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From Chicago, Istanbul and Sao Paulo, three great examples underlining that retail formats and shopping habits continue to blend, turning everything into easy-to-ogle, easy-to-customize, and easy-to-buy.

Three great examples underlining that retail formats and shopping habits continue to blend, turning everything into easy-to-ogle, easy-to-customize, and easy-to-buy: At The T-Shirt Deli in Chicago, unadorned shirts are selected from a deli counter and then adorned with garnishings of personalized lettering, delivering on a “T-shirts made fresh daily” tag line. The starting price for t-shirts ranges from USD 15 (EUR 11.50 / GBP 7.90) for a basic T-shirt to USD 22 for a long-sleeve t-shirt and USD 26 for a long-sleeve hoodie. T-shirts are available for women, men, babies, kids, and dogs. Letters are USD 1 each: customers can use custom letters or their own design. Preaching flexibility and transparency, it may not come as a surprise that The T-Shirt Deli sources its T-shirts from sweatshop-free American Apparel. For those of you interested in introducing this concept in your own home town/country: The T-shirt Deli website states that they currently don’t have opportunities for franchising (they are however open to proposals, which they may reply to if they find them intriguing). In Springwise speak, that means you may as well go it alone: the world is a big place, and the demand for cool T-shirts and/or unusual retail experiences is infinite, especially with the Fast Fashion trend still picking up speed!

Turkish T-Box T-Shirts

Not into garnishings? Turkish T-Box sells closely pressed T-shirts (and other apparel and accessories) stuffed into tiny boxes. Quickly becoming a cult phenomenon, T-Box has already expanded into Russia, Spain, Romania, Dutch Antilles, New Zealand, France, Greece, Italy, and the UK (about the latter: email Rosie Jones of T-Box UK if you want to know more!). Still, that leaves a lot of countries for out-of-the box thinking entrepreneurs.

Banca de camisetas

Sao Paulo’s Banca de Camisetas, a mix between a news stand and a T-shirt store, hawks exclusive designs (there are never more than three copies of a T-shirt) to Paulistanas and Paulistanos. Like magazines, all T-shirts are changed weekly, and the ‘publishers’ are free-lance designers who get to show off their work. There are five stands in Sao Paulo now, and we can’t really think of any big city where this would NOT work!


How to display choice and variety, while conveying a sense of NO FRILLS CHIC? If the above retailers can do it, so can you. Blurring the lines between conventional displays and selling methods may well mirror your customers’ blurring perceptions of what constitutes value, or experience. Think this is slightly trivial? Then look no further than the red-hot marriage between phones and fashion to see the future (and mega fortunes) of a lifestyle-driven Surprise Economy. That’s enough buzzwords for now: time to build some new businesses!


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