Nixon co-founder on global retail plans, new Europe stores

Nixon Paris will open on rue Froissart in le Marais - Photo courtesy of Nixon

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Nixon is expanding its global retail footprint, with two new stores slated to open in Europe this fall.

This month, Nixon will open in Paris on Rue Froissart in le Marais. In October, Nixon will open a store in London on Newburgh Street parallel to Carnaby Street.

Chad DiNenna, Nixon Co-Founder and EVP of Marketing, answered some questions for us about the retail plans.

Why open stores in Europe?

Chad DiNenna: Nixon has long had strong performance and support in Europe.  This is an accelerator for the brand, Europe is a great opportunity for Nixon, we are under-penetrated compared to the U.S., and adding stores in key cities lets us showcase the brand and provide a hub for further growth. Having our own stores gives us the canvas to elevate the brand and our products that is more representative of where we see Nixon.

How are you picking the locations? What kind of area works for Nixon?

Chad DiNenna: Like anything you do you need to know where your sweet spot is. You start in a place that is familiar, where you know the people and where you have the best chance of success. Nixon has an executive team that knows Europe well and is guiding our expansion plans. Nixon has long supported not only action sports, but also the arts, and the locations in le Marais and Carnaby make perfect homes for us.

How many locations are planned for Europe, and what is the timetable?

Chad DiNenna: We’ve focused on these first two locations in Paris and London, which are opening this month, and are looking to expand into other key European cities.

Will you also open more stores in Asia Pacific and the Americas?

Chad DiNenna: Slated to open before Holiday ’14 are Nixon stores in Sydney (Miranda), Melbourne (Chadstone) and Hong Kong. That’s in addition to locations already open in Sydney (Bondi) and Melbourne (Central). We are also looking for an additional location in Tokyo to open in Spring ’15.

The new store design includes a customization area. Has Nixon used that before? How will it work?

Chad DiNenna: This is a completely new concept for the brand. While we have worked in creating custom watches for our team and key celebrities in the past, we wanted to bring this experience to fans of the Nixon brand. The customization bar was an opportunity for all departments at Nixon to come together to create a best-in-class experience for the customer with our products.

After test-driving the concept with each and every employee at Nixon we’ve been able to create an experience that takes you through each of the steps in creating a one-of-a-kind Nixon watch complete, right down to the custom caseback. It is something both the hard core Nixon fan and a design-oriented customer walking in the door for the first time can appreciate.

Can you explain more about the “Horizon” retail concept?

Chad DiNenna: For the retail concept we created an architectural horizon line, which is a device that lets us own any space in a simple way. It becomes the canvas for the Nixon story allowing us to showcase Nixon’s perspective and product in a bold, distinct way.

On the exterior of the store, this manifests itself in a subtle matte to gloss black, following through to the confident, monochromatic interior.  The glossy black and matte grey concrete contrast and create a horizon line which divides the space and references a common thread which runs through the Nixon landscape: oceans, mountains, concrete jungles. A subtle nod to the diverse environments of surfing, snowboarding and skateboarding, in our store concept this becomes an ownable architectural design statement, rather than a literal interpretation.

Have you hired a senior retail leader to oversee the Nixon stores?

Chad DiNenna: Not yet, while we have significant retail experience running through multiple regions of Nixon, we have yet to hire the match of experience and drive we are looking for but plan to have this candidate in place soon.

The new store design has open cases. I know Nixon watches are valuable – how will you prevent theft? Is there a special system in place?

Chad DiNenna: Customers will find open merchandised watches (which are accessible) and they can be tried on, and explored without the interruptions of locked case doors and security glass. Customers can interact with each individual product and understand the intricacies of each custom built product.

As for theft prevention, there are security tags on the watches, much like you’d find in high-end sunglass stores

What do your new partners, Trilantic Capital Partners, bring to the table? How are they helping Nixon? Are they also helping to support the retail strategy?

Chad DiNenna: Having Trilantic as a partner brings additional brains as well as capital investment to Nixon. They’ve been a great partner in the form of information and perspective, which is helpful as we consider strategies such as retail.

Anything you’d like to add?

Chad DiNenna: Here at Nixon we are all excited for the new stores and the introduction of our new fall and Holiday collections. There is an energy within the company that is driving a lot of new initiatives and thinking that is visible by everyone here and we couldn’t be happier about the opportunities in front of us and how we are positioned to attack them. Stay tuned, much more to come.

 

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