Culture Kings CEO Simon Beard talks Vegas, male shoppers and growth

et=”_blank” rel=”noreferrer noopener”>Culture Kings founder and CEO Simon Beard about the store and what it will take to crack the US market.

Inside Retail: What can you tell me about the store you’re planning to open in Las Vegas? How will it compare to your stores in Australia?

Simon Beard: It’s double the size of our biggest store in Australia. We’ve gone for a bigger range, more experience-based, a lot of activations and events. This is part of why we chose Vegas, and why it’s the best spot in the world for it. We’ve got the DJ stage and the basketball court and all that stuff from Australia, but we have a lot of new stuff that I can’t share yet. 

Our core value and our why has always been to create magic moments for our customers, our teammates and ourselves. That’s how we built our brand – creating that theatre. I dream of being the Disneyland of sports, street, music and pop culture, and that’s what our Vegas store is.

We’ve built the foundation of doing it in Australia. The US is a much bigger market, and I knew for us to crack it, you can’t half-arse it. You’ve got to go big, and this is definitely big. I’m more and more wowed by it every day. It’s going to be a palace. 

IR: Las Vegas does have a reputation for being over the top, so it sounds like it’s the perfect fit for the kind of store you’re describing.

SB: I feel like Vegas is a rite of passage for that young male, our key target market. Our store has a masculine energy, even the girl stuff we sell is through a masculine lens. That’s why we’ll never sell dresses. 

That young male consumer doesn’t go shopping every weekend, but when they go to Vegas, they can be in that enhanced state where they go, ‘Let’s do the whole summer, let’s do the whole winter right now.’ Then, when they go back to wherever they live and they wear those clothes, they will have that same emotional feeling and buy online hopefully and keep that experience going.

For a male consumer, that’s what I feel is very potent. I don’t think you need to be in the local boring shopping centre, but if you can be in those iconic places and create the right state for the shopper, you can create a true brand experience. 

For me, Vegas was that. Going there and having those best nights ever. I really believe we’ll be able to build that, where someone will say, ‘When I go to Vegas, I’m going to Encore Beach, I’m going to Omnia nightclub, and I’m going to that Culture Kings store.’ 

IR: Do you think male consumers are overlooked in the retail industry?

SB: I think they’re harder. They have a lower conversion rate, it’s harder to get them to click on an ad. That’s where we’ve really built it –  if you try to sell to everyone, you’ll sell to no-one. We pick our market and then really just try and resonate with it. I think a lot of people just get drawn to female consumers because they’re easier and men can be harder – it’s just slower growing and harder to crack.

IR: What are your growth expectations for the US business over the coming year? Do you think the new store will have a big impact on your growth?

SB: I can’t really provide [specific figures], but we’ve been building the right foundation to really grow and scale. We expect to follow in the likes of Princess Polly, where their US business is three times the size of their Australian business. Ours is a bit different, as we do rely on the store as an integral part of our branding and how we bring our brand to life. 

IR: How are you growing your brand awareness in the US? I know you’ve had a digital presence in the US, so you’re not starting from scratch, but it is a big market.

SB: To be honest, we believe that using the store, the events, the theatre and the viral moments that we can create in there is actually what will drive uptick in the brand awareness. People will just naturally do it, and celebs and influencers will be a part of that.

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