Retailer of the Week
21 Mar. 2012
MICHAELA GIELGEN, LUDWIG3, REGENSBURG, GERMANYThis Wednesday, our Retailer of the Week is Michaela Gielgen, owner of Ludwig3, a green concept store with fashion, books, food and beauty products in Regensburg. Over 200 sqm, Gielgen offers brands like Camper, Friendly Hunting, Kuyichi, Nudie, John Smedley, K.O.I Jeans and Knowledge Cotton Apparel. In our interview she talked about denim bestsellers, Berlin inspirations and the importance of changing shop windows. Interview by Lena Elster
What are your current bestsellers?
At the moment our bestsellers in the textile sector are jeans, colored chinos and t-shirts. Patchwork cashmere scarves and belts also sell well. In the concept sector, natural cosmetics by Korres and mymüsli from Passau are in great demand.
How important is the denim segment for your store?
Denim is an important beginner product and sales maker for our store. We are very well placed in this range and offer a large selection of styles and sizes. Our pleased customers bring in their friends and acquaintances through word of mouth. The jeans assortment stays pretty much the same the same till the end of the season and is always in stock.
Which jeans labels are your bestsellers?
We only sell organic and fair-trade jeans. All of our labels have done well, particularly Kuyichi, Nudie, K.O.I, Sey, Filippa K. and Knowledge Cotton Apparel.
\" We are very well placed in the denim range and offer a large selection of styles and sizes.\"
Do customers search for favorite brands and special styles or do they buy spontaneously?
Regular customers like to buy their favorite brands or ask for special models. But they’re also open to new brands because they know that they match our required standards. New customers are fascinated by our large range of jeans and pick their jeans spontaneously.
Which colors, styles and cuts are currently in demand?
We offer the perfect jeans for every type – boot cut, boyfriend, skinny or straight. For Spring/Summer we’re already selling light shades but we still have the dark and raw styles for our business range.
Where do you order your products?
We do our previews at Premium and Bread & Butter and at lots of small Berlin fairs such as Green Showroom at Adlon and the Ethical Fashion Show. Afterwards, we order from Munich.
What inspires you?
The inspiration for Ludwig3’s store philosophy comes from the labels and the people who have thought a lot about how to combine responsible and sustainable production with great design. Most of the labels get lost in normal stores, but we give them a stage. We like to connect with other people and we are very proud of how far we’ve come so far. In everyday life, I’m constantly inspired by everything new and special.
Where do you get your information about upcoming trends?
Mostly from trade magazines and the Internet. But most of our customers don’t put much of an emphasis on trends. They have their own style that they don’t give up for what’s hot at the moment.
Ludwig3 - Ludwigstraße 3 - 93047 Regensburg - www.ludwig3.de
How important is it for you to stay in contact with your (regular) customers?
I think to stay in contact with all of your customers is the key to success. The big advantage of retail as opposed to online shops is to have personal contact with your customers. We have the possibility to advise and when a client feels good and taken care of, he soon becomes a regular customer. It is also important to inform our costumers about our assortment.
Which brands have you ordered now for the first time?
I discovered K.O.I Jeans, Leibschneider, Freitag, Aigle and Pyua. They all offer great products.
What’s the difference between Ludwig3 and other stores?
I don’t want to set myself apart from others. What I can say is that Ludwig3 is a modern concept store that combines design with ecological and fair-trade ideas. We’re proud that we’ve been honored with the “Fair Handelspreis” within our first business year.
What do you like about your location and your customers?
Regensburg is a great place with a beautiful historic center, Italian flair, world cultural heritage, versatile gastronomy, tourists from around the world and a highly committed city marketing plan. Our customers are not only from different social classes, but also between 15 and 70 years old, which is inspiring for everyone.
Ludwig3 is not selling online, but runs a website and a facebook page to stay in touch with customers and keeping them informed.
Are there any differences to similar stores in bigger cities like Berlin, London or New York?
I think interesting shop concepts can be anywhere. Ludwig3 is different, because we try to present the eco idea in a modern and attractive way and offer products across all price ranges. We are green, but aren’t too obvious about it, which also makes us favorable among fashion-oriented people.
Do you have an online shop?
Do you run any social media activities?
We’re on Facebook (just the store) and we have a webpage with our most important information.
Do you offer any (marketing) specials, such as customer cards, mailings, events, etc?
We have a running bonus system, which is great for our regular customers. For special updates we send out postcards. We don’t do events, but we have a small bar in our store where we offer samples from our food selection. Sometimes we offer special advisory services for our cosmetic products, but our main focus lies on the ever-changing window and shop decoration. That’s interesting for regular and new customers alike.
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