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A Startup Retail Model

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One of the hardest parts of launching a new product is finding a way to convince a retailer to add the item to its shelves. A new shop in New York City’s Chelsea neighborhood has the potential to make first-time placement a little easier.

The new venture, aptly named A Startup Store, aids fledgling product developers by giving them a place to tell their stories and display their wares. Five New York-based startups were showcased in the beta version of A Startup Store, which opened just prior to the holiday season. Merchandise-driven displays introduced the new labels to consumers while giving shoppers a chance to take care of some holiday shopping.

In February the space was transformed into STORY, presenting all new items merchandised around a “love” theme.

The project is the brainchild of Rachel Shechtman, who wants the store to be “a living, breathing community.” The space will be completely reinvented every four to six weeks with an entirely different group of startups, a redesign and fixture switch-out.

Shechtman expects the store to be profitable in its first year and has set her sights on opening five stores around the country in the next three years. “I think the untapped frontier of advertising is retail engagement,” she recently told Fast Company. “We’re selling sponsorship of the store for anywhere from $50,000 on the low end to $175,000 on the high end.” Later in the year, Shechtman plans to rolls out an e-commerce platform which will continue to sell some of the more popular products from individual exhibits.