mobile-close copy

Retail Retold Replay with Rebekah Kondrat

Rebekah Kondrat Headshot
Episode #: 229
Retail Retold Replay with Rebekah Kondrat

Guest: Rebekah Kondrat
Topics: DTC brands, brick-and-mortar stores


Chris Ressa 0:01
This is Retail Retold, the story of how that story ended up in your neighborhood. I’m your host, Chris Ressa. And I invite you to join my conversation with some of the retail industry’s biggest influencers. This podcast is brought to you by DLC management.

Welcome to Retail Retold everyone. Today I am joined by Rebekah Kondrat. Rebekah is the founder and CEO of Rekon Retail. We have a pretty cool show today. I’m excited for it, it’s a little different. We’re going to talk about the five things DTC founders should know before opening a physical store. I’m excited for this one. Rebecca has a lot of experience in this. Welcome to the show, Rebecca.

Rebekah Kondrat 0:44
Thank you. So happy to be here, Chris.

Ressa 0:46
So Rebecca, tell us a little bit about who you are and your career history.

Kondrat 0:50
Yeah, okay. Well, loaded question. Alright, so I am a record contract CEO of Rekon Retail. We are a boutique agency that helps largely direct-to-consumer brands enter and expand their physical retail channels. So entering into retail, everything from figuring out a concept, what is the strategy, connecting with real estate partners, etc., etc., all the way through build out construction management, setting up operations, so you can open your doors and sell to customers.

So from a background standpoint, I’ve actually been, I don’t know, in retail for 20 years. I’m kind of that retail lifer. You know, like a Ron Thurston type, if you will, but started off in big box. So like Starbucks and Apple were where I cut my teeth in retail. So you know, no, not, not some not tiny stores. But now I have a lot of like boutique style, direct to consumer brands move into retail.

So after Starbucks and Apple, I went to Warby Parker, kind of before really, they were Warby Parker, as we know them today. Right? When they were on the precipice of of kind of transforming into that. And then after that, went to outdoor voices and Jaybird furniture, and then kind of started doing what I do now. So that’s my story.

Ressa 2:13
I love it. A lot of different brands you worked for, what were you doing for these brands? Were they all in the store? Were some of them out of the store? What were you doing as like your day to day for these brands?

Kondrat 2:29
Yeah, so I really have that, like, started off, literally as a barista, pouring coffee, major cappuccino, you know, perfect weight, all of that, helping Bobby Flay before his morning show, all of those things. And then from there, I kind of realized that I had this kind of knack for figuring out operations, decent project management skill set that grew into a pretty substantial project management skill set as I grew with these brands.

And so with Starbucks, by the time I left, I was running a couple of stores. So in kind of an area manager capacity, and then when I went over to Apple, Apple’s a little bit of a different beast, right? The stores are very, very large, the population is much larger than, you know, a single Starbucks store. So I started off running kind of their people, people leadership is what they called it back then doing workforce management, scheduling, overseeing launches, things like that.

And then eventually training teams that were to open new stores in new countries. So I was involved in the training of the Hong Kong team, which was a great experience and then several other stores throughout New York. So by the time I got to Warby Parker, though, you know, that’s where things really kind of solidified for me that I wanted to be involved in retail and stay in retail for pretty much my entire career.

You know, when I came into Warby it was pretty new to the game, had a couple of stores, I think there were three that were currently open, and we were working on opening too. So initially, when I came in, I was in operations, ran the Upper East Side store, then eventually started kind of training new leadership as they started adding stores. By the time I left, there were 35 stores, around that number. Now there are of course, many, many more than that, and more opening all the time.

And I went over to outdoor voices and kind of did the same thing. So when I got to outdoor voices, I oversaw the entire US all of the stores in the US, so open stores in several states for them. And then it became more of like a strategic position, if you will, and less operational, and then went on to Jaybird Furniture as their director of retail and that was my last in house position before I started doing this

Ressa 4:42
Fantastic, really cool experience. I think you bring a lot of insights on how stores get up and running. And I’m excited for that. Before we get into that. We have a segment called ‘Clear The Air’. It’s a little bit to get to know Rebecca more. Three questions for you. Are you ready?

Kondrat 5:02
Okay, I’m ready.

Ressa 5:05
Okay, question one. What is one skill you don’t possess but wish you did?

