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Purple Pop-Up Stores with Melissa Gonzalez

Episode #: 014
Purple Pop-Up Stores with Melissa Gonzalez

Guest: Melissa Gonzalez
Topics: The Lioness Group, pop-up stores


Chris Ressa 0:02
This is retail retold the story of how that store ended up in your neighborhood. I’m your host, Chris ReSSA. And I invite you to join my conversation, some of the retail industry’s biggest influencers. This podcast is brought to you by DLC management.

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Welcome everyone to retail retail. This is Chris ReSSA.

Welcome to retail retold everyone. Today we have Melissa Gonzalez. Melissa is the CEO of the lioness group, the lioness group, our retail strategist and pop up architects. Welcome to the show, Melissa.

Melissa Gonzalez 6:04
Thank you. Thanks for having me.

Ressa 6:07
Well, you guys are in a really interesting space that you’re in the pop up world. It’s trendy, it’s hot, it’s growing. So why don’t you tell us what the lioness group is up to these days?

Gonzalez 6:19
Sure. So I am the founder and CEO of the lioness group, I started a lioness group like 10 years ago, but this serendipitous opportunity to experiment with our first pop up. And it quickly showed traction that there was interest in exploring this new, which now become mainstream store format, and just really been passionate about the ever changing consumer and helping brands and retailers and real estate developers continue to

Ressa 0:59
It’s 6am.

Ressa 1:00
I’m at the Newark Airport on my way to Charleston, South Carolina for the DLC annual leasing Summit. Pretty excited about it, it’s going to be really productive. It’s our annual sales meeting, and hoping to get some real good quality time with the entire team who’s typically scattered all over the country. And this is an opportunity where we’re all in one place. On today’s show, we have Melissa Gonzalez, the CEO and founder of the lioness group, I think you’re going to find her fascinating, she brings some insights to the podcast, we have an add on here before she brings a perspective to retail that I think is really unique. I’m sure you will love it. But before we talk about that, I wanted to talk about a topic that’s been around since the dawn of time. And that is making excuses. I think it’s an appropriate time to talk about excuses. Because it’s going into February, and people just started making new year’s resolutions a month ago. And now is about the time when you start to see people’s goals and resolutions tail off a bit. And one of the ways that you can make sure that that doesn’t happen is to do something very simple, yet challenging, which is act on your commitments and not on your feelings. I heard that quote from Byron Moran, the author of disbelief here. And it was profound for me, right, because if you act on your commitments and not on your feelings, you make zero excuses. It’s very hard to do. In the moment, it’s easy to make an excuse. I had an opportunity to make an excuse on Monday of this week. And I’m glad I didn’t I acted on my commitments, none of my feelings, I want to tell you about it to give you perspective of how easy it is to make an excuse on Monday. So I have a backup for a second. I have a great gym, in my home. In my garage, I’ve made a great gym. And I love using it. I’ve been on a workout tear for the last decade and the 90 days leading up to the New Year, I kind of fell off first time from a workout perspective, I fell off as hard as I did. And I needed to get back on track. So in the start to get back on track, I’ve been running, I’m gonna run a half marathon in the summer. And so I’ve been running well, on this Monday, I was gonna run on the treadmill, at the DLC, gym or the gym in the office that DLCs at and not run on the on the road. So I got on my clothes pack my gym bag, headed to work. I got there at about 630 Go into the locker room, start to unpack my bags and realize I did not have my running shoes. And so we’ve all been there. This was disappointing. But you know, I live 45 minutes from my office at 6:30am. What could I do? I thought about it for a minute. And I was so close to just saying I’ve worked out later tonight when I get home, I have my own home gym, or I will maybe at lunch, I’ll run to the SW and get a pair of sneakers. And I knew none of that would actually come to fruition. When I get home. I’m going to spend time with my family. When my schedule is jam packed, I’m not going to get out for lunch. And so I had to make decision. Am I cutting this workout out? Maybe tomorrow, you know, what I’ll do is I was supposed to be off on Wednesday, instead of being off on Wednesday. I’ll run that day. But I wouldn’t because I’m I’m going to Charleston, South Carolina at 6am. So I don’t think I’m gonna have the opportunity that planned rest day was on purpose. And so it would have been easy to make an excuse and just package it can’t do it on my running shoes. So what did I do? I ran four miles on the treadmill. Very slow pace, but I didn’t work out for 90 days. I’m not fast yet I will get there. But I ran in my dress shoes on the treadmill, probably ruin the dress shoes. Don’t care was not making an excuse is not not running that morning. And so I urge everyone here that sometimes it’s easy to make the excuse that sometimes you just have to work out in your dress shoes. Act on your commitments, not on your feelings. I hope everyone enjoys the show. Thanks.

