Birkenstock launches itinerant container store concept

On 6th July in Berlin, German footwear brand Birkenstock invited the media and select guests to the presentation of its new itinerant retail concept: the Birkenstock Box, created in partnership with the most directional concept stores and designed to travel around the world's top capitals.


The Birkenstock Box created in partnership with Berlin concept store Andreas Murkudis

The Birkenstock Box's first port of call is Berlin, where it will have pride of place for two weeks in front of the Andreas Murkudis concept store. According to Yvonne Piu, Birkenstock's Marketing Director, the idea is "to allow each concept store the freedom to design and furnish the Box, both its interior and exterior, so that each city where the Box will be featured will present a unique, exclusive version of it, wholly in synch with the partner concept store's clientèle."

The Berlin Box was designed by architects’ agency Gonzalez Haase, and will showcase an exclusive range of limited-edition Birkenstock models and related products. They will make up "between 50% and 60% of the products on offer in each case," the rest of the range consisting of items from the Andreas Murkudis store: decorative objects, table art, ready-to-wear apparel and jewellery.

For the German footwear brand this is a highly innovative venture, one which, according to Yvonne Piu, allows Birkenstock "to be different from other retailers, to surprise customers, and to move beyond traditional pop-up stores, whose deployment is usually hampered by the availability of retail area and stores, often an issue, and finally to have absolute freedom in our decisions."

Though the container box's installation often requires a lengthy authorisation process, one that varies from country to country, the Birkenstock Box appears to be a big hit with retail partners. Other big names have already pledged to host the Box, from Barney's in New York, which plans to have a Box on two levels with a terrace, to 10 Corso Como in Milan (next September for the Fashion Week), while "Asia and other cities should follow suit next year, and until 2019," said Yvonne Piu.

For the time being, Paris is not a candidate for hosting the Box - "a partnership with Colette was on the cards but unfortunately it is impossible to install [the box] opposite the store," said a source at Birkenstock - but the Box idea could give rise to other opportunities. For example, a joint operation with the Pitti Uomo trade show is being considered.

The container idea is not entirely new - London has a Box Park in Shoreditch, a pop-up mall bringing together some fifty street food, decoration and apparel brands, while San Francisco also hosts, in the Hayes Valley area, several container stores, such as that of outerwear label Aether - but the idea of an itinerant box personalised by the world's top concept stores is definitely a first.  
 

Translated by Nicola Mira

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