Kondrat 5:14
Oh, one skill I don’t possess I wish I did I think. I I’m really good at like execution. Like, if you give me a creative something or other, I will go and make it happen. But sometimes conceptualizing that like I a little bit I stand back and I look at designers I work with designers a lot, obviously from like the store concepting side, and all project manage the process, but like the way that they can look at something, say on a website and then transform it into something physical is, like totally lost on me how to do that.

But once you actually have it designed, I can help you build it. So you know, that’s something that I wish I could do a little bit more and I’m, I’m working on it. Yeah, creativity, but totally. But I think a lot of people have that some people have that left brain creativity side. And yeah, we they’re not as good on strategy or tactics and execution. They’re, you know, design focused, creative, focused. And oftentimes, the opposite is true as well. So and that’s why retailers typically have large ones have both skill sets in house in the organization, right to come to that level and things like that. Yep. Okay, I like that question, too.

Ressa 6:36
When is the last time you tried something for the first time?

Kondrat 6:40
Oh, try something. Um, oh, wait, I’m doing it right now. So I am training for my first marathon. Oh, wow. Congrats. It is like no joke. I’m terrified. But thank you. Very excited. Are you doing the New York Marathon? I’m not I actually I, I will. That’s my plan is to do New York, but I’m doing Walt Disney World first. Because I get a lot of pictures with Mickey and all the characters. So it feels like a treat, instead of like a slog to run 26 miles or whatever it is.

So were you Have you always had a passion for running? No. Okay, so I taking it way back. I actually landed in New York because I was studying classical ballet. So I’ve been a dancer. Funny enough, not creative. I never was a choreographer, but was a dancer. And so when when that time kind of Sunset that like season of life kind of sunset for me. I was like, I need a new, like, physical thing to do. And my mom of all people at the time was like, Hey, let’s go start running together.

And I was like, okay, sure, no problem. So we started registering for races, and during races, like short ones, like five K’s and stuff together. And so we’ve been building up now for the last 10 years, and we’re ready to do a marathon so she’s actually running it with me. Oh, that’s amazing. That’s a cool thing. Yeah, that’s, thank you. We breaking world records here. Oh, my gosh, no. I’m running like an 11 minute miles. It’s perfect. No, just cannot fast. So. Okay, next question. Okay, what is one thing most people agree with, but you do not.

Kondrat 8:26
Ooh. One thing was, okay, I don’t know if this is going to be like, too, philosophical out of left field. I do not believe in that there is one person for everyone. Like the whole soulmate concept. I don’t believe in that. I have a husband. I have two children. I love them all very much. I love my husband very much. But, and he actually agrees we’ve had a conversation about this. I’m like, I think we were we were together at the right time. We both liked each other.

And we made a commitment. Right? But I don’t think that you’re my only you were the only option. Right? I could have been just as happy and had a great life. Like Hear me out. You could be happy and have a great life making a different choice. Right? So like this whole concept of like, Oh, if I don’t find my soulmate, I won’t ever be happy. You know, whatever. Like, which, honestly, you don’t even have to get married to be happy. I don’t believe that either. But like, you know what I mean? I just I don’t believe that there’s one person for everyone. What a unique answer.

Ressa 9:33
It’s a very unique answer. That’s, that’s cool. So my answers have been, I’ve asked this question to a lot of people I love this question. And I get such incredible responses from philosophical ones like that to someone saying, I don’t think that everything happens for a reason. So that to the funny which is this one guy came on and he said that up. This was a tough question. He’s like I prep for it. So I, you know, I found a friend and I went to the family.

And we all agree that dessert doesn’t have to come after dinner, and you can have ice cream before pizza and commercial. The answers come from all over the place. So I love that answer. Great answer. Pretty cool. I don’t know, you might get some letters about that one, one, who was the person know that fascinating, it’s pretty, pretty interesting perspective.

Okay, thank you for playing that game with me. I want to I want to move on to the topic of the day, which is the five things every DTC founders should know before they open the store. You’ll tell us what they are. You want to go in like order from five to one. People like an order? Yeah, I don’t actually know that. I have them in like ranked order, though. I got it. I got. So we’ll go down. And then what it is, and I’ll opine on my thoughts on it. So

Kondrat 11:11
Let’s go number five, what is number five, even though to silly ranking, but let’s call it number five. What’s the Okay, number five.I actually think this is number five. So I believe the whole like pop to perm, let’s test and then stay if things work is a total fallacy and a myth and like kind of the backwards way to go about stores. Wow. And so I, there’s a lot of pop up talk in the world, and your brands open up stores. Some of them are pop ups to some of their problems are listening.