Gonzalez 6:52
evolve with consumers evolving the way that they have. Awesome.

Ressa 6:58
That was a great summary. So you started in 2009?

Ressa 7:03
What was your background? Before 2009?

Gonzalez 7:06
Um, well, I was a, I worked in institutional equity sales. So I worked on Wall Street. But I also was producing independent films and hosting a show on the T called Latin beat. So I always was kind of that right and left brain poll. And at some point, I just really wanted to pursue more creative endeavors. So that when I left Wall Street at the beginning of 2009, and kind of left with an open mind of we’ll see. So I experimented with a couple of things. And this one showed traction, so decided to pursue it more holistically. And, you know, it evolved over the years. And as retail evolved, I made sure we were continuing to evolve with it. Wow,

Ressa 7:54
that’s a really unique background, I get the good fortune to talk to many retail influencers, and most don’t come from your background. So that’s really cool. So since 2009, how many popups? How many companies have you been involved

Unknown Speaker 8:11
with? I think we lost

Gonzalez 8:13
count, because on our website, we say more than 150. Because I think that’s when I stopped counting. But it’s been it’s been a lot, you know, we we have, I mean, the fourth quarter of last year alone, we opened 5678 stores, I think, and the fourth quarter and with the other thing is it’s we’ve evolved over time, no more than that. I think 12 actually in the fourth quarter last year. So we’ve we’ve evolved, you know, we do a lot of pop ups. But we also, you know, people, brands and retailers of all sizes have kind of been attracted to working with us because of our nimble approach to retail. So sometimes that means pop up, and sometimes just rethinking store format. So one of our clients that falls outside of the pop up round would be Nordstrom, with Nordstrom local, we work closely with them to open their first New York location in the Upper East Side. And so that’s an example to what you’re seeing in the space of mass brands and retailers saying, hey, let’s let’s look at our physical store, portfolio holistically. And understanding that different markets serve different purposes and different store format serve different purposes and working closely with brands and retailers and that aspect as well. Taking a lot of learnings kind of of what we’ve gotten from being in pop up retail for so long.

Ressa 9:28
I am impressed Melissa, I can’t believe you your group has only been around since 2009. Fascinating. I imagine a lot of your time is spent connecting with researching, finding digitally native brands and then trying to figure out what their brick and mortar strategy should be or should they try a pop up or should they not? Is that right? Am I on the right track there?

Gonzalez 9:52
For sure. We have three buckets really in the spaces that we play at and digital natives are definitely are large portion of it would be digital natives and it would be these massive retailers and brands just looking to think differently about physical retail and then real estate developers. So, but DTC has been a big part of it for many years, I would say, really since 2014, when we did the first pop up for J Hilburn, which is a made to measure menswear brand out of Dallas, you started to see digital natives saying, you know, when we get to a certain threshold of growth, being online only, actually the cost of acquisition becomes even more expensive. So wanting to balance that out with a physical footprint. And then, you know, since they’re not born in physical, they’re born online, it’s a different core competencies, a different set of skills, it’s a different approach to retail, it’s a different operational strategy. So a lot of the times we’re kind of playing their adjunct retail team, you know, or head of retail, helping them learn where to test we do everything from helping them evaluate site selection, to not only what’s the right location, but what’s the right square footage, what’s the right store format? Is it going to have inventory? Is it a shoppable, showroom, we help them figure out operational strategy, everything from POS to how many staff to what does your staff schedule looks like, and then we do the design of the space and oversee build out to really get them to doors open. And that’s great, because you know, the purpose of pop up for them a lot of time is serving the purpose of a prototype, right there prototyping, like what physical retail looks like. And based on those learnings, they may go to other cities, or, you know, they’re signing long term leases. And that’s definitely been the trend that we’ve seen grow over the past two years.

