After 15 years on the international market, California-based lifestyle brand Brixton has opened its first bricks-and-mortar store, right here in Sydney.
The new retail space officially opened its doors in December, signalling a significant milestone in Brixton’s aggressive global expansion efforts.
Over the last few years, the vintage-inspired brand has established high-profile collaborations with internationally recognised skate, music and automotive brands such as Independent and Chevrolet, spawning a range of headwear, apparel and accessories. Now, Australian fans can get a glimpse of the full line of men’s and women’s lifestyle products in person.
“With the opening of our first modular retail store, we are offering customers a new way to experience and engage with Brixton,” Australasia managing director Mark Nelmes told Inside Retail.
“This is something we’ve always dreamed of. Surry Hills was the perfect location for us to bring our retail space to life – with its blue-collar roots and creative energy – being part of an authentic community that breathes our lifestyle was very important to the brand.”
Brixton’s bricks-and-mortar evolution
It’s an interesting time for the US brand to delve into the bricks-and-mortar retailing format, particularly here in Australia. With high occupancy costs and retail leasing conditions making headlines across the board, many international chains are opting to step away from the physical shopfront model.
It’s precisely why Nelmes believes it’s the right time to get involved.
“A big reason why we decided to launch the store was because the online marketplace is just so busy, so congested. This is a way for us to cut through the noise and display our brand story in full,” he said.
“We don’t play defence, we only play offence. You can look at brands pulling out of bricks and mortar as a hit to the industry, but I see it as a real opportunity. No one else is doing this, so there’s a bigger opportunity for us to capture the market.”
Nelmes refers to the notion of destination retailing. In addition to offering men’s and women’s headwear, apparel, and accessories, the new flagship store will also host local music events, art shows and surf and skate video premieres. It’s all part of a wider strategy to lure youth consumers to bricks-and-mortar stores, he revealed.
“The speed, multiple marketing channels, fast trends and distribution has definitely changed as a result of social media, e-commerce platforms and easy payment offerings. This presents challenges, but exciting challenges,” Nelmes said.
“Having an ever-evolving space that can we can use to educate people about our brand, showcase seasonal stories, launch collaborative concepts, and host cultural events is something that we have always dreamed of doing. Young kids are so transitional in their habits; what works today won’t work tomorrow, so you have to constantly revitalise your brand.”
Following that line of thinking, the new global flagship store has integrated an innovative click-and-collect offering. The Surry Hills location was specifically chosen for its street parking and collection capabilities, where customers can scan and pick up items ordered online within hours of purchasing.
“Click and collect is huge for us, it’s where the market is going, and it had to be factored into our bricks and mortar concept,” Nelmes said.
The Sydney flagship store isn’t the only new addition generating buzz at Brixton. New CEO Raphael Peck joined the brand in March, after holding positions at Under Armour, Adidas Group and Oakley. Peck revealed that the new bricks and mortar concept had already been earmarked for global roll-out.
“In addition to Australia, we’ll be focused on retail experiences in the US, as well as Japan in 2020, to give consumers an opportunity to touch and feel Brixton in a well-curated, elevated space that creates community in the cities in which we open,” he said.
While the flagship retail space opens new doors for Brixton, wholesale will remain the brand’s number one priority.
“Our dynamic retail spaces will allow us to finally create physical touch points of our brand, which will help our long-standing wholesale partners in driving consumer demand and recognition globally,” Nelmes said.
“But through that, we must ensure we keep the emotional connection within our target community and make people feel – this is something that has been important to Brixton since day one and remains our greatest focus. Brands that are remaining true are the brands that are succeeding in the market.”