So give me more. Okay, so hear me out on this, I get the want to test right. And I actually totally believe in testing and iterating. Right, I worked for Warby Parker during the whole bus thing where they drove the bus around and they got data on each location where they stopped. And that then informed where they open their stores. So totally understand the test. However, the problem for me with moving into a space on a, let’s try it out and maybe stay basis is if you go in and you think I’m only signing this lease for six months, or I’m doing a percentage rent deal or something like that for six months.

So I don’t want to spend a lot of money upfront, I’m going to spend as little on the capex as possible, I’m going to get like cheap fixtures and you know, maybe not spend a lot on the labor and all of this, what ends up happening, if you actually decide to convert that to permanent, is you now have fixtures that are falling apart in eight months, because you decided to get the ones that would only last for six, maybe you need to overhaul your workforce because you weren’t so careful about hiring like you know, it just it doesn’t quite you end up having to redo work and probably spend more money, which is what you’re trying to avoid at the beginning.

On the back end. So, and I think this is where your expertise comes in Chris, there is actually a better way where you can still mitigate the risk of opening a store without going this pop Dipper model, you can sign a longer term lease, and you can have really favorable kick out clauses and all of this and maybe even get some ti dare I say, and you could have the landlord build half of your store for you. And then you can actually get a true test. So that’s, that’s my myth.

Ressa 13:35
Yeah. So so a couple of things with with that. It’s a really interesting one. In general, I think the myth that I talk about a lot is people say that it’s less expensive to be online that isn’t physical stores. And what I where I changed that is it’s it might be less cost of entry, but to scale, it’s clearly more expensive online. And that’s why there’s very few ecommerce brands that are actually profitable.

And there are many brick and mortar brands that are and so it but there is a in general, unless you’re going into like this perfectly built out space from this previous retailer that you know, they were a fashion retailer, you’re a fashion retailer, and the space like just works perfectly and you don’t need to do a ton when it’s not that the cost of entry could be more expensive.

But I would say this one. I think one of the things just in life, I think it’s hard to be successful when you’re kind of one foot in the door one foot out, you’re already thinking about like how do I make sure an escape plan if it if you’re not all in, right when they when they open their site, when they open the website. They were all in but this Door. They’re like kind of like testing. And if you look at like Amazon when they test, like it, they have different balance sheet, no doubt.

But when they test, they’re like signing 10 year leases, long term leases and they’re doing, you know, fancy builds outs with lots of tech. And that’s not what I’m saying. But they truly test to see if it works, right you if you want the store to work, you have to give it everything you have put your best brand presents forward and, you know, kind of junky fixtures and the this whole I don’t think it has to be artificial intelligence everywhere. But if it’s not a good presence to the market, it could be in the dynamite location. But I think you’re you’re going to have a challenge.

So yeah, I’m not against temp to perm, I think there’s a place for temp to perm. And I think there’s a place for just pop ups, there’s some right spirit, seasonal ones spirit Halloween city, these groups have been doing pop ups seasonally for years very profitably, there’s a place for that. And I don’t think I don’t think there’s not a place for it. But I think there’s this myth that it’s the answer. And probably more would convert to long term profitable business, if they went in.

Like as if they were going to they’re signing a six month temp agreement. But they’re actually going in as if they were going to be there for 30 years. And I think that’s the the punch line. If you go in behaving like you’re only be there for six months, then you end up with sometimes less than you desired.

If you sign a six month agreement, but you go in with the concept that you will be there for 30 years, and you’re going to try to actually make it that means you’re going to invest more, that means the people are going to really matter that you hire, it’s not just some person you hired, it’s like a real store person who’s really strong in retail, right? Because the people matter.

And and so to me, that’s the piece about the temp to perm, it’s in the best success I’ve seen are the people that go in, and they might sign a temp agreement, but their intent is truly to be there for the next 10 years. Not that well. If it works, it works. If it doesn’t it, doesn’t it anything in life, isn’t it hard to be successful when you go in with that mindset?

