Frank & Oak push pop-up competition in the U.S.

Montreal-based retailer is giving consumers the power to pick temporary locations

CollectiveImpact_CitiesScreenshotFrank & Oak, the Montreal-based retailer that earned its stripes by selling trendy clothing online to style-conscious men, is looking to expand into the U.S. with a new campaign based on customer loyalty.

With 1.6-million “fans” in North America who purchase clothing through web-based memberships, the company is now launching a competition among its American customers to bring a Frank & Oak pop-up shop to their own town.

Customers can vote for their city by purchasing gift cards en masse over the next two weeks. The first six cities that reach the US$25,000 target within the designated contest period gets a pop up shop.

“Seventy per cent of the sales come from the U.S. anyway,” CEO and co-founder Ethan Song told Marketing, adding that the move is intended to get closer to the company’s American customer base.

Song, who founded the company three years ago with childhood pal Hicham Ratnani, added that the contest is designed to “engage” the community while letting cities decide who gets first dibs on a temporary location.

Voting will take place from March 26 until April 8, with customers in the following locales able to take part: Manhattan, Brooklyn, Chicago, Washington, Philadelphia, Boston, Atlanta, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Seattle, Austin and Portland.

By 1 p.m. on Thursday, the pledge page for Manhattan had attracted a handful of $100 gift card purchases. The company said customers in cities that miss the mark can get a full refund.

Frank & Oak is also using the hashtag #FandOinMyCity so online users can spread the campaign to friends online.

“It’s a new way to empower our fans to decide in which city we should open our next pop-up”, said Song.

With two permanent stores and four temporary ones now operating in Canada, diversifying into brick-and-mortar shops appears to be high on the company’s to-do list.

And the concept of using pop-up shops to test the real-world customer-base and establish a footprint has seemed to serve the company well over the past few years.

For example, in 2013, Toronto’s chic Queen Street West area was the site of a short-term shop during the holiday retail rush. A full-scale store was established in the same neighbourhood less than a year later.

Likewise, the company is also looking to expand its brand beyond that of a traditional retailer, as it seeks to make its stores cool “community spaces.”

The first such store was established in Montreal’s trendy Mile End area. The shop boasts onsite barbers, baristas and style consultants who can chat and hangout with customers.

Last year, the founders also launched Oak Street, a twice-yearly print publication with photo essays, fashion advice and profiles.

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