Ressa 11:38
And is your group working the deal with the landlord? So we

Gonzalez 11:43
don’t, we don’t try to be lawyers. And we don’t we don’t sign any agreements, but we will provide guidance on where to open. So we help them with that, you know, helping them understand what comps in the area are doing sales per square foot, the right adjacencies. So thinking from a more strategic approach, and will sometimes give some guidance of just things to watch out for, or we’ll help them evaluate things. Like if we’re, if we’re comparing location, A and B, you know, which one is in white box condition and white box because a lot of meetings different. And so based on their goals, like you know, there’s checking a lot of boxes with the right location, but then what’s going to be the quickest to open what’s the budget going to be required? So we’re providing that sort of strategic item?

Ressa 12:28
Got it? That makes sense.

Ressa 12:31
Given everything that’s going on, are you seeing a lot of competition into your business into the retail pop up strategy business? And then I’m gonna ask a follow up now as well. What separates Melissa Gonzalez and lioness group?

Gonzalez 12:48
Well, that’s probably an opportunity, quite an opportune question right now. So we definitely see more competition over the years, right when, when I first started 10 years ago, there was a handful and, but and also, the types of companies doing pop ups that was different in different purposes. Over the years, it’s definitely become more competitive. And you see a lot of buckets, you see experiential marketing companies doing it with brands a lot of the time. So the purpose of those pop ups are more event driven, they’re shorter term, they’re not really like retail experiences as much as their marketing. And then, you know, there’s there’s architecture firms who have kind of dipped their toes a little bit more into the b2c space and helping brands, open doors. And where we’ve kind of carved out being a bit different is that holistic approach we’re taking with brands that are going into physical for the first time to say, Okay, let’s look at this, the ideation phase is a huge component of where we start. And it’s not just about, okay, what’s my store gonna look like? Or what’s the story of the store, but it’s all those elements of site selection, and operational strategy, and design. And so I think in that sense, you know, we carved out a niche. And it’s been our initiative for all these years to continue to grow and differentiate yourself, ourselves. So actually effective. The beginning of this year, we are actually been, we’ve merged with mg two, which is a global architecture firm. And so now we are actually the lioness group in Mg two company. And the reason why this further differentiates us is now we have a global architecture for that we can, we can expand our resources and we can be able to say to our clients, we can work with you in those early phases of doing pop up to test, you know, the viability of long term leases, but now we can also help you with store rollout. And we have a whole architectural firm, that’s that we’re a part of that can help with that.

Ressa 14:44

Ressa 14:46
in a decade. That’s some serious success. But you brought up two things that I think many people who listen to this podcast are wondering as you’re sitting here today, or then one of those things is is when one of these brands opens up a pop up? Are they trying to make money, make a profit and retailing goods in that brick and mortar store? Or is it a branding play where they’re looking for exposure and trying to connect with consumers?

Gonzalez 15:19
Sure. So it depends. You know, a lot of the times when we have plenty of brands where what they consider a success is earned media, you know, media impressions, and amplification of brands. So usually those pop ups are four days, maybe a week at most, and they’re really marketing events, when you’re looking at the longer term ones, one month, three months, six months, and they do they do want to see ROI. In the shorter term ones, like a month to two or three months, they’re happy with breakeven, on average, because if they did it properly, they’re gonna see the ancillary benefits of the acquire new customers, maybe they didn’t purchase in store, but they’re going to purchase online in the next couple quarters. You know, they they’ve, they’ve spread the word. So a lot of them are understanding that the longer term ones, there’s, they are more and more understanding the impact of the halo effect. And so a lot of them are working hard to make sure that they’re integrating strategies, both qualitative data collection through store staff, or quantitative data collection, through their sensors, POS systems, etc. To understand the attribution of physical to the overall brand, and understanding that consumers more and more are interacting across many channels on their phone on their desktop. And, and so understanding okay, how do I unlock super consumers? Or how do I, you know, improve our relationship and then strengthen brand loyalty with my customers by having a physical location? And then what, what does that do? So? Are you seeing the average cart size grow? Are you seeing the average consumer who coveted me on on Instagram now shopping me? Is the average consumer who’s shopping before now spending 3x? Are they returning products less often? Are they coming to my website more frequently? So there’s a more considered approach to tracking all of that. And so physical, it’s not just the sales that happened before walls or doors open and understanding the impact that that touch point has across all channel.

Ressa 17:24
All right, that is a different perspective, I think the listeners are going to appreciate that little bit right there. I did say there was two things that you said previously. And so the second thing is, when these digitally native brands open up a pop up, what percentage of them are actually going in with the intent to do a pop up and hopefully turn it into a permanent location.