Yeah, well, yeah. And I also very much believe in that kind of, I’m like hearing Tim gun in my head right now. Like, make it work. Like it works. If you make it work, kind of you know, I mean, that’s not always 100% True. Sometimes they’re just they’re locations that are duds. And that just happens and you close them and you move on, right.

But I think in the example that you gave of like spirit, I would say they’ve committed to pop ups, if you’re gonna commit to pop ups, and you have a kit of parts you have, you know, you know how to very efficiently build those out very quickly. It’s, it’s like highly repeatable, highly scalable for them. You know, it’s, it’s, I think, if you’re going to test pop ups, do it. But don’t do the one foot in one foot out. I’m not sure what this is kind of thing. Right? That doesn’t work in a lot of things in life, not just

Kondrat 18:12
Okay, what’s number? What’s number four? Okay, all right, number four. Actually, I think this is a good, this is a good segue here is, and I’m gonna, like put an asterisk by this and qualify, but it’s not that hard to run a profitable store. So, you know, I think in your example of all of these, like, founders who, you know, in their defense have never run a store. So it’s just an unknown, right? So it seems hard, or it seems difficult, or the number on the lease seems really high.

But the truth is, if you have good and here’s my qualifier, your product has to be good, people have to want to buy it, right? Because it doesn’t matter where your store is, it could be the middle of Times Square, if it’s not worthy, worthy of purchase, then you’re not going to be profitable. And you do have to at least somewhat get the location, right, you know, location does matter.

So I think if you can get those two things in line, there are other there are other factors like labor is your largest controllable cost, right? You can figure that out once you figure out your traffic patterns within a couple of months. So you know, you’re not you’re it’s rare to be profitable in the first like, six months and sometimes even 12 months, but it’s actually not hard to in the long term, run a profitable store.

Ressa 19:36
I love the answer. I think that and I think that’s proven out. There are way more profitable brick and mortar stores than there are ecommerce businesses, and there are many factors for that. But this is a proven path to profitability over the course of century And I think that we’re, there’s still this, like, how do we get ecommerce profitable?

And I think one of the things we’ve learned is without stores, it’s really hard, right? There’s that stack going around Twitter that something like there’s no billion dollar DTC digitally native brand that doesn’t have stores that. And so I think that’s proof in the pudding, you’ve run them. So I’ll let you be the expert on the difficulty of it. But I love the answer. Okay, number.

Kondrat 20:35
Okay, so number three, I’m gonna go with location is not the first step to entering physical retail, finding a location is not step one, to entering physical retail. So if I had a nickel, for every time that I started talking to a brand, like when I come into the equation, a lot of times what will happen is a brand will say, we’ve leased this location, because it was so great.

And the terms were so great. And now we need to build a store. But they don’t know what their concept is. They don’t really know what the what the purpose, like what the value proposition of the store is. So my viewpoint is the concept and the value proposition of your store actually dictates your location, not the other way around.

Ressa 21:25
Totally agree. There are certain locations that are you can disagree with me about something. Come on, I’ll get there. I’ll get there. Okay. But this is not new. This is this is this is old, we’ve seen entrepreneurs who have tried to who are just entrepreneurial, and they like see a space and they’re like, you know, they want to open up something and they don’t have the concept yet. And so it’s definitely the inverse to that. Whereas here’s my concept, how do I go find the right location? For sure. I think that’s a great, great point.

Kondrat 22:01
And there’s, you know, there’s different types, there’s input, we call them, there’s impulse locations. So there’s things that are impulse, there’s destination driven locations. There’s some that are in the neighborhood, there’s some trade areas that are drawn digitally. There’s a lot of different factors, depending on your demographic, your psychographic and everything like that. One of a friend of the show, name’s Rachel biter, she owns a she’s an entrepreneur, she has something called press massage.

So she did something that I think was even a little bit different, same kind of idea, a little more technology focused on the Warby. Not as practical, but from a sales perspective. But what she did for her locations, is she’d be like, between like two markets, or two locations, and she would put up a dummy website and say, coming soon, if you see here, if you sign up, if you you know, send me your email, and I’ll give you a gift card or sign up and, you know, put you on the mailing list and you get the free first massage free or something like that. And whichever one had a lot more traction, she got like real intel from the market that there was demand for a massage in that location.

