Retailer of the Week
Alessandro De Pasquale and Philipp Kaczmarek
19 Dec. 2012
Philipp Kaczmarek and Alessandro De Pasquale, owner of StoffsüchtigWhen going to university in Hamburg, Philipp Kaczmarek and Alessandro De Pasquale found the retail landscape of their beloved North German city rather boring. That’s why they decided to open up their own fashion shop 'Stoffsüchtig' in one of the most interesting areas around: the newly developed HafenCity which is about to emerge from a cold business district to an appealing neighbourhood. Here’s how they suceed.
Why did you open the store? Could you tell us the story behind it?!
During our time at university we decided that we wanted to make Hamburg a more attractive fashion location, with more exciting opportunities to dress uniquely. We wanted to create something different, to deviate from the beaten track of the serious, almost soporific, retail industry. We wanted to bring exciting design, which stands out from the crowd, to Hamburg.
Our vision is for a lively fashion-store concept that hosts interesting events and engages customers on playful, intellectual and emotional levels alike. I wrote my final examination about a concept like this, and Stoffsüchtig was born.
Which is one of the most important “ingredients” for a successful retail industry?
Having a unique character, an unmistakable signature as well as possessing the ability to make people enthusiastic about ideas. The right portfolio is also very important, but the main thing is having fun at work. It is also essential to have a talent for spotting trends and zeitgeist. Owing to the present economic situation, you should be a little crazy and have a willingness to take a risk.
Which are the current bestsellers? Brands as well as styles? Which is your personal favourite item?
Particularly popular is our assortment of winter-jackets for womenswear as well as menswear. Current favourite brands for menswear are Johnny Love, Knowledge Cotton Apparel, Homecore and Libertine, and for womenswear it is the newcomer label Blonde8, then Kilian Kerner and of course the leather jackets by Tigha.
My personal favourites are leather jackets by Seann Jewall from Hamburg, and the label Hannibal from Munich.
How important is the denim section in your store? Which cuts, silhouettes, washings and colours are the most popular regarding denims?
After a chino pants hype, the denim business awakes to life again! Customers are now longing for denim, especially denim of a clean, and purist jeans design. Every season jeans sales are an important component of our business. Skinny jeans are favoured by younger customers. This season cuts such as the tube fit or the classic regular fit are totally hip. In the denim section we expanded our assortment with Big E. Big E focus on denim craftsmanship, quality and attention to detail.
Which brands have you recently incorporated into your assortment?
Libertine-Libertine from Denmark is a new brand at Stoffsüchtig, and we are thrilled by the prints on their shirts and trousers, especially the wild animal prints on the menswear.
For the womenswear we incorporated Crumpet from London. Crumpet use wonderful mixtures of material, high class knitwear, and beautiful colours to make the label something special.
Do customers search for special items or is it “spontaneously shopping”?
Owing to our unique range, we do receive many customers seeking particular garments. But of course we also receive “spontaneous shoppers”, they are often the best. Thanks to our wide range of products all customers get to peruse the selection and find new styles.
Where do you buy your merchandise? What does inspire you? Where/how do you get informed about new trends?
We keep our eyes and ears open and regularly visit showrooms and fairs in Berlin, Copenhagen, Paris and London. We get inspired by fashion trends, which are far from the mainstream, because we like to offer our customers something special, something which they will not find around every corner. Travel is therefore very important for us. We get beautiful and different impressions from visiting other cultures, which are perfect as inspirations.
Which trends await us 2013?
In our business, colorful prints are highly popular, whether on trousers, shirts or jackets, we love prints! Moreover neon-details are a theme for Stoffsüchtig.
How do you stay in touch with your customers?
We have a Stoffsüchtig newsletter and of course a Facebook page. For our very special customers we founded the exclusive shopping club Stoffsüchtig e.V. Here we offer events and special offers. We organize pre-order events, collection presentations with designers, attractive sales events and of course glittering celebrations, all of which occur in-store.
What does your shop have, which others do not have?
We have a heart and a soul; this is something which gets lost easily in huge companies. Moreover our shop is crazy, in a positive sense. We always try to surprise our customers, whether through tiny details regarding interior design, or through surprising merchandising. For instance, who else has a padded cell in their store? Last but not least, we are the only shop in Hamburg to stock our unique and exclusive selection of designers and brands.
What do you like about your city/ your location/ your clientele?
Our customers are our friends. We warmly welcome every visitor. Many of them are just passing by to chat a little.
Our location, the HafenCity (harbour city) is a very exciting and inspiring environment. We have a very interesting clientele, and many tourists visit us, because they know that here they’ll find true German, and in particular Berlin, design.
Where does the shopping behaviour lead toward, classic or special?
Classics of high quality are always sold, but many customers are visiting our store, because they are searching for something special, something unique.
Do you have an online shop? Are you active on social media platforms?
We have had an online shop since May 2012, and are content with its development; we hope it continues like this! We try to transfer the spirit of Stoffsüchtig to our web shop and through its layout and description. We try to create as much fun as possible for our customers shopping online. Social media such as Facebook is very important for us since it works as a mediator between our friends and customers and strengthens loyalty.
Do you have something like an idol store? A shop that inspires you?
This is difficult to say. Basically we respect people who follow their volition and start their own projects. Presently we really like the Voo store in Berlin because of their beautiful range of products and the industrial layout of the store.
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