000 square feet, with additional spots in urban market across North America planned as soon as this year.
The goal? To surprise and delight shoppers accustomed to shopping online. “We have found more success in our real estate projects when we add more surprises — brands shoppers can’t find anywhere else,” Acadia Realty COO Chris Conlon told CNBC. “If we put in a typical [tenant], we would have disappointed Brooklyn and disappointed ourselves.”