In today’s convenience of digital shopping, we are slowly becoming detached from 'in real life' communication with brands, sometimes opting for convenience over quality and individuality. As technology grows stronger and our workloads surreptitiously increase before our eyes, our dependence on convenience becomes indisputable. With marketing strategies streamlining with our needs through social media outlets, we are slowly losing touch with the tangible world of consumerism. Shopping habits have changed dramatically over the past 10 years and there is a longing for the brick-n-mortar boutique aspect of shopping. With retail chains smothering the market and blinding the mainstream from the way it used to be, the future of retail for independent brands is transforming its approach and it is important to have an appealing setting to draw in.
Todays leading online marketplace for emerging designers, Tictail, and Stockholm’s famed design boutique hotel, Hobo have teamed up and launched Tictail x Hobo, a permanent brick-n-mortar storefront located in the lobby. And ‘Space By’, the original space for featured designers will remain within the Tictail x Hobo section. City dwellers and visitors can have an immersive shopping experience in the lobby of Hobo and tangibly explore pieces from the Tictail marketplace. Located at Brunkebergstorg 4, with the appropriate title ‘Summer Escape in the Swedish Archipelago’ that will feature 25 brands from 13 countries; including hats by Portuguese designer Jolie Su, sunglasses by Stockholm native Nividas, beautiful handmade jewelry by Art of Observance in New York and modern knit blankets by French designer Mathilde Boulley. In tandem with the store opening, one Tictail brand per month has the opportunity to open a pop-up shop in the ‘Space By’, giving visitors the opportunity to meet the designers face-to-face and learn more about the brand on a personal level.
The unveiling of the collaboration took place last week at an intimate dinner that included a small selection of press and influencers who are passionate about the Tictail brand. The evening commenced with bottles of bubbly and a tour of the storefront followed by a fabulous dinner hosted by Carl W Rivera, CEO and co-founder of Tictail and his team and Mattias Stengl, the General Manager at Hobo Hotel. After dessert, we were charmed with an acoustic set by the super talented Swedish pop singer, Rhys. The evening came to an end with more bubbles on the rooftop bar, Tak, overlooking the city. We also had a chance to discuss the partnership tête-a-têtes.
When was the idea of the collaboration first materialized?
Mattias: Hobo has from the very beginning been driven by a philosophy to not accept status quo and to do things in a different way – especially in collaboration with others. I think we as hoteliers need to challenge ourselves with questions such as “If guests don’t pay for the hotel room in 5 years, what would they be willing to pay for instead?”. Those type of questions challenge us to create experiences beyond just a great night’s sleep and it also challenges us to adapt to an increasingly digital world. With all that said, I was so happy to have met Carl Waldekranz about a year ago. Sometimes you meet people that you immediately understand, who you share values with and that you want to work with. I have been following Tictail for many years and have been impressed by how they are pushing boundaries and with our mission to find out what role hotels will play in the future I was humbled about the thought that Tictail and Hobo should create something together. Said and done we continued our dialogue and we are now ready to take our retail experience and Space By to the next level and we could not wish for a better partner to do that with.
Carl: When I met Mattias last summer we and had an instant connection: our two businesses and brands share many common traits and values and it felt like a natural fit to work together on something amazing. We both seek to approach something that feels conventional and known, like hotels and retail, but making it unlike anything anyone has ever seen, so when the opportunity came to collaborate on a storefront within Hobo, we both knew we could make amazing things happen together. At Tictail, we have always set out to redefine what e-commerce can and should be, and with Tictail Market we really saw the impact of opening a storefront to our business: turning into a must-visit NYC staple, a community hub, an event space. Opening our second storefront in our hometown of Stockholm speaks not only to the power of brick-and-mortar for our business but to the future of in-store retail for Tictail and the convergence of online and digital.
Was the decision to have a permanent collaboration influenced by the concept of Hobo’s previous pop-up?