Gonzalez 17:48
So in the past two years, I would say for our client base, it’s fluctuated around 30 to 40%. So pretty significant, I think that they’re coming with the mindset of we can prove success, you know, we want to stay in this location, or at least find a space within this vicinity. To sign a long term lease, the definition of long term lease is continuing to evolve as well, right long term lease for DTC is not necessarily 20 years, it’s probably five years. But and sometimes it might be a 10 year, but they have a one year out good guy clause or something like that. So there’s still that evolution happening. Right, and then the just the, the speed at which these brands are evolving is just so much faster than that traditional retailer, right? So it’s like, they really have to be mindful of creating space that allows them to be nimble and flex as they grow, or change or evolve as a brand. A lot of these VC backed companies, you know, they have this like fail fast mentality, right? So if things work, they they push the gas, if they don’t work, they kind of shut it down, and they change to something quickly. And you think about a lot of the DLCs that come to the market, they started as a one product company, maybe they just sell a pillow, or maybe they just sell a mattress, and then they evolved into these lifestyle brands. So that’s the other tricky part. It’s like they test for the viability, but then they have to also think, well, how are we evolving as a company? And how do we make sure we’re creating space that can continue to morph as we do?

Unknown Speaker 19:24
I want to stay on topic,

Ressa 19:24
but you have my mind racing. And I’m gonna digress for a little bit. Based on what you said there. I think the myth used to be that you opened up online because it was cheaper than having a brick and mortar presence and as the economics play out and customer acquisition cost rises for pure play, ecommerce retailers and shipping starts to increase in last mile is so challenging. Are these pure play ecommerce retailers really digging in and saying You know what, we need to have a physical presence because this making a profit on E commerce only is really challenging.

Gonzalez 20:07
Sure, yeah. I mean, there’s definitely a lot of mindset around that both of the DTC brands and with with mass brands and retailers as well. So, on the b2c side, you’re just seeing a lot of them when they get to that 10 million 10 million mark revenue. And is is kind of what’s been recently stated, is that’s the research when they get to about 10 million in sales. And they start thinking, Okay, we need physical too, because it’s getting expensive, the cost acquisition is getting expensive. And so a lot of the times when brands are going to their series A or Series B rounds, part of that round, a good portion of it, is to go into physical retail. I think the stat last year was something like 70, or 80%, it was a huge portion of VC funding was going towards brands, DTC brands, opening physical storefronts. And it really goes back to in order to stand out, you have to create brand loyalty. And so the purpose of physical isn’t necessarily transactional for many of the DTCs. It’s about creating community, it’s about creating lasting partnerships. It’s about creating something that adds that stickiness, if you do look at a lot of the store environments, like a glossier, right, they kind of changed the face of how cosmetics brands approach physical it’s, it’s very Instagrammable. And it’s high energy, and it’s about play. And yes, you can purchase the product there. But that’s not what led their mindset of how do we design a space. And then on the flip side with math brands and retailers like a Nordstrom, or were some of the you know, some of their comps, right? They’re also understanding that physical retail can also serve the purpose of, of also being kind of a distribution center. So they’re doing buy online, pick up in store, they’re taking returns, right, all of those things, they’re driving traffic, and all of those things actually helped with the cost that you’re talking about. It’s a lot less expensive to take a return and store and put it right back on the floor. Yeah, right, then to deal with mailing those packages back and forth. So. So on both sides, you’re seeing that mindset around physical retail. Great insights

Ressa 22:09
there. I hadn’t heard the $10 million number before. It’s really interesting to me, it kind of feels like it makes sense to me based on what I know about retail sales. I had heard when digitally native brands and DTC brands, go to their series see their third round of fundraising, that’s typically when they start looking for brick and mortar locations or start to talk about it internally. But a lot easier benchmark is your $10 million number. So really interesting. One last thing before we pivot to the story, a lot of these brands are opening up in really dense markets, very Metro markets, urban high street retail, in top tier a malls, but they’re not going to, you know, some of the suburbs and Middle America in some of these tertiary markets for sure. And, you know, I’m wondering, are the consumers in those places ever going to get a chance to physically connect with these brands?

Ressa 23:13
Or is that evolution not going to happen?

