With the general trend of online winning, and physical retail struggling, it might seem odd for a small eTailer to decide to take on the risk — and physical overhead costs —associated with actually setting up shop in the real world.
But this is exactly what Minted, an online shop for custom paper goods, has decided to do, and in the pricey Union Square neighborhood of San Francisco to boot.
Minted is at base a marketplace specifically focused on crowdsourced stationery, art and home decor from independent artists, which has just opened its first brick-and-mortar store.
“Our crowdsourcing process — sourcing from independent artists and allowing people to vote to tell us what to sell — allows us to surface the best, freshest, and most unique art and design in the world,” said Mariam Naficy, founder & CEO of Minted. “Now, we bring our consumers closer to these works and the process of creating them with quality.”
The store is not a permanent feature, but more a test drive in the form of a pop-up store in San Francisco’s Union Square shopping district. The focus will be "Minted Local" and it will be open through October 2016. As the name implies, the collection will showcase the work of California artists, including original art and one-of-a-kind decorative items for the first time in Minted’s history.
The store, apart from housing the goods, will give consumers a chance to meet with the artists, attend workshops and set up styling services with an appointment. There are also interactive crafts available, mostly for younger patrons whose parents are shopping.
The store will also feature a performative aspect. A hand-operated letterpress is installed in the front window of Minted Local to allow passersby to watch the centuries-old craft. That press will be used to offer shoppers and their children a complimentary custom art print letterpressed with their name.