Hold My Beer & Watch: Retail Isn’t Dead, Just Different.

by Carrie Bobb

Katie Hunt, Co-Founder of SHOWFIELDS, was on a panel this weekend at Summit LA, the world’s preeminent ideas festival. She looked around the room at innovators and entrepreneurs and shared that when they were acquiring their 14,000 sf space, people told them no one will ever visit the third floor of the four-story building.

To those people who said it wouldn’t work? “We said, ‘Here. Hold my beer,’ and we built a slide,” said Hunt.   

SHOWFIELDS slide connecting the third and second floors | New York Times

With consumer spending at more per capita than ever in history[1], RETAIL isn’t dead. Legacy RETAILERS are dying and there’s a difference. 

In this month’s Fortune article, American Spenders Are Fueling Growth: How Long Can it Last?, shoppers are named as heroes of the economy. The Fannie Mae economists concluded, “Consumer spending remains the most important force driving the continued expansion of the U.S. economy.”[2]

THE ROLE OF BRICK & MORTAR

SHOWFIELDS | Trendhunter.com

SHOWFIELDS is known as “The Most Interesting Store in the World” as they partner with digitally native brands giving them a low risk setting to begin to grow offline.  

“We are not that interesting. We are just a stage for those who are creating the most interesting work in the world,” said Hunt. “Every brand will need a physical touch point in order to scale. We offer physical space for young retailers so you can meet your consumer.” 

In an interview with Bloomberg Businessweek, Erik Nordstrom, CEO of Nordstrom, weighed in on the changes in retail in light of opening a 320,000 sf flagship in Manhattan, “Customers are going to do what they want to do. Our job is not to try to coerce them into a channel or a certain experience that we prefer. Our challenge is to give them options and let them do what they want to do.”[3]

CREATING CONNECTION

The Drug Store | Irisnova.com
The Drug Store is a conceptual retail experience used to test new beverage concepts before they are produced in bottle format on a national scale.

Zak Normandin, Founder & CEO of Iris Nova the parent company for DirtyLemon and The Drug Store, was on the panel with Hunt. He said, “Consumers don’t want to be sold to or advertised to through the Instagram experience as much any more. They want connection. They are craving actual, real connection. They want the physical store experience.” 

When asked about the importance of creating Instagrammable spaces, Hunt replied, “We are creating authentic moments. That’s the secret sauce. We would have run out of ideas if we were just creating Instagrammable moments. Instead we are giving creators, entrepreneurs a canvas to storytell. What they are building and creating with their brand is beautiful. And people should want to take a picture.” 

Stories matter. Consumers care about the founders story. 

Consumers are spending at record rates, yet stores like Barney’s are closing.

It is the age of the creator. People are craving innovators, creators and thinkers. Normandin suggested the future could have less billion-dollar companies and more starter companies. Innovation is driving starter culture.

The marketplace is being run by consumers. And consumers want community and connection. 

To those who say it can’t be done, grab a beer and watch, because some things are being built differently.

Carrie Bobb is the Founder & CEO of Carrie Bobb & Co. She has completed transactions with brands such as Sephora, SoulCycle, Drybar, Fox Restaurant Concepts and many others. She was named one of San Diego’s Power Women in Real Estate and received her MBA from the University of San Diego. Carrie lives in San Diego with her husband, Matt, their three inquisitively adventurous kids and one joyful golden doodle.


[1] https://fortune.com/2019/10/23/consumer-confidence-us-economy-growth-gdp/

[2] https://fortune.com/2019/10/23/consumer-confidence-us-economy-growth-gdp/

[3] The Case for Flagship Stores in the Age of the Internet – Bloomberg Businessweek

https://apple.news/A8TTcvlxsSgOokUg4oZxzWg

BIG, LOUD & CONSUMING: The Ippolito Family and raising GenZ consumer-kids

by Rob Ippolito

The Ippolito Family

Raising a large family has always been a goal and passion for my wife and I…We both come from large families and wanted to live in a loud, crazy household.

Happily married for almost twenty years, my wife and I are parents to four beautiful, talented, challenging, funny, and crazy daughters.  Our daughters are active, social, and like the majority of American teens…shoppers.

