Retail is changing. As local brands become hungry for global audiences, they want to reach customers in new cities in ways that disrupt the traditional model for doing business.
Launching a pop-up abroad is increasingly becoming a way in which businesses can test the waters the other side of the sea. By bridging the gap between ‘this’ audience and ‘that’ with a temporary store, they can build awareness, create a buzz and try different locations before they buy. One brand doing exactly that is Heritage Collection, a luxury homeware shop selling one-of-a-kind, handmade furnishings and objects steeped in Turkish cultural tradition.
Situated in the heart of the Old Town of Geneva, Switzerland, the original shop showcases Turkish workmanship with items including ceramics, hand-blown glass works and intricately embroidered textiles. Owner Ozhun Beleli speaks passionately about the products, telling us that ‘every item we sell is a limited edition, and has been hand-crafted with a rich cultural background. Everything is so unique that it would be impossible to find a similar object elsewhere.’
The brand is underpinned by an eagerness to share the masterpieces of their exclusive designers with the world – ‘we feel the same passion for our products that the craftsmen had while creating them.’ Now, satisfied with the success of their luxury boutique in Geneva, the brand seeks to spread their wealth of beautiful pieces beyond the cobbled streets of the Swiss city.
Beleli is firm in his goals for travelling the brand. ‘We started looking to cities with larger populations, multicultural audiences that are easily accessible, high volumes of tourists all year round and also with more affluent areas.’ Thus Heritage settled on starting its voyage in our very own London. Looking to launch several pop-ups, Beleli intended to gauge the market reactions with an ‘A/B Test’ in different regions before settling on a permanent store – something brands are doing increasingly in this new retail climate.
‘At this point, We Are Pop Up suggested that I think about the ShopShare concept, which was new to me. Then one day I saw the announcement of this shop, Handmade Interiors, which I thought was absolutely beautiful. When I saw it on the We Are Pop Up website I thought, ‘Why not?! It is so suitable for us’. So I got in touch with them and this is the result’
Currently available at Handmade Interiors in Little Venice, Heritage Collection resides proudly amongst the shop’s equally beautiful selection of textiles and homeware. The high quality products complement each other effortlessly – Beleli understands that looking for the right combination of brands is crucial to a successful ShopShare. ‘Even the name ‘Handmade Interiors’ was so suitable for us because all our products are handmade so it couldn’t have been a more perfect match’.
Similarly with the right choice of location, Beleli wanted to target two specific types of regions in London. ‘One is a combination of local customers as well as a stream of tourists, whereas the other area that we want to test is purely a local client base. The location we have here at Handmade Interiors is a good example of only local people visiting the shop. The affluence of the area makes it a very good market for us’.
As a brand launching a product overseas, Beleli knows that there are several important things to think about. Namely, ‘are your products suitable for the market we are looking at being in?’ With Heritage Collection, he was able to predict a demand for the products overseas based on the experience with the tourist clients in their Geneva store – many of which are from the UK.
‘If we were to do a list of the top buyers of our pieces I’m sure they would be in the top three. That’s why the UK and London in particular is such an attractive market for us.’
Beleli tells us that using We Are Pop Up has completely changed the way Heritage Collection is now approaching retail:
‘We were just thinking of doing our own pop-up and then it was suggested that we do a ShopShare. The concept is amazing and helped us so much.
‘I can see it happening more. It’s popular because of the low cost and sharing a salesperson. You have the existing client base… Everything! And with a brand like us it’s also good for the existing shop, bringing new products into the shop, attracting new clients, suggesting new ways of working with existing clients. It works both ways.’
Wondering if you should take your brand overseas? Read our 5 reasons to travel your brand to find out why local retailers are now global retailers.
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