The company behind streetwear web shop urbanexcess.com started in 2005 as a hats side project. The first store called Article. opened in 2012. By now Phil Stace, founder and managing director, runs two Article. stores in London (Spitalfields and Brixton) and two web shops: urbanexcess.com is predominantly sports and streetwear and article-london.com focuses on premium contemporary menswear and homeware.
We talked to Phil Stace about the concept and future plans.
In one sentence: what is Urban Excess all about?
Accessible timeless clothing and homeware for the contemporary consumer.
How does your retail concept differ from others?
We like to be playful with our shop fits and also our collections, in Brixton we have a sculpture and a light installation that resembles a DNA double helix and in Spitalfields we have revolving art installations.
What are the current bestsellers of your store and why?
The brands that our customers know and love are those with a quality product, real heritage and an ethical outlook Carhartt, Patagonia and Norse Projects are all producing great product right now.
What has changed in the behavior of your customers in the last years?
There has been a shift to online for certain categories of products, accessories notably and generally they are much more informed about brands and their story and not to mention price savy.
How do you communicate with your customers?
Our favourite way is by having a good old fashioned chat! But for those that don’t live in London we love Instagram and the odd email.
How do you inform yourself about trends?
We look for inspiration from a wide range of sources in addition to the obvious digital channels, including travel, specialist vintage stores, movies and just everyday life in London.
Do trade shows play a role for you?
The original format appears to be a bit of dying breed, the cost is quite prohibitive for start up brands so they don’t tend to be the best place to look for emerging talent any longer.
What do the collections you offer for next spring/summer look like? And what are the most important trends, in general?
I hope that customers are ready for a flouro psydelic take over for Spring/Summer ‘20.
Have you added any new labels to your assortment? If so, which ones and why?
For the current autumn/winter season we have added Nigel Cabourn because they make the most amazing military and workwear inspired garments.
Are brick and mortar spaces only marketing tools or actually valuable points of sales?
We view bricks and mortar just as important as online, right now the physical store market is currently 4-5 times the size of the online market in the UK. But as you highlighted the store is a fantastic marketing tool for online.
What’s the biggest problem for multi brand retail right now? And how do you fight it?
There is a direct to consumer trend with sports and streetwear brands right now. The answer...working with like minded brands that have a credible story and product that you enjoy working with.
What are your plans for the future?
An international store maybe!