Retailer of the Week
Philip Gaedicke, co-owner of Berlin-based Soto store
13 Mar. 2013
Philip Gaedicke, co-owner of Soto Store, BerlinBerlin based store Soto was founded in April 2010 by Philip Gaedicke, Omer Ben-Michael and David Fischer. They are all veterans in the menswear, fashion and media landscape. "We all wanted to have our own physical space where we can meet people and offer the products that we love. A space that represents us and our interests", explains Philip Gaedicke. Here, he discusses the bestsellers, trends and the importance of online shops. Interview by Maria Hunstig
Soto founders Omer Ben-Michael, David Fischer, Philip Gaedicke
Which is the most important ingredient for successful retailing?
In the end it's a people's business. So dealing with your customers and your brands is the most valuable task we're trying to manage. And hopefully our customers appreciate our efforts and the vibe that we're spreading.
What are your current bestselling labels? Which are your personal favourite items?
The Scandinavian brands Our Legacy and Norse Projects are the best selling items in store. All of us do like Thom Browne very much.
How important is the denim segment for your store?
Denim is only a small part of our product range. We sell Acne and HAN jeans best.
Soto store Berlin
In terms of denims: Which cuts / shapes / washings / colors are most popular at the moment?
The denim pants by Swedish label Acne and Danish brand Han Kjobenhavn are our customers‘ favourite ones - they like their pants to be made out of raw denim in straight cut and without a lot of details or experimental washings.
Which new labels have you added to your assortment recently?
The newest brands added to our stock are a mixture of newcomer brands like Mr. Bathing Ape, Sansovino 6, Cash CA & BLK DNM and well-known labels like Dries Van Noten & Barbour.
Do customers search for favorite brands and special styles or do they buy spontaneously?
Some of our customers know exactly what they want and come to us because of the small brands you don‘t get anywhere else, but also a lot of tourists just come by and flick through the whole collection.
What inspires you, where do you get your information about upcoming trends and brands?
We run the usual tradeshows here in Europe and try to travel as much as we can to the US and Asia to find new brands. We mainly get inspired by meeting new people and simply having a good time wherever we are.
Soto store Berlin
What do you think will be the key-pieces/trends in 2013?
For 2013 we are all for straight wide-cut pants, turtle necks and an overall clean and basic look.
How do you stay in contact to your (regular) customers?
Lots of our regular customers constantly come by, scan the new arrived pieces and have a talk to our staff. A lot of times we see our customer in different occasions outside the store at dinners, events, parties etc, and exchange with each other. Of course, we also offer a weekly newslettter and different social media channels to keep in touch with us.
What does your shop that others don’t?
I don't know what other stores don't have, but I think our mix of brands ranging from mid segment to high end is quite unique. And I must say that we're nothing without our staff. They're keeping everything together and live Soto to the fullest.
What do you like about your location and your customers?
We love Berlin - It's not so much about money here. It's more about opportunities and creating things.
How is buying behavior changing – do people look for classics or specialities?
It‘s all about the right mixture of traditional items and new inventions - that is also the mix we intend to offer our customers. But in general I would say that basics and classics rule.
Do you have an online shop? Do you run any social media activities?
We have an online store (sotostore.com) with a weekly newsletter, a blog, same as a facebook page (facebook.com/sotoberlin) and Twitter to update our clients, we can also be found on labelfinder.com and we got an Instagram profile (instagram.com/sotostore) where we post pictures.There are so many tools out there that you can use and we pretty much love all of them. Can't wait until the day when we're finally sick of it.
Is there a role model for your shop? Any store – worldwide – which inspires you?
There are so many good stores out there, but really only a few that stand out. In my opinion, nowadays a great store is less and less determined by its products, since you most probably can get them anywhere else anyways, but more about that specific moment that you set your foot inside. If that feeling excites you, then you've probably entered a great store.
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