Philipp Plein announces plans to open 300 Plein Sport stores
Present at the High Point furniture show in North Carolina, German entrepreneur Philipp Plein presented his new collection of interior design in partnership with Eichholtz, a business-to-business wholesaler of luxury furniture. An opportunity for Plein to unveil his new projects, including the opening of 300 Plein Sport stores, the upcoming inauguration of a hotel in Milan, the organization of a show in Paris in November, and an upcoming fashion show in New York.
FashionNetwork: You are unveiling today an interior design collection, a new market segment for you?
Philipp Plein: I started my career as a furniture designer. I was destined to become a lawyer but I started to design dog beds in 1998, a time when all the industry of luxury started to focus on animals and pets. We started with carry-on bags and developed furnitures and accessories. My products were too expensive to fit in most pet stores. After a year and a half, I realized that I had to go into interior design, selling to interior designers who could sell to their clients. I developed a complete collection. It became a small business and then we started doing trade shows and selling. 20 years later, we are back in design.
FNW: You signed a license with Eiccholtz, one of the biggest distributors of luxury furniture. Why did you choose them?
PP: I've spent a lot of time in the last few months designing the future interiors of my homes, like the new one I'm building in Los Angeles. I realized that designing fashion and interior design are not so far away from each other. It's all about creating things and making a dream come true. Biggest luxury is to make your ideas come true. We are specialist of a niche market and I want to create special items that you can not find everywhere. I have known Eichholtz for 15 years. They have a history. They are very dynamic in terms of production and distribution, have all the pieces in stock. Our collection of 140 pieces is already available in their stocks in Europe and the US. They were the best partners in this new adventure.
FNW: In addition to the 105 stores, you are about to launch a huge project around Plein Sport brand.
PP: Plein Sport is one of my biggest projects. The sport market is led by 5 brands. Nike and Adidas make 70 millions together. But now sport is more democratic, it's for everybody. So, we want to enter into this market and have to compete with this huge monsters. It's a very exciting project. It's absolutely not a second line. We have different logos. We only have vegan products. And I'm sure I'm going to make a big evolution in the retail sport world by opening 300 Plein Sport stores in the next 3 years.
FNW: What will these 300 Plein Sport stores look like?
PP: We are going to propose a concept of self-service to our customers. People like Starbucks, people like Ikea. A new generation of stores is being created, with fewer salespeople, and more direct self-service sales. It will be small stores but a lot of stores. The first 10 stores will open in Europe between January and February as proto and we'll keep on opening every month 5 to 10 stores.
FNW: No new investors in this project?
PP: We are 100% self-financed. We are a family company, me, my kids and all workers who work with them. We are proud to change the play of this league of huge monsters. There is not a lot of independant brands in our world, we are kind of dinosaurs and we are proud of it.
FNW: You are also multiplying product licenses, with the recent launch of a fragrance.
PP: We are indeed strengthening our licensing strategy with the golf wear license in South Korea and the opening of 10 dedicated stores. We recently launched a watch license with Timex and will be launching our women's fragrance in Beverly Hills on October 27, at the Rodeo Drive store and then at my new property.
FNW: How important is the US market for you?
PP: After a last show in Milan, we are returning to New York. We also just signed a new lease for a boutique in Soho, after having been there before Covid. We believe in America because America believes in us. We will hit $40 million dollars in sales in the American market at the end of the year. It's a strong market for us, with big hopes of development. We are also very present in Las Vegas with three stores and have just opened in Aventura, in the Miami metropolis. Other markets will open up, such as Brazil and Rio.
FNW: Will you also be present in Paris at the end of November for a new show?
PP: We will indeed present our first Fall/Winter 2023 pre-collection at the Crillon Hotel. A first step for us and a good test.
FNW: Another project with the opening of your first hotel in 2023.
PP: Our brand is all about party and having fun. It's what you do when you come to my fashion show. We love entertaining. Doing this hotel project is very exciting. It will include a restaurant, a nightclub, a small shop where you can buy candies, sex toys and a pool on the roof with cabanas. We want to bring fun. And such a place doesn't exist in Milano.
FNW: Philipp Plein, you are present everywhere, even on the NTF and cryptocurrency market, do you really believe in it, despite the recent market downturn?
PP: I like everything which is different. I have always been treated like an underdog, so I have sympathy for people who are not "everybody's done". I was the first fashion brand to accept crypto, last year. We opened our first crypto concept-store. It's a long term investment. There are users and abusers but we believe in it.
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