Camp brings a playground to retail
Buzzfeed, the media company best known for its lighthearted lists and quizzes that go viral, is supporting a new retail concept for kids called Camp that packs the summer-camp experience into a 10,000-square foot box.
The first store just opened in the Flatiron district of Manhattan.
The front section, the Canteen, looks like a regular store, with toys, books, apparel and gifts sorted in stacks. An outpost of Manhattan’s chic deserts chain, Milk Bar, serving a special s’mores sundae and coffee, is in the corner.
The real action, however, is hidden in the “Base Camp” event space in the back that is only accessible through a “secret moving wall.” Once guided through the wall, kids snake through a racetrack design to discover more than two dozen unique experiences, including a light-up dance floor, a switchboard they can use to create their own song, and an arts and crafts table. A stage supports sing-a-longs and improv shows.
Beyond selling merchandise, the concept makes money two other ways:
- Workshops: Making your own camp pennant, snow globe or other item costs $20 to $25 a class.
- Sponsorships: MasterCard is sponsoring the Base Camp area until March 15, but sponsorships are also available for in-store activations, such as a make-your-own lip-gloss workshop.
Camp further stands out because its theme rotates every eight to 12 weeks. Rachel Shechtman, the founder of Story, known for its rotating mix, sits on Camp’s board and is an investor. RRE Ventures and Lerer Ventures are also investors and Buzzfeed has a small stake.
Camp is the brainchild of Ben Kaufman, known as the founder of the inventor marketplace, Quirky, before becoming head of BuzzFeed Commerce. At Buzzfeed, he rolled out Buzzfeed’s Tasty line at Walmart and Goodful brand at Macy’s.
Mr. Kaufman is looking to open seven to 10 stores across multiple cities within the next year, and feels the toy category is ripe to capitalize on experiential retailing.
Mr. Kaufman told Women’s Wear Daily, “The market for family experiences is pretty thin right now and we’re filling a big void. There are babies being born all over the world and families looking for places to go.”
- Buzzfeed Talks About New Store For Families At Ad Age Next – Advertising Age
- A New Kind of Toy Store Arrives in New York From BuzzFeed’s Chief of Commerce. The experiential Camp is open for business – Adweek
- Calling All Campers and Their Families – Women’s Wear Daily
- Our Investment in Camp – RRE Ventures
- How BuzzFeed-backed toy store Camp plans to survive beyond the holiday season – Digiday
- A Camp-Themed Store Just Opened In NYC And It’s So Wholesome It Hurts – Buzzfeed
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Does the Camp concept seem well positioned to capitalize on the experiential trend in retailing? Do you have any thoughts or concerns around the rotating theme, sponsorships, workshops and any other aspects of the Camp experience?