We have a 17 year old who appreciates the finer things in life…understands it’s her money that will purchase these treasures and is not afraid to earn. 

A 15 year old who believes a dollar was created to be spent…is a born negotiator and not afraid to ask for a deal. 

An (almost) 13 year old who loves the smell of Nordstrom, but is cost conscience and innately worried we’re spending too much money.

And a 10 year old who has a keen ability to acquire goods while not owning a phone.

As the bread-winner who makes my living in the shopping center world, I’m always trying to better understand where this fluid retail world is headed. I’ve realized my household provides a daily glimpse into today’s retail shopper as well as a possible view into the future of how the next generation may shop. 

I CLIMB OVER BOXES TO GET A HUG

My favorite part of the day has always been coming home…Nothing like walking in the door and being greeted by hugs and a “How was your day Dad?”

Oh how I miss those days. While I’m still met with varying degrees of affection, most days I’m greeted a lovely stack of boxes nestled by the front door.  Online purchases are alive and well at the Ippolito home, and while Amazon is the most common culprit, they are not alone…

>25% of our meals are delivered by PLATED or BLUE APRON (cue the disapproving teenagers), 

>90% of cleaning products are delivered by MELALEUCA (cue the disapproving wife), 

And after careful reflection…100% of online purchases are convenient based.

WE HAVE CHOICES

Amazon deliveries and meal prep convenience are old news…The insight into possible retail trends are found not in “what” we purchase but “how”.

I’ll never fully be able to answer “why” my child makes a purchase…decision-making is a work in progress. But understanding “how” they purchase may provide a glimpse into where retail is headed.

Homecoming is fast approaching for my oldest daughter and of distinct interest is “The Dress”…There may be no more important purchase for a 17 year old senior then the homecoming dress…It is stressful, a priority, and one she will approach with care.  

Daughter #1: “Dad, I need to go look at dresses.”

Dad: “Great kiddo, when are you going to the mall?” 

Daughter #1: “I need to do research first…”

She visited five websites scrolling through countless pages of dresses educating herself first on style and price a distant second. How did she ultimately buy?

“If I have time I’ll probably order online because there are more choices…if not, I will just go the store…then I know it’ll fit…if I can’t find anything…I’ll just borrow one.”

Online…Store…Borrow. One purchase…three viable options.

I’m not sure if the purchasing process has become shorter, longer, better or worse, but fortunately my daughters “consumer knowledge” is high. She has shifted the power of a “priority purchase” from the retailer to the consumer.

WE MAKE OUR OWN MARKET, DAD

While online shopping delivers convenience, retailers use of social media platforms to push their brand has increased significantly.

Depop is a social shopping platform and the fashion marketplace for GenZ. Over 80% of Depop users are under 25 years old and have made over $570 million in over 19 million transactions since the launch in 2011. | photo credit: forbes.com

“Screen Time” is a daily battle with our girls…Yes we limit the amount of time, where, and what they view…we fully know 100% of their screen time is on some form of social media…

Instagram, Snapchat (not allowed), Facebook, TicTok and many more are the platforms influencing our youth…no doubt about it. Whether it be through influencers or direct marketing, they have placed a big target on the next generation.

This past week my fifteen year old was modeling her new pair of pants…She was very excited…asking my wife what she thought.

Daughter #2: “Mom, what do you think?”

Mom: “Those look good honey…they fit great”

Daughter #2: “Right?!?…they feel good.”

Dad: “New pants?  When did we go shopping? Those look expensive.”

Daughter #2: “You didn’t buy them…I did.”

Dad: “Where?”

Daughter #2: “From my friend Ceci…”

Dad: “Huh”

Daughter #2: “She posted on Insta…I paid $5…they’re $50 in the store…we do it all the time.”

When asked how often they transact with their friends she quickly responded with “three to four times a month…at least”.

Leave it to our youth to leverage the platforms influencing them to their own advantage by creating their own “Marketplace”…A place they can buy, sell, and trade clothes, makeup, or whatever at prices they determine and can afford.

This is called ingenuity…

This is called hustle…

This is called thrifty…

This is called influence.

