Inside Rapha’s new Pop-Up Store in Paris
Spiffy and spruce cyclist apparel & accessories specialist Rapha has recently opened a pop-up store in Paris that will close its doors on December 4th.
For those who do not know Rapha yet, keep in mind that the brand has been created 15 years ago by Simon Mottram, a UK marketing specialist, at a time when cycling was not the hot discipline it is nowadays. A period when finding both technical and sleek cycling outfits was almost impossible as well. A few months ago, Rapha has been surprisingly taken over by one of Wal Mart’s founder heir whereas LVMH had been considered as the ideal contender to get the most out of the brand potential in the future.
Basically, Rapha is a perfect exemple of a Digital Native Vertical Brand (DNVB), a brand born on the internet and that opened, after a several years of operations, some physical stores called “clubs” to get in touch with its fans and customers. Now the brand runs 17 clubs globally, including London and Amsterdam in Europe. Besides, the Parisian pop-up store can be considered as an interim stage before Rapha opens its Parisian permanent club in 2018 (Rapha is intensively looking for the right location).
The 50 sqm pop-up store is a mix of a boutique, a coffee-shop and a fan club. An ideal location to bring riders and fans together in a immersive environment.
As Rapha has recently decided to take full control of its own distribution, the Parisian pop-up store is a unique opportunity to discover some new collections and try them on before buying them online or here. The destination is set on two storeys. On level -1, Rapha unveils a part of its performance collection while streetwear line-up (a strategic growth driver) and a coffee place are available on the ground floor.
Rapha is also providing its fans with some rides around Paris. The perfect opportunity for them to share their passion and feel fully part of the local brand’s community.
As soon as you enter the store, you can physically feel the cool and open minded atmosphere that the brand associates are creating here. Within a few seconds, you will be offered a coffee and invited to join the conversation with some groups around the tables.
Rapha is famous for creating awesome videos and photos on its website that showcase anonymous riders in beautiful landscapes around the world. Here, in Paris, a few leaflets give voices to French fans sharing their experiences and narratives about their rides.
As a conclusion, Rapha manages to highlight luxury items in a minimalistic but vibrant environment. Not so surprising after all since cycling is such a demanding sport that the vast majority of passionate riders appreciate empathy and humility. Thumbs up.