Carl: We’ve had pop-up’s with Tictail previously, albeit in a different format, both in Stockholm, Paris and New York - and we really saw a huge success at each of those occasions. After opening Tictail Market in New York it became even more evident what having a brick-and-mortar meant for our business. Over the past years we’ve been asked repeatedly about opening another storefront, but in Stockholm, however, we didn’t want to do it until we found the perfect opportunity – we wanted to make sure we could create something really special, unlike anything else. When I met with Mattias, and after staying at Hobo on so many different occasions, it became evident how well the establishment connects with our audience. They promote the love for traveling, meeting new cultures and as a hotel, it is a natural place for a lot of foot traffic. At Tictail, we love hosting events at our NYC storefront and we couldn’t have asked for a better partner here in Stockholm. It is also important to us to create something new with this second location, something that differentiates this from what we have done in NYC. That’s where the Space BY concept comes in, as the last bit of the puzzle. Having the opportunity to offer this to an emerging designer, who can come in and take over the space and run their own retail shop, for some this may be the very first time in such an environment, is something we are so excited about!
Mattias: At Hobo, our idea prior to this collaboration came from the question of how we could contribute to the community and the outcome was an ever-changing pop-up area for emerging brands, start-ups, and designers. When we then decided to do Space By and we adopted things from the pop-up shop concepts. We have always tried to do things in an easy way and make it possible for many brands to be there even if you are a super small brand that usually do not have your own physical store.
Have some of the designers that sell on Tictail have had a pop-up at ‘Space By’ in Hobo before?
Mattias: Hobo is a brand that has its roots and heart in Stockholm and combined with our love for collaborations, we decided early on to create a space inside our lobby that was meant for our community and a way to support emerging brands, start-ups and designers. The result was Space BY and it’s been amazing to see Space BY flourish over the past year, and we are humbled about the opportunity that we have been given to collaborate with progressive brands like Bukvy, Deadwood, Teenage Engineering and many more. Some of these also sell their products at Tictail, such as Bukvy and Deadwood, and this is something that made our collaboration now even more natural.
Would you ever plan to branch out even further, perhaps Los Angeles? Berlin? Or another city you believe Tictail and its designers could benefit from? Which city would you choose and why?
Carl: The possibilities are endless. One of the main reasons we love having storefronts in New York and Stockholm, is because we have very active communities in both of those cities. As we continue to think about future storefronts, we will continue to prioritize having an active community in said location. At the end of the day, it’s about community building and making everyone – from our new neighbors to our participating Tictail brands - feel welcome in the space we build. Right now, we want to dedicate time to making Tictail x Hobo as incredible as it can be before thinking of our next location. That said, Paris is a huge market for us, with a wonderful Tictail community, and could be an amazing place to open a store in the coming years.
The Tictail brand and marketplace will probably expand after this shop opening, do you think this will create a shopping trend not only in retail, moving into the future in terms of web to brick-and-mortar? How do you think this concept will influence consumerism in the future?
Carl: By creating physical spaces where Tictail products can be featured, we want to build upon what is already occurring online through our platform and offer customers another avenue to interact with these great products and brands. Another important aspect for us has been to tell the story behind the product someone buys. Globalization has created anonymity when shopping today where the average consumer has no idea where, or who made the item that they are purchasing. This is something we aim to change and make sure shoppers get to know the people behind the brands they shop from. When customers are deciding between a small business and big fashion brands, the story behind the product is something that can really help highlight the value in what they bring to the table.
For Hobo, do you think this will create a shopping trend not only in retail, moving into the future?
Mattias: I think this collaboration has the possibility to change the way that we look at spaces in general. If a hotel could be a retail experience I think it’s a lot of other venues and places that could do things that they necessarily don’t do at the moment. I also think it could be something that will inspire others to find partners where one is online based and the other offline based.
If you live in Stockholm or happen to be in town, it is worth checking out, located at Brunkebergstorg 4, in the city center.