Smart. I mean, absolutely. I thought that was really scrappy, entrepreneurial for a brand, but she already had her concept, right? She was this was not the inverse that you were talking about. So yes, anyway. Yeah. Okay. What are we on now? Three? Number two, oh, we’re on to Okay, I’m gonna go with stores are not a set it and forget it exercise.

So I think, you know, we’ve seen this happen in a pretty public way with department stores, depending on which one you look at, some are worse than others, where like, they literally haven’t changed anything in 50 years, you know, or whatnot, or maybe they’ve tested a few little things, but they haven’t actually fundamentally made changes to the way that they do business, the layout of their stores, their customer journey, their, you know, kind of traffic, all of that.

And I guess the kind of going back to your earlier example of like, DTC and websites, like a DTC brand would never put up a website, and then just leave it alone for 10 years, let alone five months. You know, you’re like constantly like testing and iterating and tweaking, my argument is, storage should be the same. I’m not saying like, close it, rip it down to the studs and rebuild it. But it should be constantly like a moving animal where it’s like, able to be modular, it’s able to be iterative. I really think that there’s something in this like, not to use a buzzword but like Store of the Future around modularity and being able to kind of change up the store very quickly as customers behaviors change.

Ressa 25:03
That’s interesting. And we’ve certainly seen that right? Because the more you leave it, the worse it gets. And then it’s hard to get those customers back after they’ve decided. No, I’m not going here anymore. It’s really hard to bring them back. And I think pivoting to what they want today is clearly important.

So that’s an interesting one. I don’t hear too much about that. But interesting one. Okay. Yeah. I mean, I think there are a couple of like spaces that are doing something like this trying to be like rotational and every, you know, like story was kind of the OG of this where they would change it up every month or every quarter or whatnot. But I’m talking about like, stretch.

Don’t you love the restaurants that they have? Like the seasonal menus? Like, right, every in the fall? Like I’m waiting, like, what’s the new menu? There’s a restaurant literally, by my house. And I’m like, What’s going to be the fall menu? Totally? Well, every brand does seasonal drops, right? You have seasonal products and every brand. So why would you go and then like hang them on the same exact fixtures that you like, haven’t touched in a million years, or you have the same hero imagery up on your walls that you did five years ago?

Like, let’s kind of be a little bit smarter about how to freshen up the stores to very, very cool. What is the number one thing DTC founders should know before they open up their first store? Number one thing, it’s it, look, it’s not rocket science. So don’t don’t hold your breath on this one. But it’s that people matter more than technology, right? Who you hire, and then being a fit for the brand and able to represent the brand in the way that you want them represented is more important than having QR codes than having touchscreens, even dare I say, then having things like buy online pick up in store.

Kondrat 27:05
So I think, you know, we’ve kind of seen over and over again, that if the in store experience is a great one that kind of covers over a multitude of sins, if you will, on the brand side. But you can have all of the fancy bells and whistles and technology. But if you go in, and that associate doesn’t give great service, or worse, everybody gets to hear about it all over Twitter and Instagram and Yelp, et cetera. Yeah, it’s the old adage, I’ll use a restaurant one if you you know, like you’re talking about if you go to this, the food’s great at the restaurant, but you can’t get your water refilled. You know, nobody, nobody into that.

Right. So Nobody enjoys that. And I think I like to say this about real estate too, which is, it’s not Location, location, location. It’s people, people, people, the people behind the location, make it work. And in real estate, we don’t talk about that enough in retail, it’s talked about all the time. So I’m surprised they’re I think it’s probably this tech background saying I can bring the tech to the store. But I would think that a lot of them when when they’re opening up their digitally native brands, like the people on the on the digitally native brand, the people behind the brand matter.

They matter a lot in the store, too. Yep, exactly. And I think, you know, we’re, I’m really happy to see this kind of turning a corner. And I think it’s, it’s taken, you know, what’s happened over the last year and a half or so for the gig economy workforce to really kind of be valued, because right now they’re in very short supply, right, like, I’m trying to hire for several stores right now. And it’s not easy, you know, so and I think that’s due to several factors. I think a lot of people are re evaluating what they want to do. But I think to the frontline retail workforce really wants to be recognized for driving the brand because they are so they’re kind of demanding that now which is in my opinion, a good thing.

