Rip Curl Flagship Store in Paris. Guided tour.
Rip Curl has been founded in Australia in the 1970’s by Doug Warbrick and Brian Singer, two surfers who decided to craft their own tailored wetsuits to enjoy their sport. 50 years later, Rip Curl is a global brand that has stretched its range of products to various outdoor sports gear, such as skateboard, free ski or snowboard alongside with a comprehensive line of apparel garments.
In France, Rip Curl is distributed through multi-brand retailers and a few directly-operated shops. Such is the case for the unique and historic Rip Curl store in Paris, strangely located in a pretty unattractive retail area near the Montparnasse Tower.
A few weeks ago, the 300 square meter store was still mainly showcasing apparel garments and just a few sport performance line of products. Rather like Rip Curl competitor Quicksilver somehow. But the time has changed. With the new iteration of the flagship store, Rip Curl is back to the roots and the brand DNA : innovative gear for outdoor sports practitioners.
We can enjoy now a pro-shop split into two main zones. The first area is dedicated to textile items for men and women. Rip Curl combines technical performance and style through a large and complete assortment.
The second zone is even more exciting. That’s where the magic happens. A surprising high ceiling with abundant natural light room features Rip Curl’s amazing wetsuits, surf board and skateboards collections. At the end of the day, Rip Curl allocates 50% of the floor space to technical and innovative products. That’s what outdoor sport flagship stores are all about.
Contrary to some of its competitors, Rip Curl is 100% focused on one brand. Therefore, we can find in the store some independent niche brands that target specific market segments. For example, Carver for skateboards or Al Merrick for specific surfboards.
The wetsuits line of products is absolutely stunning. Everyone can find the right product for the right purpose. Rip Curl constant concern is to introduce relevant innovations to provide surfers with the warmest yet most comfortable wetsuit possible to enjoy surfing whatever the climate conditions and the water temperature.
Prices vary according to the thickness and performance of the wetsuit material. The challenge is to make the wetsuits warm enough without making it hard to move freely on the board. That’s also the reason why the thickness of the suit is different on the torso and the back compared to the legs and arms. That’s what 5/3 mm or 4/3 mm stand for on the display panel below.
Rip Curl features some of its ambassadors on the fitting room doors. A smart and funny way to embody the community of outdoor sport lovers.
To wrap up this visit, I would say that the new Rip Curl flagship store is truly an enjoyable customer experience in the outdoor retail business. Thanks to the qualified staff who is delighted to share with you the characteristics and the innovative aspects of the products, you feel rapidly empowered and ready to try some on.
The only small damper would concern the store façade. I found it pretty dull and not eye-catchy enough. The outdoor sport environment is so rich and exciting that the visitors could have expected something more spectacular. Rip Curl will probably figure it out in the weeks to come.
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