Parade, the intimates brand popular with Gen Z, made a name for itself as an online-only business. But now, the company is testing out its first in-person retail experience with a market in New York City.
The shop is part of the brand’s “Summer of Parade” campaign, a summer-long combination of digital marketing and in-person events like a dance party that will be held in Brooklyn at the end of June. It will be open from Aug. 27-29. Experiences will be offered inside and outside, including wildflower decorations and refreshments set up around its location in Dimes Square, a small park in Manhattan. The brand redecorated the inside of the store to look like a meadow reminiscent of the brand’s latest collection called Summer Daisy. The market will be promoted to the brand’s 250,000 Instagram followers and has already been listed in NYC events roundups like the one published by Paper Magazine.
This is the first in-person selling experience the 1-year-old brand has ever hosted. Prior IRL activations were limited to a branding activation, in the form of handing out popsicles in front of the event space Freehold in Miami last year. The new pop-up will also provide customers free food, as well as drinks, regardless of whether they buy anything. It will sell the brand’s full summer collection, which ranges in price from $10-$32.
For Parade, the IRL experience is a way for the brand to test the waters of physical retail.
“My focus will be on achieving profitability, and sustainably scaling and revitalizing our core brand and product, instead of getting too big too quickly,” said CEO Cami Tellez in May. “In the coming months, we’ll be offering a diversified product assortment to our fiercely loyal customer base and continuing to surprise customers with biweekly drops.”
Parade grew quickly after launching in October 2019, generating $10 million in revenue in 2020. The brand expects to quadruple that figure in 2021. Parade closed a $23 million funding round in May, bringing its total valuation to $70 million.
In the last five years, pop-ups have become a popular way for brands without a physical presence to test the waters before making an investment in a permanent space. Pandemic-driven pressures on brands, along with the rising costs of online customer acquisition, mean that investing in physical retail as a way to attract more customers is often necessary and risky.
“You really need a presence online right now, but you also need a physical presence to stand out,” said Carina Donoso, senior director of retail experience and incubation at WS Development. “But there [needs to be] a graduated step to doing that, because retail is such a huge investment. Pop-ups are the smartest way to do it. It’s an opportunity for a brand to meet its clients in person.”