Gonzalez 23:16
Yeah, I think so it’s still going to be strategic. So it’s not going to make sense for all brands all the time. There’s, I mean, the beauty of E commerce is is brands are able to kind of track where traffic’s coming from where sales are coming from. So they can identify those pockets, you’ve seen a lot of interest in Nashville in the past year, for example, a lot of brands doing pop ups, their goop did a pop up there, for example. And so it’s about identifying where you’re seeing that, that traffic today either through socials or through e Commerce Data and I think brands are open to it and and sometimes it’s tying it around events and strategic times of the year to go into those markets. So the thing though, is a lot of the times when brands do make that strategic approach to go into the market, they actually do really well because they become like the story of the town. Right? And people are so excited to have that opportunity to shop that brand that you know you still have to be savvy about what’s the right location I wouldn’t go into you know off the beaten path streets, I would you know go to where people are. But again a lot of them have seen success.

Ressa 24:26
As you know, I love stores. And you told me a story before you got on air about Purple Mattress and wants to tell the audience about how Purple Mattress got their own stores and built a physical presence.

Gonzalez 24:41
Yeah, so we you know, they they are an interesting company they differentiate themselves within the mattress category because most seed market are foam mattress. So they have different technology inside and it’s unique and so for, for them. It was really important to have physical touch points for people to lay on the bed and, and understand what that feels like and, and the benefits of it. And they had a showroom attached to their office in Utah for a little bit. And they saw the evidence that, you know, when people came into the showroom, they had pretty good conversion rates. And so started identifying market where they wanted to test physical retail. So at the fourth quarter of last year open for for pop up. And one showroom, one the one showrooms in Utah, which is what their new office space, and then for pop ups, one in Seattle and three in California, and giving them the opportunity to see, you know, what, what, where people will questions are people asking? How were conversions changing? You know, they have different levels, 123 and four of the beds, and those also range in pricing. And so seeing like, well, what is the average conversion look like in store was the biggest delay on the bed versus online? And also they purchase the purchasing the pillows, and, you know, and just testing the market? And what’s the right square footage, one of the pop ups was 4000 square feet, and other one is 1500 square feet. So also an opportunity for a lot of that A B testing. Got it

Ressa 26:15
makes sense? How did they end up choosing California and Seattle? What was the driver for that?

Gonzalez 26:22
Yeah, just going back to data, right? Understanding where they were seeing strong demand online, and identifying those key markets that they wanted to start with. And so that was really the guiding light.

Ressa 26:34
That makes a lot of sense. And you mentioned super consumers, which totally I get, you would want to continue to penetrate the markets where you had super consumers. One of the things I’m always wondering, though, is do they ever look at whitespace and say, Wow, we don’t have any consumers in Minneapolis, for example, just pick Minneapolis, and go, let’s open up a pop up there for brand recognition, see if we can convert any of these consumers to online consumers to try to extend their consumer base. Does that happen?

Gonzalez 27:14
That happens? For sure. It’s usually not in the first wave. There’s always that question, though, do you think we should go over the strongest? Or do we do we think we should go where we are looking to acquire a bigger brand awareness. And most most of the time, brands start with further strong. And then in the second round, then they start kind of branching out into those other markets.

Ressa 27:35
I’m curious a little bit

Ressa 27:37
about your world a little bit more. And as it relates to Purple Mattress and other brands? So when do you get involved in the process? So with purple matches, did they call you out? Two years out a year out? Or did they call you three weeks before the fourth quarter when you open the stores and said

Ressa 27:53
we need your help?

Gonzalez 27:55
It definitely ranges from client to client that this particular one, we’ve been involved for a decent amount of time, and we’re part of the ideation phase. So the conversation started about a year in advance, which was great, we love those opportunities, because then we’re helping really think through strategy. But there’s other instances where a brand has already decided where they want to be. Sometimes they’ve already selected the location itself, and then we’re coming in after that point. So it’s, it’s really it’s really a range, but we are full service. So we like to come in as early as the ideation phase.

Ressa 28:31
Okay, you come in the ideation phase, you sit down with Purple Mattress, and do they say, We want to be in California and Seattle? Or did you guide them to those markets, and to tell them about, you know, going to a place where they had super consumers?

