Amazon Prime, Colette, the internet, and the art of the "french exit."
First off – I want to thank Sarah Colette for creating a store (an era?!) that gave all the kids with the newest, weirdest, freshest, riskiest, and most-abstract ideas a launching pad with Colette. The creative world is, without question, a better place because of her hands-on approach to curation, her eye, and her willingness to help. Thanks for carrying all my friends stuff and thanks for that one time you paid like $350 in shipping costs to have 2 cases of Boxed Water shipped 2-day express to Paris for placement at the Colette Water Bar. That meant so, so much to me. Thank you Sarah...can't wait to see what you do next.
So whats next? Funny, I was just sitting yesterday talking with a close friend of mine, MJ who is part owner in my favorite clothing shop here in Chicago – Notre, about what the future of retail looks like. That exact conversation is being had by lots of retailers right now... 6-7 weeks ago I was having the same convo with him telling him that I don't think Amazon's taste level or broadness will ever disrupt Notre's intense attention to detail and curation. I still don't think Amazon specifically will...but after launching my latest, very tiny, BENJAMIN EDGAR collection and embarrassingly running into an issue that made some of the orders 7-14 days late (sorry!) on shipping...I kind of thought to myself: "why didn't I just forward-position this stuff with Amazon and let people order it using Prime???" Then I thought about it in the context of the much larger business that is Notre. I still want to touch fabrics, I still want to experience a space, a feeling, curation, etc...but if Amazon is already able to get me a new Cuisinart pan, a tube of toothpaste, a phone charger, etc to my apartment in Chicago in under 2 hours...why wouldn't I want that convenience for a new APC Louis W bomber jacket, or pair of Nikes that today I can only get in boutiques? How will that look and feel? What will be lost in the experience? What will be gained?! This, again, isn't new thinking...but Colette announcing its closing makes all of it feel a bit more real, yeah? If anyone was untouchable in the retail space it was them. Perhaps they're calling it earlier than everyone else. And shoutout to Sarah for doing that, being like: "It's done." Such a perfect French exit after an incredibly good run.
I don't at all think retail is done...but if the internet does anything, it changes things in insanely dramatic ways and almost always for the better. It's going to look different. If they can ship something to me in 2 hours now...it'll be 2 minutes in 2-3 years - history has shown this time and time again. There's always two sides after the shake-up: the people who saw around the corner, took a risk, and changed dramatically...and the people who thought their mountain was immovable.