As of Thursday, November 14, 2019
Forum, a tech-enabled bricks-and-mortar boutique, officially opened Nov. 15 across the street from the Melrose Place designer district in West Hollywood, Calif.
Located at 8406 Melrose Ave., Forum is the first fashion-and-lifestyle boutique produced by b8ta, an experiential retailer with offices in San Francisco and New York City. The boutique gives bricks-and-mortar space to direct-to-consumer brands. The shop’s focus also offers a tech-world point of view with a retail-as-a-service model, said Joshua Adam Brueckner, Forum’s partnerships manager.
“In a world where retail is supposedly dying, we’re supplying an opportunity for brands to enter retail and be successful,” Brueckner said. “We work with brands to put their goods on display and educate consumers about their product.”
Brands participating in Forum’s merchandise mix include ALALA, BootayBag, CFDA, Devialet, FVITH, Hærfest, Lark & Berry, THEY New York, W-Co, Just Human, Remu Apparel, Tact & Stone, The Laundress, Unemployed Denim and All Mies.
Forum also provides analytics for brands. Store cameras can provide information on how much time consumers spend at a display and the specific items they viewed. Brands pay a monthly placement fee to Forum but are responsible for their own inventory management. In turn, Forum offers back-office management.
Power over how goods are displayed at Forum convinced Walmir Luz, co-founder of timepiece brand All Mies, to participate in Forum. “We’re here with other brands telling our own story,” he said.
Forum’s parent company is on the move. It operates 20 b8ta stores across the U.S. These stores sell tech brands in a retail-as-a-service style. In July, it announced a joint venture with Tru Kids brands to open two Kids R Us stores. The national toy-store chain closed in 2018. On Oct. 31, b8ta announced that it closed a $50 million series C round of funding and launched Ark Marketplace, a retail-as-a-service technology platform. The platform allows retailers and retail landlords to operate their own retail-as-a-service concept.