Ressa 29:13
interest interesting. The I hadn’t looked at it that way and that’s a really cool way to look at it. Great list. Let’s go through the list one more time. What was the five C’s? I don’t know. I have to see I didn’t have it in order. So I think the first one was the pop different myth. Don’t Don’t succumb to the myth of pop to perm. Yep. Right. The second one was, it’s not hard to run a profitable store with the asterisk of you have to have good product and you have to have a decent location.

Kondrat 29:44
The third one was location is not the first step in opening your store knowing what the purpose of your store is. Yeah. The fourth one was retail is not a set it and forget it exercise. And the fifth one was people are greater than technology.

Ressa 30:00
I love it. Okay, great list. Let’s talk about something. Yeah, you’re in the weeds. You’re doing this now. What’s, uh, is there a digitally native brand that we can go check out of a store that you recently opened?

Kondrat 30:20
Oh my gosh, um, well, actually, so we just had two stores open for Sarah Flint. They are a luxury shoe store. That’s, you know, St. Kind of DTC story, right, these luxury shoes cost over $1,000. They’re made in the same factory as armas and Manolo Blahnik, but the price is significantly less and, frankly, the brand, she’s just such a lovely person and founder. So I don’t have favorites. But it’s a it’s a lovely brand. So go check it out. We’re on in Soho, on West Broadway. And we also recently opened in Georgetown in DC.

Ressa 30:51
Excellent. And so where they were they in markets all over? Like were they shipping everywhere as a digitally native brand? Yeah, pretty much certainly shipping everywhere in the US for sure. And I think a few select international countries. Yeah. But again, much like you noted at the beginning, I think there does come a point in the life of a digitally native brand, where they start to go like, Okay, our performance marketing is slowing down, our customer acquisition costs are rising.

And we either need to, you know, double down on some sort of like influence or channel, we need to go into wholesale, or we need to consider owned retail. And so I think, you know, eventually every brand has this crossroads where and you know, again, like buzzword alert, but like they started to think about how do we really truly become an omni channel brand?

Now I have a bunch of questions, because you’re on the front lines that we didn’t talk about or prep for so. Okay. So one is you set up these stores for you, as you’re looking at them. And as you’re counseling some of these founders, is success, profitability in the store, like for wall EBITA? Or is it if we open the store and our online sales increase? Like, you know, talk to me about success? Yeah. I mean, it’s a good question. I think the answer is yes.

And however, it pains me to my core if a store is not profitable, so my belief is, all stores should be for a while even a profitable and contribute to that halo effect that, you know, in real estate, we know, you know, you know, so Well, that’s like as soon as a store opens in a market, you see the lift, I’ve seen figures as high as 60%. Prior to the store, opening, things like that, you know, there are different reports that depending on who’s putting them out, there are different percentages.

But the bottom line is when a store opens in a market that ecommerce sales rise to. So I think it’s it’s both. So brands care about the stores not being underwater. I think, breakeven or better is a phrase that I hear a lot. And I’m like, Oh, it’ll be better, because I refuse for it to just be breakeven. But, you know, I think there is also a desire to understand, what does this do for our ecommerce sales? What does this do for our ability to reach customers to collect email addresses to collect phone numbers, like there’s a big want to once you have a customer right in front of you? What information can you get about them so that you can then better serve them in the future?

Yeah, and I’m sure none of the stores you worked for previously would have accepted opening unprofitable stores. So no, no. And in fact, they closed the ones that weren’t profitable. So yeah. So as you mentioned, there’s this crossroads that happen, where retailers are digitally native brands start to think about stores. And beyond the channel, I’ve heard things like, typically at about $10 million in revenue, they’re thinking about it because it’s hard to maintain profitability. Or I’ve heard Serie C, font, you know, fundraising. I’ve heard a lot of things. One of the things that’s interesting is, you mentioned a

Ressa 34:14
You mentioned the brand, Sarah Flint, you know, luxury brand, and we’re starting to see the Warby Parkers. I wouldn’t say it’s Starbucks. But what I would say is, do you think we’re going to see digitally native brands on every corner like a Starbucks or they’re going to be the most?

