By Robert Tuomi
(WINDSOR, ON) – Although right now it is in what Ryan Mulder, one of the operatives at Pushers Collective, calls a soft opening, the start-up is doing something few retailers do. While some might call it hedging its bet, it will offer a range of sound recording, brand creation, and related services, as well as a collection of unique clothing. About half of the floor space of the combined operation on Maiden Lane in downtown Windsor will be stocked with one-of-a-kind items.
The concept, explains Mulder, is to never sell the same thing twice.
Although a storefront recording studio and clothing emporium, or as Mulder likes to call it, a haberdashery, does represent an interesting and possibly untried marketing concept it might also be instructional to aspiring retailers. It gives the business an edge. These days retailers without same most likely won’t have a future. The Pushers’ tag line expresses its edge quite succinctly, “When Push Comes to Shove.”
The marketing genius in the approach is not only its storefront location but its collection of highly unique clothing that should appeal to its musician and other customers. Except for the days of grunge, those using its recording studio could be expected to need a highly presentable stage image. Being able to supply every aspect of that from clothing to branding to record publishing could have merit.
Recording artists typically have entourages who also need to be clothed and might like dressing similarly but not exactly the same.
Pushers ultimate success could well be having its customers fighting over its one-offs, as long as they share the same size.
Whether it will work or not does remain to be seen although Mulder might be just the right person to take a chance in downtown Windsor where even the highly trendy American Apparel failed. Flint-born Mulder has spent more than a decade working in senior management at brand name chain retailers. He sees this new venture as somewhat his baby and is quite proud to show off its fixtures which were all hand made, by him.
One other fascinating aspect of the store part of the operation is that Mulder calls it an idea centre, a place where any business can come in and not only look at the clothing but get ideas on things like marketing and branding. To generate awareness of its existence Pushers plans to do most of its promotion through social media. This too might say something about its knowledge of its target customers and how to tap in.
Although Maiden Lane is not the city’s most travelled short street, Pushers is right next door to the acclaimed Squirrel’s Cage, a restaurant with a hip, urban décor that might prove to be a good neighbour.
The music part of the business is the brainchild of El Gamrini, a local rapper. Its hard opening is expected early in November.
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