Rob Ippolito | LinkedIn

Rob Ippolito is a Senior Managing Director at Newmark Knight Frank in San Diego, California. He has over 21 years of retail real estate experience and provides landlords with guidance on identifying and implementing the correct long-term plans for their assets. Rob graduated from the University of Arizona and played baseball with the Seattle Mariners organization for three seasons. Rob can be found coaching, inspiring and encouraging those around him whether at home with his family, on the baseball field or at the office.

Intentional Courage: Everyday Bravery

by Carrie Bobb

Oxford Dictionary defines courage as “strength in the face of pain or grief.” Every day we experience varying degrees of pain and grief, or at least disappointment.

When life throws a curveball, the moment of decision can be daunting. Reflecting upon moments of courage (and moments I wish I were more courageous), I found three commonalities. I hope these provide some clarity to anyone who may be navigating the murky waters of adversity.

The North Star.

When I was on swim team as a kid, our coach told us to find a focal point above us when doing the backstroke so we could swim straight and stay in our lane even when we couldn’t see where we were going.

Portrait of a swimming champion concentrating before the race

A North Star is a purpose or truth bigger than us that affects more than our life and circumstances. That way, we’re not navigating our circumstances looking for direction within the chaos. It’s a point of reference outside our circumstances that keeps us on course and brings us through the difficult circumstances, even when we can’t see where we’re going.

Courage begins when we are intentional about who we want to be. If we take the time and energy to really put thought into our true identity, when we get blindsided, we already know who we are. It keeps us from zigzagging outside our lane.

Private Giants are Still Giants.

In one of the most famous historical stories of bravery, David went boldly running towards Goliath. The kid shepherd was not afraid, but an army had been standing there for 40 days watching Goliath taunt them.

Malcolm Gladwell: The Real Reason David Beat Goliath | inc.com

Malcolm Gladwell writes in David and Goliath, “When [David] tells Saul that he has killed bears and lions as a shepherd, he does so not just as testimony to his courage but to make another point as well: that he intends to fight Goliath the same way he has learned to fight wild animals.”

How we handle our problems in private matters. You could argue the private battles were more significant to David than Goliath. They are scary. Lions and bears are legit. They’re not nerf wars. Our marriages, finances, health, kids, parents, careers, have lions and bears lurking to steal what is ours. If we handle those beasts in private, responding to a Goliath in public isn’t paralyzing because we’ve learned how to fight.

Process of Elimination.

Most of us underestimate our ability to be brave. No one wants to deal with the diagnosis. No one wants to start from scratch rebuilding a business they spent their entire career creating. No one wants to see their child hurting. But what choice do we have?

Many times the choice to be brave is not the choice we want. People choose to be brave because the alternative is worse. So, they go to radiation every other week, wrestling their lion and fighting for their life. They clear the rubble, pick up a brick and start over. They put the phone down and cuddle on the couch.

The decisions we make, some big and some little, have profound consequences. They affect the all of us – our career, family, emotional, spiritual, mental and financial health. And I have found that once you deal with one giant, it’s never over. There’s always another one around the corner. We might as well learn how to be brave.

Calculating Career Risks: When to Make a Move

by Emily Jones

On what would have been my 16th work anniversary with my former company, I can’t help but reflect on what led me to make such a drastic transition into female entrepreneurship and being my own boss.

I was not unhappy. In fact, I was happy. I have the utmost appreciation for the company and the people that gave me a shot and taught me the real estate world. The lingering question really became, “Can I be happier?” As I have shared with my family and friends, as opposed to one “big thing,” there were many small factors that I had to process over time in order to ultimately come to the decision to resign. If I had to categorize the small factors into 3 key points, they would be this:

  • The need for growth and change. The growth part was not going to happen without the change part.
  • Managing my own time. With a busy family of 5, working traditional office hours is not conducive to our schedules. Making use of the early morning hours and evenings when the kids are in bed helps me to balance it all. Plus, I get 90 minutes back every day of time I used to commute. All of this helps the mom guilt and the work guilt.
  • Working for the Greater Good. Making this leap was an opportunity for me to be part of something that will make a difference, something I can be proud of creating from the ground up.

Leaving what was familiar and steady was scary – but not as scary as looking back in 10 years wondering what could have been. For me, avoiding future regret became a greater fear than the unknown. 

