Retailer of the Week
07 Dec. 2011
MICHAEL ORDNUNG, LADEN 12, NÜRNBERGLocated in the heart of Nürnberg/Germany, Laden 12 offers streetwear labels like Carhartt, Edwin, Boxfresh or Stüssy, footwear labels such as Onitsuka Tiger, Asics, or Sperry, as well as denim labels like Lee or Meltin’Pot. Here, owner Michael Ordnung talks about current bestsellers. By Lena Elster and Maria Hunstig
What are your current bestsellers?
For us, bestsellers are not always the brands that sell best and cause a sudden run, but labels which inspire us and customers in the long run.
There have been great changes in the field of menswear. Segments like action sports struggle and the trend goes to more formal and European collections.
This is why many might find it surprising, that Carhartt is a clear bestseller at Laden 12. It’s because it doesn’t have a fixed target group and it’s a traditional workwear brand, a basic.
When it comes to footwear, Pointer, Sanders Footwear, Sebago, Shoo, Onitsuka Tiger, Asics, Sperry Top-Sider are our bestsellers.
In terms of clothing, it is Carhartt, Iriedaily, Wemoto but also Sixpack France, Homecore, Lee 101, Edwin, Qhuit, Imaginary Foundation, Mads Norgaard, Denim Demon and of course Il Busetto from Italy.
For women, the range is a bit less sporty and more feminine. Bestsellers here are Pointer, Felmini, Hub, Shoo, Keds, Crick it Hamburg, Sebago and Liebeskind Berlin in the footwear/accessories field. For apparel, Sessun works very well, also brands like Nümph, Kaffe, Obey or R95 show a continuously good performance.
Which denim labels perform best?
The denim sector is generally struggling. There are countless denim brands and their products resemble each other a lot. This is why we have always focussed on authentic labels which we wear ourselves and which have a certain stability within the market, often going hand in hand with a strong heritage. Our best-performing denim brands for men are Carhartt, Edwin, Lee, Lee 101 and Cheap Monday, for women they are Meltin’Pot, Herrlicher and Gang. Customers often show a strong brand loyalty in the denim sector, this is caused by the intricateness of a pair of jeans. One can easily try a new t-shirt and its look, cut and price can quickly be determined. With jeans, this is much more difficult. Questions about their fit and quality can’t be detected within seconds.
There will always be hypes like in the case of Cheap Monday, when people do not ask questions but simply take the products home.
There have been a lot of changes regarding fits. Shapes for men’s jeans have become much slimmer, though we still sell a lot of regular-cut denims.
And we experience great gender-wise differences in terms of washings: While men have always been purchasing many raw and Japanese denims with discreet washings and small details, women like it bold and light, maybe even destroyed. They are wearing straight fits or slight boot-cuts.
But since the chino boom, our denim section has been limited to the fundamentals.
Where do you buy your merchandise?
I actually do not want to talk much about this, it’s my little secret. But I do my purchases on an international level. Trade shows are often not sufficient enough. They are often dull and get limited by the fair organizers to maximize commercial success. It is strange how smaller side events always develop next to the main trade shows after a while and there must be a reason for this. People often get their inspiration by other media these days and I get mine by other countries.
Laden 12 interior
What’s the most important piece of clothing for summer 2012 and what is in the pipeline for winter 2012/13?
For me, there is no one most important garment, it’s the whole outfit, the look that matters. Shoes are every important to me, trousers and then tops.
But if you ask me like that, chinos in good colors and cuts are a big topic, as well as in-between coats, which have often been presumed dead but now win importance due to the climate change. And precisely cut shirts, fashionable and dressed. Accessories like bags and small leather goods are crucial, too.
For summer, colored chinos will be a big thing and, for me personally, shoes by Elia Mauitzi. And I hope that boot-cuts will not be essential to women in winter 2012/13.
What are the most important trends/product groups?
