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Shelfspace for minipreneurs

Retail

For minipreneurs wanting to sell in the real world, it doesn't get better than retail space by the shelf in shops like Yokozuna, Emerge and RAG. It's a win-win: consumers get direct access to truly original goods, services and experiences, while designers can just get started: no contracts, utility bills or advertising strategies necessary.

Previously, we reported on art sold in discount supermarkets and art popping out of vending machines. This month we bring you artists, designers and minipreneurs who no longer need publicists or advertising, but would rather score themselves hot retail space, renting it by the shelf. In Hamburg, Germany, consumers can score authentic works of art at miniature prices from over forty national and international artists who rent a shelf at Yokozuna, a 15 square meter high-in-demand retail hotspot. For a mere EUR 5 per month, young artists, designers and hobby enthusiasts can exhibit and sell their work, with a third of the retail price going to Yokozuna. Hot items currently on sale are a milk carton radio at a reasonable EUR 10.34, a computer key etched with ‘panic’ priced at EUR 3.45, and a house fly magnet for EUR 4. In New York, young designers are lining up for a space in EMERGE*nyc. Open since August, this 3,500 square ft space houses 26 independent stalls, or mini-boutiques. Here, up and coming designers run their stalls, interact with customers and sell their collections of clothes, bags, and other accessories. Available on a month to month basis, the spaces, sized from 50 to 150 square ft, go for USD 1,400 to USD 2,500 a month. Alternatively, merchants can rent a simple counter space for USD 450 (EUR 375 / GBP 250). With such high demand for a space in this bustling part of downtown New York, owners of EMERGE*nyc do some heavy curating, carefully selecting designers that fit the profile and aesthetic of the entire space. In San Francisco, a similar service, though less costly, is offered by the Residents Apparel Gallery, a boutique/gallery/co-op, where Bay Area clothing and accessory designers rent their own rack and display their biography in a gallery-like space. R.A.G. currently showcases 40+ designers and rotates in a few new designers monthly. Designers pay a modest fee per month (USD 30-50), and keep up to 70% of profits.

Opportunities

In a world of millions of new minipreneurs and a swelling GENERATION C, shelf space, big or small, could well turn out to be the new currency. In the offline world, renting just a tiny part of a retail store like Yokozuna is a pretty cool business idea, while in the online world, the concept of many-stores-in-a-store, in which merchants do their own online upkeep, is a success story waiting to happen. What’s really new here? Think curator meets shopkeeper meets real estate agent, all in one go. Unlike eBay, which is mainly about enabling listings, or traditional galleries, where the curator gets to decide everything and content is pretty static, the Yokozunas, R.A.G.s and Emerges of this world are offering a glimpse of new distribution channels for new content. It’s a win-win: consumers get direct access to truly original goods, services and experiences, while designers can just get started: no contracts, utility bills or advertising strategies necessary.

Website: www.yokozuna.de/, www.emerge65bleecker.com/

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