The Undeniable Force of Women Influencing the Economy, Shaping Culture and Making History

by Carrie Bobb

Audrey Gleman | inc.com

Walking to my gate through San Diego International Airport, I did a double take passing by a newsstand. Is that a pregnant woman on the cover of Inc.? Audrey Gelman, the co-founder of the women’s co-working space, the Wing, was standing in all her 8-month-third-trimester glory on the cover of Inc. magazine.[1]

As I stand there holding the glossy magazine, something in me sparks with fierce joy for Audrey, Inc. Magazine and women everywhere. We’re doing it.

Just to be clear, this is not women versus men. Quite the contrary. Men, as well as women, see gender diversity impacting the bottom line, making their companies more dynamic, and are paving the way for their sons and daughters. Both men and women are recognizing the undeniable force of women in our businesses and economy. It’s too big to ignore.

Today, women control more than 60% of all personal wealth in the U.S.[2] Women will control two-thirds of all consumer wealth over the course of the next decade. And over that same period, women are expected to be the beneficiaries of the largest transference of wealth in our nation’s history. Estimates range from $12 to $40 trillion.[3]

That is a lot of money.

The letter from the editor was titled, “It’s No Longer Lonely at the Top.” | San Diego Magazine

On my flight, I read through this months issues of Inc., Fast Company, Entrepreneur, San Diego Magazine and Fortune. Over and over, page after page, I am reading about remarkable, never-been-done-before, inspirational women who are going for it and changing the world.

The Collection of Women

Repeatedly, women who are speaking about their personal success often address the collective successes of women in business, or they challenge social issues, leveraging their platform to push for intrinsic change. It struck me that women in business are approaching their individual success and accomplishments as a team sport.

femalefoundercollective.com

Rebecca Minkoff, founded the Female Founder Collective after learning that 82% of women are more likely to support female-founded companies if they only knew how, and just like that, it was born. “It proved to me that a symbol or a seal for consumers to recognize would be key for us to find ways to support and give our money to female founders,” says Minkoff.

She created a symbol so women could find each other and support each other even more.

Sara Blakely posted this pic captioned with “Big mood.” on Instagram. Sara Blakely | Instagram & LinkedIn

Sara Blakely, founder of Spanx, is all about championing women in business. In 2006, she launched the Sara Blakely Foundation, which focuses on charities that empower underserved women and girls. Her website boasts, “While many of the world’s resources are being depleted, one is waiting to be unleashed: Women.”

Blakely writes, “Since I was a little girl I have always known I would help women. In my wildest dreams I never thought I would have started with their butts. As it turns out, that was a great place to start! Before starting Spanx, I wrote in my journal that I wanted to invent a product that would make millions of women feel good. Spanx became my way to deliver comfort, support and confidence to women all over the world. At the same time, it became my platform to give back. From the beginning, I set aside a portion of proceeds to give away. As the company grew, so did my opportunity to empower women.”

Paying It Forward

Something magical happens when women rally together. It starts out like champagne bubbles humming below the surface. It doesn’t take long for ideas to float to the top where they fizzle and pop, creating even more together.

Abby Wombach is a U.S. soccer Olympic gold medalist, New York Times best selling author and holds the world record for international goals for both female and male soccer players. In her book Wolfpack, she writes, “We will take action on behalf of all of us. We will help each other. We will point to each other. We will claim infinite joy, success, and power-together. We will celebrate the success of one woman as a collective success for all women.”

Over 92% of women said they pass along information about deals or recommendations to others, and it makes sense. [4]

It’s no wonder the force behind women entrepreneurs feels like the strong pull of a tide gaining more and more momentum. It is the individual women who are crushing it and covering new territories passing along their information and recommendations at a resounding rate. The results are exponential. And it’s only getting stronger.


[1] Gelman is the first pregnant CEO to grace the cover of a national business magazine.

[2] Source: Federal Reserve, MassMutual Financial Group, BusinessWeek, Gallup

[3] Source: Mediapost, April 19, 2013; She-conomy

[4] Source: Mindshare/Ogilvy & Mather

How do you solve a problem like Warby, Away or The Giving Keys?

“Our most significant opportunities will be found in times of greatest difficulty.”

Thomas S. Monson

Some of my favorite brands were born out of a problem. Someone was curiously annoyed and set out to solve a problem. In some instances, their solution was a billion dollar solution. It’s fascinating. 

