Master merchandiser Rachel Shechtman is treating the launch of her new store not unlike the launch of a startup. To that end, the stealth shop, which was hidden behind an installation by the artist JR, launches today at 144 Tenth Avenue at 19th Street, “in beta” with the e-commerce component to follow in February.
“I kind of geek out around new business models and I think the future of the physical retail environment are gonna become less about consumption and more about content and community, so that’s what we’re doing.” said Ms. Shechtman, who founded her own retail consulting group Cube Ventures in 2003, and has offered an amalgam of marketing, merchandizing, and business development to clients like Gilt Groupe, Tom’s Shoes, Bliss Spa, and AOL.
“The concept,” she explained, “Is a space that has a point of view like a magazine, but it changes like a gallery and it sells things like a store.”
“In the same way you go to MoMA and there’s an exhibition by Andy Warhol made possible by Proctor & Gamble, the idea is in February, you might walk into the store and it’s our ‘Love Issue’ and it’s a made possible by Match.com,” said Ms. Shechtman. “You would not only be able to buy wonderful, cool curated merchandise, but maybe we’ll have a whiskey tasting with Doctor Ruth or we’ll show Love Story on a movie screen.”
For her first “shopping exhibition” in the 2,000 sq. ft. space, Ms. Shechtman, who sits on the board of startups like Birchbox, Fashism, and Smartypants, went with a world she knew well. “A Startup Store,” as the six week exhibition ending January 12th is called, will feature beauty items from Birchbox, jewelry from BaubleBar, gadgets and gifts from Quirky, accessories from Joor, and art from Artspace. “It was very deliberate choosing a startup store as our version of beta so I can get practice and comfortable in the space before our launch in February,” she said. “I consider us as much of a startup as Bonobos when Andy [Dunn] launched it. We’re just launching with our physical space and our e-commerce is coming second.”
In the case of the “A Startup Store” the Doctor Ruth equivalent would be classes from SkillShare, Ms. Shechtman said she was working with co-founder Mike Karnjanaprakorn on hosting classes that match the startup theme.
As for the name of the actual store, Mr. Shechtman declined to share that at the moment. “I am not talking about that just yet,” she demurred. “We’re just waiting on some final legal stuff from the Patent and Trademark office.” See? Talking like a startup already!