Gonzalez 28:49
Um, so it’ll be a mix, right? We do still ask, what are your strongest market? Because they’re living in the brand every day, they have access to that data. So we always use that as a starting point. And then it’s depending on, you know, what they’re looking to achieve and what they consider success. To your point before, right? Is it is it? Is it identifying new customers? Is it is it? Is it brand awareness? Is it right? So, we’re saying, Hey, what is your data look like today of where traffic coming from? What do we consider success? And then also really thinking about their core customer demos, too, right? Because, you know, what is the what is the average household income? You know, is it Are they are they families, Are they single? So we’re really thinking of all those parts too as we start evaluating the market. And we take all of those factors in consideration before we make our recommendation. So it’s a mix. Okay,

Ressa 29:51
so the ideation phase is over. And so you start working with them on design, have the look and feel the store or do you start working on On operations and the POS system and the tech in the store, or is this happening simultaneous? Give me a little bit of insight of how you work.

Gonzalez 30:11
It’s a bit simultaneous, we’re thinking through customer journey, and operations as we’re thinking of design because they have to, they have to live together, right? So it’s a, it’s a collaborative conversation. And within our team, we have different senior project managers who have different areas of specialty. So, for example, one has an operations background, so she’ll get involved in that part of the conversation. While we’re, while we’re working on that design aspect. And when you start thinking through that, and

Ressa 30:39
as that’s happening, does purple matches hire a real estate broker? Or because your relationships with landlords you go direct to landlords? How does that work?

Gonzalez 30:49
Um, so we’re not brokers that we will work with real estate brokers or Property Groups that depend, depending on the market, if they’re looking to be in shopping centers, or if they’re looking to be on Main Street. So in this particular scenario, all of the locations were with small groups. So we had a conversation with me search and Westfield and Brookfield and things like that. So we’ll go direct to them. But if we were looking on Main Street than we would work with a broker in that market,

Ressa 31:16
makes total sense.

Ressa 31:18
So are you part of the conversation, when they choose the real estate product that they want to go into whether it’s a street location, a mall, an airport, or whatever it might be? And what’s driving them, put us behind the scenes of what Purple Mattress was thinking here? And how they chose these locations?

Gonzalez 31:39
We are a part of that strategy conversation. I mean, ultimately, they make the decision, of course, but it really depends on market to I mean, there’s just the markets are gonna go into where you need to be in a shopping center, you know, so if you’re going to go, if you’re in New York City, it’s a whole different animal, for example, than if you’re gonna go into the San Diego market, or, or the Seattle market, right. So some of it’s just market dependent. If you’re gonna go to the Las Vegas market, you know, you’re going to be at a mall, right? So, so some of it’s driven by that. And then it just depends on the category to which it depends on how well known the brand is. There’s a lot of times with DTC brands in certain markets, like going into a shopping center secondary, they’d rather be on Main Street first, because, you know, they, they think they’ll be discovered more easily that way. Or they have concerns that, you know, they’re gonna have the right adjacencies, or be in the right wing, or, you know, so it really, I think, depends on the category two,

Ressa 32:37

Ressa 32:38
was probably in the last couple of years, because obviously, their, their marketing is phenomenal. So how did it how did it start? Did they reach out to you? Or did you call them,

Gonzalez 32:49
we’ve been really fortunate as a company to have a lot of inbound and a lot of referrals. So we, you know, had having been a small group, small company of 10, you know, there wasn’t really like a customer acquisition budget, we’ve never done ads, we’ve never kind of taken that approach. So we’ve done a lot of focus on I’ve done a lot of focus on thought leadership, you know, writing my book, The pop up paradigm, and contributing to articles and, and writing posts on LinkedIn. And so a mixture between SEO and, and customer referrals, is how we’ve gotten all of our clients to date.

Speaker 2 33:25
We’ve been very fortunate for that. Wow.

Ressa 33:29
So how big is your business grown from a employee perspective, when you know, I decided to open up Chris’s t shirt shop and I realized I need your services. And I call you, what is the team look like?

Gonzalez 33:44
Yeah, it depends on the scale of the project. Who would be assigned? Because it depends on for footage, how many locations, how fast for doing it, things like that. So but I’m always part of ideation. And then we have our design team. And so the design team, it depends how many people will depend on like, how large scale the design is. And then on the pm side, project management side, it depends, is there an operational component that we’re strategizing around? Because sometimes the brands do that themselves? And then you know, How extensive is the build out? So you’re usually getting a senior pm and an associate pm at minimum, and then it just depends on some of those other factors.

