Click and Mortar
The Web’s Success Stories Come to Their Own Store Near You
Written By: Lindsay DeLong
Photographed By: Jenna Rae Kuhns
Online shopping will be the death of us all. From Amazon to eBay, it sucks you in and doesn’t spit you back out until your wallet is as skinny as that model you’re staring at on the computer right now. You know, the one wearing that hat/bikini/floor-length kimono you just have to possess. With a simple impulse click, you now own it. You type in your credit card info and voila! It’s in the mail. Online shopping is as easy, and as lovely, as that.
The following companies know better than anyone about building a brand online—everything from creating brand awareness to implementing advertising tactics to placement in another company’s retail stores. They have each become successful in their own way via the mazes of the interweb and are now killing it in real life too with brick and mortars of their very own.
By taking the aesthetic of their brand and creating actual storefronts, these businesses are now able to focus more on their appeal, bringing with it even bigger and better things to come—things you can, of course, buy online or, right smack there at the counter, saving on shipping 100 percent.
Either way, your wallet is always going to be lacking the green (you have a shopping problem—admit it), but at least you can keep lean walking around your favorite store in the flesh. You have to … or that bikini in your mailbox is never going to fit!
8710 Sunset Blvd
West Hollywood, CA 90069
Cruise Sunset Boulevard and you won’t miss the Wildfox flagship store, nestled all cozily in Sunset Plaza (with an actual parking lot in the back!)—a rare feat on this fabled strip). It’s a baby pink palace complete with a pint-sized princess balcony and a bucking white unicorn on the fortress rooftop. It’s where Barbie wishes she lived (mostly Beach Barbie, but any of them would be stoked).
Since the brand’s birth in 2007, Wildfox has been a celebrity favorite. Everyone from Lana Del Rey to Beyoncé to the littlest Kardashian has been seen in their signature oversized comfy sweaters. Co-founders Kimberley Gordon and Emily Faulstich were inspired to create a vintage-y brand with dreamlike qualities. Through the creation of a sample line and participation in trade shows, the brand went from idea to reality. The quality and feel of the garments mixed with the playfulness and personality of the clothes gave the lifestyle brand staying power that has since launched Wildfox onto a globally recognized platform—all without a physical storefront.
After seven years of success through both their website and through popular distributors like Kitson and Neiman Marcus, the brand realized it was time to open a shop of their own. The Los Angeles storefront was opened in October of 2014. CEO Jimmy Sommers realized the importance of being in stores and having merchandise immediately available to consumers but says, “We took our time going brick and mortar. We wanted everything to be perfect, including choosing a location as iconic as the Sunset Strip.”
And perfect it is. Walking into the life-sized dollhouse, there are plenty of chandeliers, gold chests, shag rugs, and plush white chairs that are perfect for the boyfriend to lounge on while you get that credit cardio in. There’s a sunglass wall, an intimates section, and dressing rooms covered in metallic wallpaper featuring hundreds of photos taken from previous seasons. The mannequins sport floral crowns, platform ballerina slippers sprinkle the floor, and an outside private patio adorned with foliage and plastic flamingos is a perfect place for said boyfriend to go get a breath of fresh air as bae pushes the time limits, sneaking in just one more flashback to the dressing room.
Sommers says, “With the arrival of our flagship store, we’re able to focus more on our look and have fun with our merchandising, playing into each collection’s theme. The shoppers can experience our campaigns and lookbooks come to life.”
