How Luxury Label Harputs Is Winning Customers With A Hotel Pop-Up

When it comes to more expensive goods, offline experiences are key.

We’ve all heard the Warby Parker narrative: Popular e-tailer builds a fan base through online sales, and then opens physical stores to great success — success that, in turn, boosts both online and offline sales.

For San Francisco-based luxury label Harputs, the path has been a bit different.

“In the way of luxury, higher end merchandise, if you’re selling a jacket for $650, it doesn’t sell online,” said Gus Harput, the label’s founder. “If you don’t see how luxurious and delicious the fabric is, it’s not going to sell. People go online to buy additional versions of what they already have; maybe they have a gray coat and say, ‘Oh, you’re making it in black? I’ll order that.’ That’s how it works for me. Return customers [are who we service] online.”

So what’s the happy medium for a small brand with an active digital presence — but merchandise that seems to necessitate a physical experience for a first-time customer? Pop-up shops, of course.

Pop-Up, Drop In

Harputs has a store and showroom in the upscale Union Square neighborhood in San Francisco, near neighbors with names like Prada and Bottega Veneta. But Harput explained that pop-up shops — of which the brand has run multiple over the past few years — are a key way to facilitate discovery and provide customers with a physical experience without overextending the retail footprint.

Most recently, Harputs debuted a pop-up in the Clift Hotel in San Francisco.

“We’re exposing ourselves to a worldwide audience that’s at the level that we’re looking for, the design and the traveling people,” Harput said. “That’s why our hotel pop-ups are very successful.”

It’s an interesting marriage: hospitality and upscale retail. But even if hotel guests are traveling light and choose not to pack, say, a Harputs’ dress in their carry-ons, Harput still achieves his goal of exposing new customers to the label in person — thus making them more likely to be future shoppers online.

And, with the potential to tout the pop-up through a hotel’s signage and social media accounts in addition to a brand’s own, the discovery benefit’s of running this type of pop-up are significant — and it’s likely that more retailers may look to follow Harputs’ example in the months to come.

About The Author
Lauryn Chamberlain Lauryn Chamberlain @laurynchamberla

Lauryn Chamberlain is the Associate Editor of A New York City based journalist, she specializes in stories related to retail, dining, hospitality, and travel.