Converse Relationship: Clever Footwork to Customer Loyalty

As part of VM-unleashed’s 10th anniversary year we take a look back at some retail milestones from the last decade and explain why each store’s message is as relevant for us today as it was then. Converse flagship store, New York City “Converse know who they are! The key to brand success in 2013 is the commercial and emotional maximisation of the brand personality. Converse is the best example of taking an iconic product and bringing it to life through celebration of the classics, adaptation to new trends, celebrity, cultural and creative endorsement and collaboration and personalisation for customer empowerment.…

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Toms “One-for-One” Love: Fashionable Philanthropy

Invention may be born from necessity but inspiration and originality comes from the addition of a commercial heart. In the rarefied atmosphere of true originality there are few names to pollute the pure air of brands such as Toms selling products to improve the world with every purchase.   Its new stores are not only presenting a collection of clothing, footwear and accessories, or even the newly introduced coffee shop corners, but an ongoing story of philanthropy where every ring of the cash register is music to the ears of millions of the worlds more needy inhabitants. The original idea…

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Hunter Gatherer: More than Just a Rainy Day

A perennial problem for any noteworthy brand with a reputation built on an icon is the development of a wider commercial proposition away from the sanctuary of its established safe-haven.   Hunter rules the rainy roost for premium Wellington boot buyers and is currently circumnavigating the choppy waters of expansion developing an assortment for the wider world of inclement conditions, encompassing everything from jackets and jumpers to a full range of rugged and resilient rainwear. Its new store concept, as illustrated by London’s Regent Street, is not only intent on evoking the atmosphere of the outdoor world as a setting…

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Irregular Heartbeat: The Life & Soul of Footwear



In the heart of Carnaby Street, at the centre of Soho is a footwear store that embodies and embraces the entrepreneurial spirit and ethos of excitement of the area like no other.

Irregular Choice will set the pulse racing of anyone on the prowl for individual and exciting footwear. 600 footwear ideas a year come from the creative mind of Dan Sullivan the inspiration and energy behind the brand.

The store embraces this individuality and breaks away from the blandness and banality of many footwear retailers, as sequined walls, iconic graphics, bold prints and patterned places create the perfect setting for ones mans vision of what fashion footwear should be.

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Try this for size!: “One Small step…Cool Haan”



Classic New York Footwear Retailer Cole Haan bursts through the time-warp bubble with a cool as you like New Store concept in Smooth Soho.


Iconic imagery creates dramatic wall impact communicating the brands origins, whilst a stylised Subway Map adopts a tube line for each of Col Haan’s hero shoe designs. Low volume for high impact.

Clear the Classic Clutter for Style Stories that Stride the Decades.


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Deichmann Shoe Machine: Running like Brickwork

Saving soles in a sea of shoeboxes, value footwear retailer Deichmann has arrived at a smart solution making self-service shoe buying both visually calming and commercially successful.



Boxing clever and boxing bold Deichmann works with its suppliers, brands and manufacturers to a colour palette that allows a brickwall of boxes to segment the assortment.

Yellow for ladies, blue for boys, reinforces for the not so well at heeled the basic segmentation whilst even the likes of Nike & Adidas conform like foot soldiers, regimented in space for clarity of brand offer.

Against this authority, styles and sellers above the norm, literally and laterally stand out in splendid isolation, no longer just another brick in the wall, but prominent on their cardboard plinths.

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Sometimes simplicity can be the answer to a complicated collective puzzle, and this cost-effective solution shows a little lateral thinking can go a long way for less on a shoestring budget.


Take a tour of Sports Direct’s Brand Powerhouse

Sports Direct’ the discount sports brand retailer has big stores already but the new Oxford Street flagship is a three floor testament to sporting testosterone celebrating every activity from fitness and training, through to trekking and fishing with a sizeable assortment of fashion thrown in for good measure.




Sports Brands: Go Direct to Oxford Street

Sweet music for sports brand fans in the site of the old HMV on Oxford Street as Sports Direct opens its new flagship store.



The discount sports brand retailer has big stores already but this three floor testament to sporting testosterone celebrates every activity from fitness and training, through to trecking and fishing with a sizeable assortment of fashion thrown in for good measure.

On its home turf of sportswear and performance footwear, a resounding victory can be anticipated as the familiar discount prices are supplemented with powerful brand statements, physically from floor to ceiling, and emotionally cementing brand presence and authority from Adidas to Nike, from Lonsdale to Reebok, from Everlast to Slazenger.

Every statement is large and dominant;  football replica kits paint walls with familiar colours and motifs, categories of caps as far as the eye can see and a department for bags and luggage that stretches to any destination.

Perhaps even more impressive is the retailer’s away form, fielding appropriately a new, expanded and spectacular outdoors assortment, with Karrimor the star of the show from footwear to fleeces, supported admirably with everything from fishing rods to camouflage suits, and the decisive move into casual fashion with a dedicated denim department, Pulp t-shirts, fashion footwear brands and a surprise re-appearance of the SoulCal fashion brand.


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With a background team well on the ball and sporting services such as shirt and footwear customisation, this familiar face will be sending shockwaves through the sporting establishment.

Adi-Dazzler: Walking the Road to World Cup Victory

Germany’s World Cup in every sense. The national team won the trophy, whilst the country’s famous sportswear brand Adidas, swept the manufacturers board with both finalists and the winners of the golden boot and the golden ball.



The clean sweep was reward for a brand that has a proud history of making specialist footwear for its very special sportsmen & sportswomen.  Its landmarks are best told through its products and a visit to your local Adidas store may well yield a unique representation, a calendar of champions who spoke with their actions and not with their words.

The role of Adidas honour includes erstwhile pioneers of sporting achievement from Jesse Owens to Dick Fosbury, from Mohammad Ali to Bob Beamon, and a couple of nods of acknowledgement to the worlds of ice skating and hiking from the 1930s that belonged to a certain Mr Dassler. Adi Dassler, pioneer of modern sports footwear, transformed the humble trade of cobbling into a specialist art-form combining technology and beauty.

One man’s many steps on the mountains of Germany, went along way to creating the huge strides that have led to sports manufacturing’s world domination.


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Have you got a humble past to share with your customers.
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