An easel outside urges you to come on in and try what’s on today’s menu: Cold-pressed Chinos, Locally Sourced Denim, and Artisinally Crafted Suits. Walk in, and you’re greeted with not just a sales guy in a snappy suit, but a “Ninja” in thee snappiest suit. Welcome to Bonobos Guideshop, a groomshop for men where the salesmen are called Ninjas, and you are greeted with a cold, icy beverage as you look at (and try on) some nice looking man gear. Located on La Brea Avenue in LA, it’s in good company next to Sugarfish, a swanky sushi joint and directly across the street from good ol’ Stussy. LA brands
The largest clothing brand ever built on the web in the US, the idea for Bonobos was born when two regular dudes, Andy Dunn and Brian Spaly, were hiking in Colombia, talking about pants—pants that fit well, specifically; pants for guys that like to look good but don’t want to spend hours upon days hunting for them; pants for guys who like to hunt for other things besides pants; and perhaps, most importantly, pants for guys who do not love to shop. LA brands
Spaly had a knack for making a good fitting pair of slacks, one with a curved waistband that adapts to the waist’s shape. This waistband would eventually become the staple to a Bonobos pant. What Dunn brought to the table was a desire to reinvent the common pant, and to do it online. “We thought we could deliver great service and great clothing together if we were digitally native, ” says Dunn, who is now CEO. LA Brands
The friends bought a domain name, recruited some fellow Stanford Business School classmates including Erik Allebest, a talented e-commerce genius and a couple angel investors, Joel Peterson and Andy Rachleff, and launched their website aimed at making the best fitting menswear in the world. In just eight years, they have reinvented their industry, launching a successful brand online that has expanded into an entire line not just of the pants that made them famous, but also suits, casual and dress shirts, and even a collection of bathing suits. LA brands
These are all sold online, or for the customer who wants to test before he clicks, at one of the Guideshops located throughout the country. The first flagship location was in New York, and now everywhere from Boston to Dallas to right here in SoCal (Los Angeles, Orange County, and San Diego) has them.
CEO Andy Dunn explains, “We invented the Guideshop because of our commitment to delivering great service, and what we learned is that for half of the people, they have to try before they buy.” The Guideshop was formed to be a sort of “personalized shopping experience.”
For the complete Guideshop experience, a customer can schedule an hour-long appointment where a “Ninja” will walk him through a custom fitting, where the stylish expert will help the lad find just what he needs, to truly be, the dapper gent he knows he has tucked up somewhere inside that baggy shirt. Upon completion of the session, he’ll be sent home, and his threads will be shipped to his home or work free of charge, leaving him with no pesky shopping bags to lug around, freeing those hard working hands up for more beers, or maybe some flowers for the lady. Wait, scratch that, you’re the one about to look all Jon Hamm. She should get you flowers.
401 Newport Center Drive
Newport Beach, CA 92660
These days if you want to wear orange lipstick and have blue nails, you do. It ain’t no thing. You can color your lips with a shade called “F-Bomb, ” and you can paint your nails with “Chaos” or “Addiction” polish. You can tint your lashes with “Perversion” mascara and smear “Dare” shadow on your lids. Alas, it wasn’t always like this, young child.
“The cosmetics department in the mid ’90s was a sea of pink, beige and red. If you wanted color, you had to go to the drug store, and back then the quality of the lines with edgy colors was low, ” says Urban Decay Co-Founder Wende Zomnir. Wanting punkier colors and not knowing where to find them, she brought it upon herself to create them. In 1996, driven by a desire to make “beauty with an edge, ” Zomnir launched a line of 10 lipsticks and 12 nail polishes with the tagline, “Does Pink Make You Puke?”
Since then, Urban Decay has become much more than a place for the bad bitch to get her war paint. The brand has soared to global status and is sold at seemingly every Sephora, Ulta or Macy’s you can find. Major makeup brands are copying their style, and everyone and their mama wants black lipstick now. Times are a-changin’ and business for the revolutionary company is booming, to say the least. This is why Zomnir made the decision to open the first ever flagship store in Fashion Island in late 2014. “It felt like the right time. It makes sense for us to understand what the freestanding model would look like as we expand internationally, ” she says. LA brands
The chosen location was Newport’s Fashion Island, just 10 minutes from Urban Decay’s corporate offices. Bringing the aesthetic of the online store into a physical space was obviously a fun project for the brand. Blend edgy, feminine, and cool with a sea of purple and you have a 1, 000 square-foot mecca of heaven for the makeup connoisseur. A huge video wall, six stations with expert artists there to snazz up your look, and even a bathroom plastered with photos of the UD family’s animal friends. The brand’s vibe is there, right smack in your pretty face. They have an interactive photo booth too, so swipe some “Shame” on your lips and pucker up for the cam. Urban Decay is about fun, and you, quirky little lady, know how to have it. LA brands