This month Los Bangeles joined forces with Fourteen, a rotterdam based marketing agency with a focus on lifestyle and fashion, to write a story about the rise and success of Common Kin, a store specialized in upscale menswear with a strong international appeal and customer base.
They offer a wide range of sophisticated brands like A.P.C., Marni, Alexander Wang, Stutterheim and Common Projects. Their aim is to combine off- and online presence in the most effective way. Their store is situated in The Hague, and they just opened a pop-up store in Rotterdam.
We talked to co-owner Johan Stork about their inspiration, aspirations and the road to success.
What was the idea behind Common Kin and what are the aspirations with the brand?
We want to breath new life in the market and to create the right balance between the on- and offline world.Our webshop allows us to see the world as our market and we really do not see the stones of our store as boundaries for to who or where we sell. The purpose of our store in The Hague is to create an environment where we can connect with our customers personally and take away the boundaries people feel when they shop online.
What’s your definition of success?
To be honest, we do not have a clear view on what ultimate success is for us. Hopefully it will sneak up on us some day. Until then we’ll just go on doing our thing.
Recent years the menswear market has been growing more rapidly than womenswear. What’s your view on this development and how do you respond to it?
The arrival of social media, e-commerce, blogs and online magazines has made fashion more accessible to men and this is one of the reasons why menswear is boosting right now. We suspect the internet will further develop itself and this trend will further grow as well in the future. We, as a player in the market of menswear, are well aware of the possibilities the internet provides to present ourselves and to sell our products.
We want to breathe new life in the market and to create the right balance between the on- and offline world.
You just opened a pop-up store in Rotterdam. What is the purpose of this pop-up store particular and what are your future ‘pop-up’ plans?
The pop-up store is a collaboration with Stutterheim and the main purpose is for people in Rotterdam to get to know our brand and the products we offer. We are well aware of the fact that we offer a rather specific product range for a specific target audience. This collaboration allows us to reach this group: men who are looking for quality, want to distinguish themselves and have a healthy aversion against the ‘common’. When successful, we certainly do not exclude plans to open pop-up stores like this one in other cities.
Do you have any brands you aspire to have in your store? And, which Common Kin brand are you most proud to have?
An absolute cherry on the cake is without doubt Marni, a designer label from Milan characterized by textures, silhouettes and colour blocking. They do a lot of artist collaborations and never compromise on quality. Every item is produced in their Milan factory by their own people. Unique and beautiful!We have a few brands on our wish list. What I can announce is that this spring we will get three footwear labels: Stockholm label Eytys, Adieu from Paris and Adidas. Next season we’ll also start selling Swedish label Hope.
What’s the role of social media for your business and how does Common Kin use it?
Social media make it possible to connect with your audience and to share your story. We are active on social media and use it specifically for this purpose.
What’s your tip to starting entrepreneurs in retail?
A tip? Don’t be afraid to try something new. We decided to do something new and consider ourselves as our most critical customer. We strive to only do the things we need and believe in ourselves.