Attire Accessories - May/Jun 2018 (Issue 70)

ATTIRE 93 RETAILER INTERVIEW GIRL POWER Rio Holland, co-founder of footwear retailer Pam Pam London, discusses how the company’s female-focused selling angle has made the store a hit amongst independent and major brands alike Tell me about your background in footwear before Pam Pam London was launched. Both Bethany, my co-founder, and I have had previous experience selling men’s trainers at different menswear stores. We had both worked with the major sneaker brands prior to opening Pam Pam so it wasn’t new for us. I have worked in footwear on and off for more than 15 years and have been wearing sneakers for as long as I can remember! I always found it frustrating when I couldn’t find what I liked in my size, usually because it was always from the men’s selection.This was one of the reasons that made me start thinking about starting a women’s specific sneaker store a long time ago. Why did you decide to launch the business? We found there was definitely a gap in the market when it came to beautifully curated stores for women. Particularly with sneakers – we were the first women’s only sneaker store for the UK, which is still nuts to think about! Having both worked in menswear separately and together in recent years, we have both found women want a similar offering to what is available for men. We also wanted to create a space in which we would like to shop ourselves, with great well-known and independent brands in the same beautiful, relaxed space. We find an abundance of these kinds of stores for men, but not specifically for women. What challenges were overcome when the company was starting out? We were extremely lucky not to have any major challenges at the beginning. From the time of discussing the idea of starting Pam Pam to the date the doors opened was less than six months apart. We wrote a business plan, approached brands and found a space in next to no time. Looking back on it now, it all came together so seamlessly making it a really excellent example of ‘right time, right place’. All the major sneaker brands were really encouraged about the idea of having a women’s specific door to tout their product as they were all on a mission to really push exclusively female product. We had arrived just in time to support the idea that women’s sneakers mattered and that there was a market out there for it. Because we landed the majority of the major sneaker brands from day one, clothing and accessories labels followed suit quite quickly as it was a new and exciting concept. Having such a strong brand family from day one made the process so much easier! How are you different to similar competitors in the industry? The major differences with shopping at Pam Pam is the environment in which you shop, the level of service you receive and the exclusivity of a lot of the product. We often receive comments from customers who really enjoy their in-store experience because the space presented is calm, organised and specifically curated. We believe the space you surround yourself in is very important and can affect your mood. We have all been in that situation where we are in a shop that is manic, the music explosive, fellow customers unaware of spatial boundaries, and staff that would just rather be at home. We wanted to create an elegant, mature environment, beautifully furnished and minimal to allow the product and the space to speak for itself. We spent a lot of time planning and designing the space and all the furniture and fixtures ourselves – sourcing local craftsmen to work with. How did you decide on the concept of the shop? The idea for the concept and layout came quite naturally. Bethany and I are lucky to have similar tastes so we just figured out exactly what kind of a space we would enjoy shopping, and working, in ourselves. When we buy product, we think about the things we would personally want to wear. It makes the experience of selling more genuine when you know it’s a product you would wear/own yourself. We always wanted the in-store and online environment to be