A person, a normal every day person, was frustrated or tripped up or struggling with something. And instead of excepting it and moving on, they wouldn’t let it go. They turned it upside down, right side up, inside out, flipped it around and tried to solve it like a Rubix cube, until something unlocked. And out of a problem something beautiful was born. 

What would happen in the world if we just didn’t let our problems go? What if we turned them upside down and inside out to find that seed of significance?

Sometimes when something in front of us looks like a daunting or insurmountable challenge, there is always another solution. We just have to find it.

Here are a few of my favorite brands and why I love their story as much as their products:

Warby Parker

My Warbys: Cora in Desert Tortoise and Crystal Plum, Chamberline in Whiskey Tortoise & Eugene in Rosewood Tortoise. www.warbyparker.com

“Every idea starts with a problem.” This is how the history of Warby Parker begins on their webpage. Those of us who own a pair of Warby Parker glasses know the story. It is told in 100 words on the cleaning cloth that comes with a fresh pair of Warbys. 

The story begins when one of the founders was on a backpacking trip while in grad school. He left his glasses on a plane and it was so expensive to buy a new pair of glasses, he didn’t bother replacing them. As part of a graduate program at the Wharton School of Business, the four founders started digging into the problem around why glasses are so expensive. They discovered the eyewear industry was controlled by one dominate company who kept prices exponentially high because they controlled the entire market. So, they put together a business plan and strategy to make and sell glasses at a reasonable cost, while still looking cool. 

The company was founded in 2010 by Neil Blumenthal, Andrew Hunt, David Gilboa and Jeffrey Raider. According to CNBC, Warby Parker raised another $75 million in funding last year and it brings the total funding to date to $300 million.

Away

My Away Luggage: The Large in Blush & The Bigger Carry On in Blush. www.awaytravel.com

Jen Rubio is a Warby Parker alum and in an interview with Bond Street, Jen explains how after she had left Warby Parker and All Saints, she was “doing a bit of soul searching and traveling. It was funny. This luggage concept was one of the things I’d been thinking about, and as I was coming home from Davos my luggage broke.” And the start of Away luggage was born. Out of a problem.

Away luggage has a built in charger for your laptop, tablet or smartphone. Conde Nast recently featured Jen and she commented that “Our community has come to associate Away with better travel, not just better luggage.” It’s a belief in a better quality of life that doesn’t cost a fortune.

Jen and Stephanie have been named to Forbes 30 under 30 and Inc. 30 under 30 list. In 2018, they were named the winners of the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award.

The Giving Keys

My Giving Keys: Vintage Skeleton (Purpose), Dainty (Strength), Classic (Brave) – these I keep a few of to give away to those who need a little nudge to be brave. www.thegivingkeys.com

The Giving Keys began not so much out of solving a problem, but more like setting something right. And as a result, a problem is being taken on one key at a time.

The story begins with the founder, Caitlin Crosby who is a singer-songwriter and actress. While she was on tour, Caitlin would wear an old hotel key as a necklace. She was sparked with an idea to engrave inspirational words onto old keys.

The seed of The Giving Keys was taking root, but it wasn’t until Caitlin met Rob and Cera that the idea began to flourish. The couple was sitting under an umbrella holding a sign that read Ugly, Broke and Hungry. Something clicked. Caitlin invited them to dinner where she later discovered Cera made jewelry. The rest is magic.

The Giving Keys webpage describes how they desire to take old, discarded, flawed keys and give them a fresh, renewed purpose. They passionately do the same for people. The company empowers and employs those who are affected by homelessness. People who wear the jewelry are encouraged to “pay it forward” and give their key to someone who crosses their path who needs the encouraging or inspirational word more than them.

The Giving Keys has employed many people transitioning out of homelessness. Their products and jewelry are carried in Nordstrom, Fred Segal, Kitson and in over 1200 stores in both the US and internationally.

The best things…

How many times have I been annoyed or inconvenienced and just kept right on going when there was something more right in front of me? The best things in life are often hidden. And what a better place to hide than inside of a problem? Every challenge, obstacle, problem or tragedy has an opportunity for something beautiful and powerful to emerge. We just have to find it.