The road has not always been an easy one for Peter and Christopher of Meadow but their hard work has certainly paid off. We've been working with the seven year old boutique based in Malmö, Sweden for a couple of years now and have thoroughly enjoyed getting to know them in the process. Although Meadow is stationed in a smaller city, their online presence and strong visuals have earned them fans across Europe (and the world). In this month's Retailer Spotlight, we take some time to chat with Peter about some of the lessons they've learned along the way.
Meadow opened its doors during a tough time for the Swedish economy; on top of this, you were both quite young when you decided to start the shop. Tell us about some of the struggles you faced early on.
The first hard thing was to find the customers and get the cashflow running. We didn’t have any experience in the industry besides Christopher working in a clothing store in Copenhagen for a year and me (Peter) studying fashion design for two years in Malmö. And as you mentioned we were only 21 and 22 years old when we opened up. We experienced, pretty fast, that you just couldn’t open up and wait for the customers to come. It’s still an ongoing progress to get new customers while trying to keep our old ones. You will have to continue to evolve the store so that your regular customers find it interesting to come back to the store. That’s a big challenge.
Other typical difficulties in the beginning was to find the right vibe and brands for our store. We were kind of wide in our selection in the beginning and the whole heritage/biker/denim/outdoor-fashion wasn’t as nearly as big 7 years ago as it is today. But we soon understood what we and our customers wanted so we sized it down and are still working with a lot of the brands today as we did in the beginning. For example Indigofera, Red Wing, Edwin and so on.
I guess we made a whole lot of mistakes in the beginning, and we still do. Not as often though. I guess it would've been better to have a couple of years in the industry before opening up but you’ve got to learn somehow and we really wanted to open up a store.
How has the Meadow customer changed since you first opened?
The Meadow customer has evolved quite a lot since we opened. Customers are more interested nowadays, and it’s easier to get good stuff. Almost all good stores have web shops and cheap shipping. This makes people more picky with what they want. Again, that’s a huge challenge. To bring good selections to the store so that the interested regulars can come by, and at the same time have stuff for ”first-timers.” Sometimes customers know more than we do about new brands and things that happen. I like that. It makes you stay sharp. For a couple of years ago I think customers trusted the retail shops more; a customer could walk into their favorite store and buy the stuff the staff picked out for them. Nowadays they want to mix and match more and set up their own style.
Often it starts with a customer coming by for a pair of good jeans and after that he’s kind of hooked and comes back for a pair of Red Wings. After that, they tend to come by the store now and then to look at new stuff.
From left to right: Christopher, Peter, Apostolos.
After a brief hiatus, we’re happy to see that the Grumpy Greek - Apostolos - has made his return to the Meadow website. For those who don’t know about the most intimidating fit model on the internet, can you share a bit more about who he is and how you met?
We met the Grumpy Greek quite soon after we opened up. He liked the store and we started to chat and became friends pretty fast. He works as a middle-school teacher here in Malmö, which often shocks people because of his looks, I guess. Even though he looks kind of bad-ass he’s really kind, friendly and a lot of fun to be around. He actually had a clothing store in Malmö way back; I think they sold pretty good stuff, like old-school Schott jackets and old French workwear brands. I think he’s one of the most stylish people I have met and he puts more effort behind his style than I think he would admit. He’s got some kind of weird relationship to clothes. He pays 600 Euros for a pair of boots and the first thing he does is to wash them in 90 degrees celsius and tumble dry them for one hour. Or buy a rigid Loco-jacket, dye it black and cut of the arm and collar. I guess he knows what he's doing though, because it always turns out really cool.
Malmo is only an hour away from Copenhagen. How would you compare your hometown’s retail environment to Copenhagen's?
I would say that there is quite a big difference between Copenhagen and Malmö. Malmö is a small town whilst Copenhagen is a big European city. In Malmö we only have a few privately owned mens shops and in Copenhagen there’s plenty. The general style between Malmö and Copenhagen is also different. The Copenhagen style is more street/sneaker-oriented whilst the Swedish style is more dressed. If you compare Malmö with Stockholm for example, Malmö is more influenced by Copenhagen.
What are some of your favorite small businesses in your area that you like to support?
We have experienced a big boom of restaurants here in Malmö and there are a lot of good ones at the moment. I would have to say that a personal favorite is Bastard - a must visit if you’re in Malmö. We also always pay a visit to our local coffee joint: Coffeemaniac, owned by Danish woman named Mette. Supernice staff, great hang out vibe and really good coffee. Overall, I would say that Malmö is growing really fast with new bars and restaurants popping up and also our friends and neighbors over at Tres Bien opening a store next to us. A prospering city in general.