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24-year-old opens retail store: Seize the opportunity when big players stumble

By Ole Spötter


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The entrance to the Würzburg fashion retailer Neverlnd is still covered. Image: Neverlnd

Jannis Thein has taken the plunge and opened his own retail store in Würzburg, Germany, in March. Until now, the young entrepreneur has worked for Nuremberg-based luxury retailer Emerson Renaldi, most recently as senior operations manager. Now he has swapped employment for self-employment.

Under the name 'Neverlnd', he has opened a retail space of around 80 square metres at Marktplatz 10 in his Bavarian hometown. His family not only helped him with the start-up capital but is also actively helping out, said Thein in an interview with FashionUnited. His partner is responsible for marketing and social media for now and, together with her sister, is also helping with the opening. External employees will be hired later on. The plan is to employ one full-time employee and up to two student trainees to help out.

Selected brands such as Marni define the range. Credits: Neverlnd

Owning his own store in only eight months

Thein took the first steps towards his own store only eight months ago, when he developed a business plan and started looking for investors. Instead of high interest rates from banks and investors who wanted to have a say, he received two personal loans from “close relatives”. A month later, he contacted the first brands and received a first commitments from well-known labels such as Marni “relatively early on”.

He then used the Italian luxury brand and others as a basis for expanding his portfolio with other brands from the upmarket streetwear sector such as Misbhv and Daily Paper, as well as high-priced brands such as Fiorucci, Kenzo and JW Anderson. He also tried to make as many new contacts as possible in the current order round. Thein was out and about in Düsseldorf, Munich and Paris during Men's Fashion Week in January.

Jannis Thein in Paris. Credits: Neverlnd

Staying young like Peter Pan

There are also a few smaller brands such as Perplex from Frankfurt, Reternity from Oldenburg and LC23 from Italy. At 70 percent in the first season, the retailer has a strong focus on menswear, which is of course also available to people who do not consider themselves as male.

In his selection, Thein tries to have a mixture of personal favourites that may not appeal to the masses, but still have something for everyone, explains the young store owner. In addition to clothing, he plans to stock other product groups such as home and living as well as accessories. For the latter, Thein once again received support from his family. This time from his father, who is a self-employed jeweller and also enabled him to offer his own 'Neverlnd' products. The range is rounded off by books from publisher Assouline, which once again builds a bridge to the retailer's fashion range with works such as series on the French fashion houses Dior and Louis Vuitton.

Selected pieces alongside books and accessories at Neverlnd. Credits: Neverlnd

The product range was put together by the 24-year-old to appeal to a target group aged between 16 and 35. His customers want to “stay forever young,” which also goes hand in hand with the store name 'Neverlnd' - based on the fictional home of Peter Pan, who does not want to grow up. The aim is not only to give his target group a store in a city that, according to Thein, has no comparable retailers, but also a location where they can network and take part in “cool events,” which the student city also lacks. The opening on 2nd March kicked off with DJs, a small capsule collection and other events. Similar concepts and pop-ups with brands will build on this later.

The store itself has less to do with Peter Pan's enchanted dream island and focuses more on the essentials. The interior design is clean, with brushed stainless steel and just a few colour accents in beige, green and grey. The storefront itself is a real eye-catcher, not because of its size, but because of its visualisation. The two display cases that make up the exterior are fitted with LED panels and are intended to play video installations that arouse customers' curiosity.

Changing rooms in the Neverlnd store Credits: Neverlnd

Nevertheless, at a time when fashion retail is not doing so well in many places, a new opening of this kind remains as exciting as a duel between Pan and his adversary Captain Hook. Thein remains calm and sees embarking on this new adventure more as an opportunity to stand out from the crowd.

“I see an opportunity to start at a time when many people are doing badly and to act anti-cyclically. When everyone is on a high anyway, you get swept away more quickly by the really big players,” says Thein, explaining his move toward self-employment. “But if they are also in trouble, there is an opportunity for a fresh concept. This situation forms the basis for the starting point and I also take it into account for orders and budget planning.”

Neverlnd open since 2nd March at Marktplatz 10 in Würzburg Credits: Neverlnd

This article was originally published on http://FashionUnited.de . Edited and translated by Simone Preuss.