As we increasingly question the ethics of shopping and look for ways to find a balance between our desire to buy and sustainable consumption, clever retailers need to find ways to engage consumers with product in different ways. Recently we have seen some interesting shops pop up around the world which take responsible retailing to a new level
In February artists Athena Robles and Anna Stein opened the Free Store in Lower Manhattan. The shop only stocks one or two products that have been produced in-house and the rest of the merchandise is provided by the public, who are invited to bring in items to add to the collection or use them to barter and exchange.
Launched it with the help of a grant from a local cultural body and the September 11 fund, the couple believe the timing of the project is perfect. "It's a certain time in history in this country when people really need to help each other out."
Initial worries about not having enough stock were unfounded and the couple plan to keep the pop up shop open until the end of the month.
In Paris, owners of the childrenswear label Bonpoint, opened Merci, during Paris fashion week. Located in the Marais, the shop has turned the brands high-profile connections and retail knowledge into a philanthropic mission and will donate 100% of profits at Merci to a children's cause in Madagascar.
Merci is the result of three years of negotiating with brands like Yves Saint Laurent, Stella McCartney and Marni to manufacture pieces specifically for their store. The designers are not taking any profits, therefore prices are significantly lower than regular designer items. The shop also includes a flower shop, book filled cafe, small fabric shop and a home section.
With plans to open shops in London, Milan, New York and Tokyo, the International Herald Tribune describes Merci as “giving luxury customers exactly what they need right now, guilt-free shopping.”
Sounds good to us!
99 Nassau Street (between Fulton St & Ann St)
New York, NY 10038
111 Boulevard Beaumarchais