Creativity keeps customers on their toes, while digital services ensures the shop is always at a customer’s fingertips. It’s these traits that helped Evo win the Skiing Business Industry Awards for Most Innovative and Best Digital Services.
Skiing Business got in touch with Bryce Phillips, Evo’s founder, and Atsuko Tamura, the shop’s president, to find out how they do it so well.
Address: 3500 Stone Way N Seattle, WA 98103
Owners: Bryce and Elise Phillips (and a group of equity investors)
Number of locations: 1
Year founded: 2001 (only online until 2005)
Shop size: 13,000 square feet (10,000 sf of retail space)
Number of employees: 100 employees
How has creative marketing shaped your shop?
Bryce Phillips: Creativity has been an integral part of our foundation, and it’s even one of our core values: “creatively exceeding expectations.” We have set out from the beginning to make sure that at every touch-point, we go far beyond just a transactional retailer and one that is always looking for a creative, artistic angle.
On your website, you describe your flagship store in Seattle as, “so much more than just a store.” What unique events does your shop host? Do you feel that you’ve held true to this innovative outlook on retail shopping?
Atsuko Tamura: Our flagship store really is more than just a store—it’s an experience. Our store is a part of The Fremont Collective. Everything about it from the building itself (a 1950s warehouse with a lot of building character), our co-tenants, the neighborhood, and our own store features make it that. It’s like a collection of specialty experiences and venues that fold together into a lifestyle.
We share the space with two restaurants—Joule and The Whale Wins; the basement will house a skate park, All Together Skatepark, which will be Seattle’s only indoor skate park, scheduled to open this spring. The store itself is an “evolution” of our first store—just better. We dedicated 450 square feet to an art gallery that is integrated into the customer’s shopping experience, which is a bold move by any retail standard. We also have a dedicated women’s area, a larger service shop in the basement, and imagery and art features throughout the building that allow our customers to experience all of the aspects of our brand.
We continue to see these features, as well as holding events ranging from art gallery showings, parties, clinics and community nights where nonprofits who share our values can benefit. We call that “Commerce with a Cause.” These have all been a hallmark for our brand.
What do you guys do that you consider innovative that other shops can learn from?
AT: Bryce’s vision and passion for creating unique, memorable and engaging experiences in a retail venue is what we do—and there is an incredible team of people who all work together to make it happen. I think it’s less about the features than it is about being clear on who you are as a brand, how you want to represent it while being operationally great, and then pulling together an incredible team to do it. The authenticity behind it and smart execution is what we focus on to deliver our ideas.
Your online shop is very popular; how do you incorporate that digital expertise into your Seattle store?
BP: The biggest correspondence between the two sales channels is the ability for customers to order and pickup in the store, online or the combination of the two depending on what works best for him or her. Almost always, customers will end up engaging with Evo, our brand, and our products both in the store and online so they are extremely complimentary.
Would you say that one is more successful than the other? In what way?
BP: The two need to always work harmoniously, and they have their own characteristics that make the company function. In that sense, one is not more successful than the other.
How did Evo originally get into e-com? What advice would you give to other shops that want to go more digital—whether social media or e-com?
AT: Evo began as an e-commerce business in 2001, and we opened our store in 2005—opposite of what many specialty shops have done and are now exploring. The most important advice is to ensure that your brand and all of the mediums you choose to use, send a consistent, seamless brand message to the customer.
How do social media and digital marketing play a role in your shop?
BP: We use social media both to educate and get customers excited about events and our culture while highlighting great new products, so it’s always a balance. For more on what we do check out our blog as well as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
Anything else you’d like to add that pertains to innovation or digital services?
AT: Technology is an ever-changing and ever-evolving field that is quickly changing the way retailers and customers can, and need to, interact with one another. However, as great as technology is, it still can’t replace a human interaction that often leads to more memorable and awesome experiences.