My son and I recently went to London. He primarily wanted to go to skater shops, which we aren’t really down with in Copenhagen. On the very day of our arrival, the skater brand, Supreme, had made a drop, which my son had to get his hands on. Maybe I did too a little bit. Anyway. We found the shop in a small alley. Nothing fancy and definitely not very commercial in terms of signage. The queue, however, a mile long, and we politely lined up behind the other enthusiasts.
Like sheep, we stood there, while a huge bearded man yelled for us to stay on the yellow line and warned us not to take photographs. Quite unpleasant, come to think of it. A bit like being reprimanded for slouching in kindergarten. But at the time, we had a feeling of “Waaau! We’re actually here. At the Supreme shop, man…” I was one of them – a Bro :)
A few hours later, all pieces in the new collection were sold out, despite the one-item-per-customer policy. We got a hoodie and a hat, and my son almost peed himself when they generously through in some free stickers. When we finally came out of the store, he sombrely warned me not to throw away the branded bag. Or crease it.
What’s the trick?
What is Supreme’s trick? They have a lousy webshop. Service sucks, and the products are kind of mediocre and almost always sold out. I’ve never seen any marketing, and as far as I know, they’ve never done anything to engage their customers. Yet they somehow manage keep their customers for decades and recruit new generations, who find them – like newly hatched sea-turtles find the ocean.
They are simply THERE! That’s their trick. They are out there on the ramp, where the users are – along with all the pro-skaters, who of course already got a piece of the latest drop. The shops are manned by skaters, who are obviously better at skating than customer service. But they are authentic, full of integrity and a courage their target group identifies with. Daredevils, fearless of scratches and broken limps. Sticking to what you believe in is also courage. Not trying to expand your target group or selling out to sell more. And playing hard to get is also known to have a certain effect…
Most of us would be in awe to find our logo portrayed in a fancy magazine on a hoodie worn by Justin Bieber or Rihanna. Even if we’d paid for it. Rumour has it, that Thrasher (another skater brand) has actually asked Bieber and Rihanna to quit wearing their clothes. Of course, I smell a rat, but nevertheless… It’s far more effective and authentic than what we usually see.
And I must admire a brand, who can actually sell their used stickers on Ebay.