FEATURE 27Selling the experience of shopping Creation of added value, embodied by Ron Herman
The California born specialty store “Ron Herman” first landed in Japan in 2009. Since its founding, while keeping in mind the concept of creating a shopping experience for all customers to enjoy comfortably, the relationship with DESCENDANT started from the first collection in 2015 and is now the only partner to develop exclusive lines, deepening their mutual relationship. We invited Ron Herman's men's director Yasuhiro Suzuki as a guest to speak about the origin of Ron Herman and the connection with DESCENDANT.
About Ron Herman
“Ron Herman's most important focus is its stores. Rather than selling clothes, we intend to sell the experience of shopping at Ron Herman, the staff's smiles, the atmosphere, the smells, and the music. It is essential for us to create space that makes our customers happy when they visit. We may be a little different from general apparel shops. Even when displaying the products, a typical select shop will usually display items by brand. However, at Ron Herman, we try to assemble and arrange different branded items and present them to our customers. We are committed to suggesting the standard of Ron Herman.
Ron Herman offers a wide selection of brands, from luxury to casual. We aim to be the store that first comes to mind for those who have experienced various fashion trends throughout their years. Therefore, it is our style to offer multiple brand standards. Ron Herman's ideal is that the atmosphere can be changed depending on the wearer. That's why we tend to buy and offer mainly essential and straightforward items from the brands.
Moreover, we often limit the items bought, and sometimes the brands are not happy with us (laughs). We believe that each item plays a part when compiled, and that's what Ron Herman is. Each brand has their strengths and weaknesses, so if I don't see pants within a collection worth buying, I don't necessarily contemplate and consider the setup. If there aren't any pants worth purchasing, I'm okay with not offering pants at the store for that season. But at the roots, there is a California tradition, which means we must offer various denim jeans. Even when other stores were struggling to sell jeans, we were doing great at Ron Herman. I believe our quality is high.”
“I heard that Mr. Nishiyama, who directs WTAPS and FORTY PERCENT AGAINST RIGHTS, would be launching a new brand, and so went to see the collection immediately. As expected, it's such a great brand. We usually don't buy men's brands' on its first season, but I was convinced and had no doubts about DESCENDANT, so we began purchasing the brand from the first season's collection, which is quite unusual. We didn't even limit the item selections but instead included everything. That's how much trust and confidence invested in the brand. We also share the same standards that we very much cherish. Until this point, I had determined to only buy standard items from brands, but no matter what I wore from DESCENDANT, it gave me a great sense of security. When you say basic, it tends to translate as normal or ordinary, but I felt that they understand the essence of what it means to be a standard.
When we create exclusive items, we often request what we want. In the sense of understanding and borrowing the brand's power to be a partner, that's how we make the items that suit Ron Herman's customers. However, in the case of DESCENDANT, we have nothing to worry about, and it is the only brand we don't need to place specific requests. Whatever Mr.Nishiyama creates, I know they are already suitable for Ron Herman to be sold at the store.
We decided to hold a pop-up event when we launch exclusive items. The first time was in 2017, and we used Ron Herman SENDAGAYA store's parking lot as the venue. The event was full of contents that Mr. Nishiyama had suggested, such as quoits, lottery, and other activities. Many families visited, and everyone was smiling and having a great time! At this time, we realized we were able to do what we wanted to, and ever since, the event has been held every year, for the past three years in a row, on the first day of Golden Week. The location changes, from Ron Herman ZUSHI MARINA to Ron Herman FUTAKOTAMAGAWA. Unfortunately, we were unable to conduct one this year.
For the first event, we were concerned if we would complete the preparation until the day of the event. It was our first event and was such a learning experience.
It has been 10 years since joining the company, and if I were asked what the most memorable thing has been up until this point, I would have to say the events with DESCENDANT. No event has ever been able to embody the concept of Ron Herman so much. It has been the most valuable experience.
What is suggesting
the lifestyle? “It is easy to say it's a lifestyle store, but I think it's difficult to say that everything that is offered is nice. I don't think many can accomplish this. Although each person on the floor is in charge of a specific section, they all share an understanding and unity in promoting the policies of Ron Herman. Therefore, it is a characteristic of Ron Herman to create a space that brings many customers with families and allows their children to play while they are shopping for the kids' clothing. At the SENDAGAYA store, we have a kids drawing table, in the living section the store, and when I look at the drawings that the children have created, I think and feel, what a great store.”
Please contact the stores directly for exclusive items.