Kondrat 34:40
I wouldn’t say Warby Parker’s that but they’re getting closer to that than they are like having one in New York, Vegas, LA and Miami, right? I don’t think like brands can only operate in New York, you know, having physical stores in New York, Miami, la Chicago, San Francisco and call ya know, I’m a big. And then this is a topic for another time.

But I’m also a big fan of like the tertiary market. Right? Like, maybe New York is not the first market that makes sense for you. And it depends on the brand. Maybe it is, but maybe it’s not. And you should go and open in, I don’t know, Denver or Charlotte, North Carolina, or Boise, Idaho or something, you know.

Ressa 35:19
So, another topic for another day, will we see brands DTC brands on every corner? I think it depends on the product and on the, the size of the addressable market, right. So you have, let’s take like, luxury footwear, it is a huge market. But I think for a brand like Sarah Flint, and this is just like, disclaimer, I, this is not like, part of their strategy or anything like that.

I’m just talking using them as an example. I think for a brand like them, it doesn’t make sense, at least at this juncture to even go in open in every state, like, you know, let’s really target like, go where our customers are, or go where our future customers are, you know, you can imagine who those are. It’s business women, it’s like where the wedding industry is really strong Bachelorette, like Nashville would be a great market for them. You know, those kinds of things?

Kondrat 36:09
I think for brands like Warby Parker, when you look at the addressable market of what percentage of the population needs vision correction, you know, that’s where that one is, like, a little bit nuanced, because it’s a medical device, and it’s a fashion vehicle, you know, so the product is a little bit different than like a luxury shoe. Say, sure.

So I think potentially, but going back to also Starbucks, people drink coffee every day. Like I go, I will out myself and say I go to Starbucks almost every day, right? So and, and spend my money there and they get a lot of money from me every year, you know, and I do it happily. But like that’s because it’s a it’s that kind of consumable resource. So yeah, totally. Okay. Well, listen, we’re running short on time. This has been great. I want to bring us to the last part of the show. I call it retail wisdom.

Ressa 37:02
I try to be wise. Okay. Question one. What extinct retailer, do you wish would come back from the dead? Oh, what extinct retailer?

Kondrat 37:13
Okay. I don’t mean to like non answer your question. But just because we were talking about department stores earlier. I, I was what I’m a marvelous Mrs. Maisel fan. I don’t know if you’ve watched that show. I love that show. Okay, great. So I was watching it. And you know, when Mrs. Maisel when she works in the department store, but it’s like, a hot hopping place to be and the service is so good. They know everyone’s name.

They know, everyone’s lip shade. They like it. They’re like so catered to. And it’s just such a contrast to what we see in retail to date. Like, there’s a lot of bad service out there. And I just like, I want to return to the era of the department store where like, This service was amazing. Like that, you know, it is a non answer. This is one I’m very challenging.

Give me a department store. I mean, the one that comes top of mind is Lord and Taylor but like Lord and Taylor in Mrs. Maisel version, Lord and Taylor, right. Not the shadow of its former self, Lord and Taylor that like I experienced before it closed in New York.

Ressa 38:26
Got it. Okay. Number two, what is the last item over $20 You bought in a store?

Kondrat 38:36
Oh, you know what, actually, it was a pair of Sarah Flint pumps in the store after I opened it.

Ressa 38:43
Excellent. Question three. If you and I were shopping at Target and I lost you. Which aisle would I would I find you in?

Kondrat 38:54
Oh, okay. I love Target. It would be in that like, you know, the Home Goods organization section with like all the bins and like, the one that looks like the Container Store, but it’s Target. Yep, that’s where I would be. Got it. Very cool. Well, listen, I really appreciate this. This was excellent. Thank you so much. And thank you. This was so much fun. Continue to stay connected in chat. Absolutely. Thanks so much. Thank you.

Ressa 39:24
Thank you for listening to Retail Retold. If you want to share a story about a retail real estate deal that you were a part of on our show, please reach out to us at This show highlights the stories behind the deals from all perspectives. So it doesn’t matter if you are a retailer, broker, entrepreneur, architect or an attorney. Also, don’t forget to subscribe to Retail Retold so you don’t miss out on next Thursday’s episode

Read Transcript

Never Miss an Episode!

Join the newsletter and get access to bonus content and exclusive updates


Newest DLC white paper


access exclusive retail reports