Ann Isler: "It is about creating the „wow-moment” for the customer when entering Waldraud"
The best ideas are often created while enjoying a drink with friends - at least this was the case when Ann, Lorenz and Daniel sat together and came up with the idea to establish a concept store like no other in the urban, creative and multicultural District 5 in Zurich.
What’s the story behind your store? When and why was the shop opened and how did it develop?
We (Lorenz & Ann) always dreamt of running our own project. At the beginning we did not really know what – A hotel, Bed & Breakfast or a concept store. However, after our studies, we decided to first take on proper jobs and get professional experience.
In November 2010, while enjoying a drink with our friend Daniel, we noticed that he shared the same desire. The three of us started to sit together and brainstorm on what to do. A couple of months later, we accidently came across a beautiful shop location in our preferred District in Zurich. In a couple of night sessions, we brought our thoughts on paper and created the business plan for our concept store Waldraud. Thinking that we did not have a chance to get the contract, it took us by full surprise. To fully develop our concept and to have time for the buying, we organized a pop-up store to take over the location until our shop Waldraud celebrated its opening in September 2011.
What was your mission when you decided to open it?
Our shop is a destination shop, where we carry unseen furnishings and fashion brands together with more established ones. Considering that many brands have been new to the market, the Waldraud concept has been taken up very well throughout the years. While staying true to our concept, we developed it along with the experiences in the market. Today the shop is owned and run by the two founders and owners Ann and Lorenz.
How would you describe your assortment and what makes it special?
We love objects and items that stand out from the crowd. It is about creating the „wow-moment” for the customer when entering Waldraud.
The brands and items are carefully picked to fit the concept of Waldraud – the right combination of the story, style, personality, quality, and functionality is what makes it a Waldraud brand.
Which brands and styles are your bestsellers right now?
Starstyling from Berlin (sweaters for adults and kids) and BigStuffed from Paris (big stuffed creatures for adults and kids)
Which new brands did you add to the assortment recently and how did you discover these?
We got the recommendation to sell Starstyling at our store through a nice shop in the Netherlands. Before we took it into our assortment, we bought a sweater with dots for our (Ann’s and Lorenz’s) little 2-year-old son. When an upcoming Swedish Popstar spotted our son with the sweater in a grocery store in Sweden and giving him great compliments, we knew that it was the right product for our store.
Another recent brand is BigStuffed. We spotted these great stuffed creatures on a curated art, design and photography online magazine. The designer only works with stores that she really loves, and we became the first international reseller outside Paris.
Where do you order your products (showrooms or trade shows - which ones)?
In order to find the right products, we don’t only go to tradeshows and showrooms – we also do a lot of online research (Instagram/blogs/online curated magazines) and find new brands through traveling and recommendations.
Which trends & looks do you think will dominate in fall/winter 2017?
We see a strong movement of pink in all different nuances and a continuation of oversized styles. However, in general, we rather look for styles that can be worn over time and create a personal style not only because it’s a fashion trend. It’s more important that the product is suitable for our concept and mission
How often do you redecorate the store, how important is the interior?
Re-decoration of the store is one of the key factors for a good sell-out. We redecorate when we receive new arrivals of furnishings and fashion products – on a weekly to monthly basis. It’s always important to move products around and set up attention seeking window displays in order to surprise your customers.
What’s special about the Swiss fashion customer?
Quality and functionality are definitely important. Furthermore, Swiss customers also look for the origin of production and they are more likely to buy natural materials
How do you interact with your community?
Through our newsletter (twice a month), but also through social media such as Facebook and Instagram.
What have been the biggest challenges in leading the store so far?
To keep the patience running a store with unseen brands, first having to create the awareness and confidence in the brand. We struggled for a long time with the menswear collections, as we entered the market with too special pieces and a too high price level.
Which person – celebrity or not – would you love to welcome in the store one day?
It would be nice to welcome Lady Gaga before her show at Zurich in Hallenstadion in September 17.
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