Lee is confident about the new HBX store. The United States is currently the media company’s “most important market” for commerce, she says. Commerce currently accounts for a third of Hypebeast’s revenue; of this total, the United States accounts for 26%, followed by Taiwan at 18% and Hong Kong at 13%, depending on the brand. The store is Hypebeast’s second and largest to date: the first HBX opened in 2016 in Hong Kong, where Hypebeast was founded by CEO Kevin Ma, but it’s a fraction of the size at 1,800 square feet.
The US building is also home to Hypebeast’s first North American headquarters, where approximately 100 employees will sit on four floors. “Until now, we’ve been operating out of a combination of coworking space and remote work,” Lee said. Business in vogue from his apartment in Brooklyn. Those who work for the media arm of the company will have the opportunity to interact daily with the retail space, brands and customers. “What we really want to have are those serendipitous moments where you might strike up a conversation with someone. It’s a gathering space that will hopefully foster creativity in the team,” she explains.
Other brands stocked include Nike, Stone Island, Acronym, Mastermind Japan, Mugler, Heron Preston, Thom Browne and Dries Van Noten in a fluid space that is not divided between menswear and womenswear. Its brick-and-mortar and e-commerce businesses are largely wholesale-based, but take consignment on a case-by-case basis to provide small-label flexibility. The priority of its buying and merchandising teams are progressive brands that drive the culture forward, Lee says. “We wanted to present an assortment that feels totally inclusive, speaks to our aesthetic, and is very welcoming.”
The space will also be used to inspire and educate; HBX will invite artists and creatives to participate in a variety of projects. One of the partnerships at launch will be with a social enterprise called The Skateroom, whose mission is to combine art with skateboarding and social change. The company partners with influential artists to create exclusive artwork on skateboard decks. At least 10% of the sale of a skateboard is donated to various global charities that focus on empowering young people. HBX will be showcasing The Skateroom products for a few months and hosting a series of events. Hypebeast also plans to bring Hypetalks, an online live chat series featuring creatives ranging from Heron Preston to Maya Penn and Jaden Smith, into the physical space for the first time.
Pop-ups will play a big role. HBX is in talks with a brand owned by LVMH to take over the space, Lee says. “Our conversations focused on creating a truly immersive experience,” she adds. “It’s not necessarily about selling a specific product, but incorporating illustrations and other elements to create a beautiful space where consumers can learn about a brand. We want to create a 360 degree sensory experience that doesn’t just feel like a shopping destination. There are benefits for HBX and its partners, adds Lee. “An experience is much more memorable when you interact with a brand. People come to us for content and I hope they trust our curation ability.