Alexander von Keyserlingk

Alexander's expertise is based on 25+ years of operational retail management and consulting for fashion & lifestyle brands. His specialty is the translation of great brands into unique store concepts. He’s a keynote speaker, founder and editor of the Slowretail Blog, and occasional guest lecturer at the Academy of Fashion and Design in Germany.

The Paul Smith Store in Berlin

Paul Smith has just opened his first Berlin store, and it wouldn’t be Paul Smith (or Berlin) if the store and its location were just ordinary.

Sir Paul Smith is a British designer of extraordinary fashion for men, women, children, and accessories. He has been for some 40 years, and in various collaborations he designs pretty much anything that can be designed. In an interview, he recently described himself as a ‘strange designer’. A few weeks ago, he opened his first small but nonetheless great Paul Smith store in Berlin. (more…)

Offline Retail: Get Out of the Comfort Zone!

An open letter to all offline retailers on how to attract new customers in the face of online competition (if you’re not too tired for a pillow fight).

It’s a sunny afternoon and I’m on a business trip somewhere in Bavaria. As the phone rings, a local German radio station wants a short interview. ‘Tomorrow is the Day of Online Shopping …’, they say. ‘Did you proclaim it?’ I ask.  ‘No, it is a conference in Berlin. We want to report on it and would like to get a statement from you on what e-commerce means for physical retailers and how they can attract new customers’, explains the editor, and we arrange a second call later that day.


Art Sells!

To store and offer goods is no longer the main task of stores. Innovative retailers need to reinvent themselves – and for some, that’s like curating an art gallery.

While online shopping is growing and retailers mutate into logistics experts, the question of sense or nonsense of brick and mortar stores remains pending. Some innovative retailers respond by regularly questioning their own perceptions. They have realized that, to many people, high streets have become sources of inspiration rather than just stockrooms to satisfy their needs.


Suitsupply – Achieving Brand Growth Through Courage, Innovation and Passion

The young Dutch brand for formal men’s wear wins globally by combining European tailoring culture with modern lifestyle. A fan report.

Yes, I am a fan of Suitsupply. When I started my career in the late 1980’s, I had the privilege to work as a creative buyer with a traditional, high class German menswear retailer in Berlin. As a result, I am now ruined for ever with regard to my quality requirements when it comes to suits and accessories. I believe the Italians and the English manufactories, who traditionally tailor their suits, using the finest local fabrics, are the best. Naturally they are unaffordable for most customers, therefore maintaining an air of elitism.


Now Open: The Trump Retail Store

Donald Trump is a seller. After his career in real estate, he is now taking the next step by opening his own Trump Retail store today – as a pop-up.

The address could hardly be more famous: 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, Washington D.C., USA. Admittedly, the White House is not known as a classic high street spot for commercial retail. But Mr. Trump has often enough proved he has a feeling for locations with potential. His next brand growth project, the Trump Retail concept as a pop-up format, partly reinvents former shopping rules:
No shop windows, no footfall through the building for some protective reason, therefore no conversion at the no tills inside. The receipts for the sold products in Trump Retail will be presented to customers in a more diverse, sophisticated and sustainable way. (more…)

Engelbert Strauss: A Family Turns Workwear Retail Into Lifestyle

A German former mailorder company develops itself from a multibrand dealer to an omnichannel lifestyle brand – in workwear retail.

This post is about Brand Growth Inspiration, driven by a traditional family business. It’s about the Strauß family, based in a little village called Biebergemünd in central Germany, 50 km east of Frankfurt. Established in 1948 by founder Engelbert Strauß, the company of the same name today is still led independently by second and third generation members of the family. The company’s growth within the last ten years shows that a rather conservative and non-urban background can actually be a fruitful basis for remarkable innovation in branding and retail. Especially when based on traditional family values like quality, reliability and predictability.  (more…)

Six Insider Retail Spots for Brand Expansion in Germany

For store expansion in Germany, international brands can find smart alternatives to mainstream areas and worn-out pavements. Here are six examples.

The decision making process for retailers in lifestyle markets – specifically about where to open the next store – is often quite generic. If your role gives you the responsibility for the brand’s retail expansion in Germany and you are somewhat unfamiliar with the specific market, you’d probably open Google Maps, zoom in on your city of choice and look for pins of your brand’s competitors. Then you’d call a local real estate broker and ‘book’ a location nearby – in some cases no matter what the cost. Or maybe you’d even be open to invest a fortune from the key-money account (that’s what it’s for after all) and take the throne from the reigning brand monarch. (more…)

The Slowear Brand Experience

Slowear is a brand of four traditional Italian apparel manufacturers who are expanding globally, providing a unique store concept to their customers.

The fashion industry today is roughly comparable to a pot of alphabet soup: masses of letters (products) are floating around in artificial liquids (brands). They look equal and taste similar, but without having a genuine approach that displays diversity; the products are produced in soulless factories to service a hungry market. But fortunately there are exceptions, such as Slowear. (more…)