Ressa 34:23
Anything else related to the Purple Mattress story and journey that you were on and are still on that? The listeners might want to hear that we haven’t touched down to that?

Gonzalez 34:34
I mean, it’s just a great another proof point of the importance of physical retail, right? I mean, you know, certain categories, no matter how much growth they’re having online, it’s intuitive that people still need to touch and feel the product and if you think about a mattress where you’re, you know, and wellness and health and become such a big category, it’s such a big conversation and people really valuing the importance of sleep again, there’s been so much growth online with it. So you know, when a space gets very competitive like had online and a product. Price point is, you know, it’s pretty significant. It’s a lot of times products of consideration above, you know, $200. Like, there’s some sort of touch field that’s needed. And obviously mattresses fall in that category. And so I think it’s an example of where it kind of was the, it was the inevitable next step that they were to go into physical retail, because they need to differentiate their story. And but also just having that touch feel like having an opportunity for people to touch, feel the product, and then it’s just an opportunity for community building. So if you kind of take a holistic approach to the value of physical, there’s a lot that you can see that helps you grow awareness in particular markets. And, and just kind of create stickier relationship with your customer.

Ressa 35:53
Well, that’s a great story. Thank you. Great Learning about you. It’s been truly my pleasure. Why don’t you tell everyone about your book?

Gonzalez 36:02
Sure. So the book called The pop up paradigm, how brands build a human connection and digital age. I wrote the book when, a couple of years ago, actually, so I’m always saying like, Okay, what’s going to be the next one because like, now it’s mainstream pop up. So what’s next in the next 10 years, but I really is kind of written in different purposes, why brands do pop up everything from testing partnership to new product launches, to testing the viability of physical retail shows some examples of brands who have done it? Well, there’s a section on you know, is this the right time for me to do a pop up things that you should ask yourself, and just and also talking about technology, and the integration of tech, retail, tech and store and where we think that’s going. And some of it’s coming to fruition since I wrote the book, but it’s also still evolving, I think, as much as augmented reality and virtual reality and RFID is that the market, there’s still a lot of evolution

Ressa 36:57
to go. All that stuff’s gonna happen. It’s just a little early. That’s all. Where can people find the book

Gonzalez 37:04
on Amazon,, and Barnes and Or you can go to our website and there’s a link there as well.

Ressa 37:11
Great, everyone, all the listeners out there, go buy that book. All right. As you know, the last part of the podcast is called retail wisdom. We talked about what it was already. So here we go. Question one best piece of commercial real estate advice for all the listeners out there

Gonzalez 37:29
is peace. Alignment still matters. I think a lot of people get seduced because a property you know, it’s free. Nothing’s ever free, because your time is money too. So being strategic about the right place to be where’s your customer? What are the right adjacencies really should be the guiding light for your decision

Unknown Speaker 37:51
over cost in itself. All right.

Ressa 37:53
Love that perspective. Question to extinct retailer, you wish would come back from the dead. Oh, ha ha ha.

Unknown Speaker 38:05
Um, I mean,

Gonzalez 38:10
I know they do have one store. But I would like a little bit more. FAO Schwarz is so fun.

Ressa 38:17
I love FAO Schwarz. That’s a great answer. I was also growing up a big fan of the movie Big with Tom Hanks. So great answer. Okay, last and final question. I’m going to give you a retail product and you’re going to give me the retail price. I am on Briggs Riley’s website and they have the dispatch messenger briefcase. What is the retail price of the Briggs? Riley? Dispatch messenger briefcase. 250. You were very close. One of the closer on the show to 19. They do have a sale today. You can get 30% off.

Gonzalez 38:56

Ressa 38:58
All right, Melissa. This has been great. It’s been an education. So thank you, everyone else out there. If you’re a digitally native brand, reach out to Melissa and the lioness group. If you’re just a listener of the show, go buy her book, and we’ll see everybody soon.

Gonzalez 39:17
Thank you for having me.

Ressa 39:21
Thank you for listening to retail retold. If you want to share a story about a retail real estate deal you were a part of on our show. Please reach out to us. This podcast highlights the stories behind deals from all perspectives. So it doesn’t matter if you’re a retailer, broker attorney or an architect. Contact Diane Lee at D L E at DLC Also, don’t forget to subscribe to retail retold so you don’t miss out on next Thursday’s episode

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