Oppermann is an online leather goods brand that combines Swedish minimalist design with a London touch to create premium quality leather products at affordable prices. Last Sunday they opened their first pop-up store in 67 Redchurch Street. We caught up with one of the founders, Mattis Oppermann, to find out the story behind the brand...
Where did your idea come from?
The idea started 4 years ago, when me and my brother were trying to find a nice leather laptop sleeve. It was really hard to find what we wanted to - an affordable, good quality product with minimalist design and best functionality. That’s when we first started thinking about creating our collection - a range of male leather products like laptop sleeves, bags, wallets. We started researching and investigating different manufacturers who would be happy to produce a few pieces for us. Shortly afterwards we found a manufacturer in India who worked with Scandinavian brands and launched our first collection in 2012.
Where did you launch first?
At first we tried to get our products to as many stores as possible and focused on the wholesale distribution. But very soon we were frustrated about the markups the distributors added to the price and how little they cared about the brand. At the same time we launched our online store and it was doing pretty well. We noticed that there were a lot of direct-to-consumer brands, so we considered this model and it turned out that by focusing on online strategy we could produce our goods in Italy with a higher production price without changing our selling prices. Cutting out the middlemen lets us offer the best quality products at affordable prices. All our products are made in Italy but use leather from both Italy and Sweden.
Why did you decide to launch a pop-up shop?
Well, there are many reasons. We can get a lot of traffic to the website, but in the end there are certain elements you cannot communicate online, like smell and touch. We did shop-shares before, but we wanted to have our own concept store like this one, where we would be able to tell the story of the brand. We are also considering trying new approaches, maybe just a show-room on the street. It would be great if people could have this interaction with real products and get an idea of size and quality before they buy them.
How did you promote the store?
We did some activation on social media, in blogs, PR - we notice that a lot of people have discovered us through Instagram, so we worked with Instagram influencers that reposted our pictures and tagged us, which also helped drive our followers.
What do you aim to achieve through this pop-up shop?
We are an online business and we see this as an extension of customer experience, a possibility to see the product before purchasing it. It is also a discovery channel for new customers who would not have found us online. Having a physical location helps us to better communicate the brand values and tell the customers the story of the brand and what it’s all about - something that is hard to do if you’re working with Department Stores. We see that people who come into the store are interested to learn the story of the brand, they are engaging with it and readily give feedback. And we also want to show that we are ready to do things differently, that you don’t to have to be solely online if you’re an online brand.
And finally… what’s your next big challenge?
Firstly we want to expand the collection. We try to constantly improve our products instead of introducing new styles. We are planning to push a few more products into production soon. And another is of course having more physical shopping experiences, as an extension of our online shop - that is one of our main goals for 2015.
Oppermann will be appearing in 67 Redchurch Street until the 1st of March