I do not know much about trends. For me, a trend is, if five people go and buy something which no one else owns. If then, after two years, five million people buy something, it is not a trend anymore. That is why there are trend scouts. Companies such as adidas spend a lot of money on people who keep their eyes open for trends all over the world and then tell decision makers in the head office what they need in three years time. Look at snap caps: Once a hype, then everyone talked about it, and now the big players want to surf on the wave, too.
Do you like trying out new items or labels? Are you generally experimental?
There is always something, which no one knows or owns. A rebellion cannot be carried out in accordance with the rest because then, it wouldn’t be a rebellion anymore.
The city where I work has everything and – as everywhere – plenty of that. So a shop like ours has to live from experiments, from trying, from discussing with the team or the distribution. Not from being cool, but from a feeling and an international point-of-view. I always ask myself if it was right to buy this and that. The merchandise is too far away to look at it if it is shipped from abroad. But if you then open the box, it’s like being a child and overwhelming happiness comes up. That’s what we live for and what we try to forward to our customers.
What does your shop have which others don’t?
This is a hard question as I do not want to put myself above others or run down anybody. Therefore I go with a general phrase: A string puppet show lives from the puppets on the strings. If you lay them down, they always look very sad. If you lift them up and awaken them to live, it’s amazing to watch them.
Textiles are dead and shoes are, too, and you need strings and a guiding hand to make them vivid.
What do you like about your town, the location?
Nürnberg has a great history and a strong architectural character. I am most happy about the numerous international visitors, tourists and many bright insiders from the well-known sports goods producers here. It’s amazingly fun to interchange with Asians, Brits, Americans and locals. The city has a manageable size and can’t be compared to Germany’s real metropolitan cities. But there is great potential in this area, also caused by the catchment area around.
Laden 12 interior
How important is the interior, the atmosphere and the whole package?
The shop serves as a business card. It doesn’t have to be designed by a fancy interior architect but it must be coherent. Atmosphere and a harmonious package are the key to success.
Although I would like to say that great shops with poor products do often not run as well as those which have grown with great products.
I have opted for a very special way. I continuously change things in the shop to always make sure it matches the products and therefore completes the statement of the whole sales area.
How is the buying behavior developing? Towards classics or the very special – what do people want?
This might be the key question for me. There will be a huge partition here. We live in a time, when customers scan a barcode with their smart phones in order to find out where and for how much they can purchase a product. Blogs, Internet and e-commerce cause a trend, everyone talks about. It is going to spread differently in the different classes of society.
People with money buy everywhere. A lot is purchased abroad and people fly to London for the weekend to go shopping and eat out.
The middle class is certainly focussing on quality, design and lifestyle, also without the price being of direct importance. But money is not spent without a point and priorities are set very consciously.
The third category is dominated by the cost-benefit analysis. Brands do not matter immediately and people buy garments because they simply need a new shirt or pants. This is where online shops are going to dominate the market in the future. It’s a business of quantities.
Do you have plans for an online shop? Do you buy online yourself? Will there even be brick and mortar retail shops in the future?
I have planned that for a long time, but if we are going to do that, than only in a very minimalistic format with selected and limited items. I don’t know at what point of time that is going to happen.
Me personally, I would never shop online. The honor of my job forbids me to! Buying batteries, rare aftershaves and music is okay, but never clothing. The memory of where I bought a garment always comes up again when I wear it.
I do even think that there is a huge chance for brick and mortar retail stores in the current time. But only if the concept is coherent. Retailers who only purchase what is currently hyped will have difficulties as the brands’ life span becomes shorter and shorter. And after a while, their shops will always look like a department store. But shops which offer special qualities in terms of service and products and which show a durability in their workflows and do not go crazy, will always have great success.
Is there a role model for Laden 12? Any shop worldwide which inspires you?
When speaking of online shops, that’s easy – for me, there is only Colette Paris. In terms of stationary retail, I am inspired by a Louis Vuitton monobrand store and by Manufactum in “5 Höfen“ in Munich. Also Tate or Thomas I Punkt in Hamburg, Patrik Muff in Munich, Soho London, a surf store in Maui which always just opened if there were no waves, have been role models in my mind. I could name hundreds. Retail stores are cultural assets.
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