Set in a converted church in the center of Arnhem, The Netherlands, Humanoid’s flagship is a multibrand destination store for women and men. The 350 sqm space houses Humanoid’s entire collection as well a selection of pieces from an international crop of brands. Here, Humanoid founder and creative director Sandra Harmsen tells us more about her retail brainchild, and the in-store activities to expect this year in celebration of Humanoid’s 35th anniversary.
Describe Humanoid’s Arnhem flagship in a nutshell.
Opened in 2009, Humanoid Shop Arnhem is a concept store for female and male consumers. We cater for people with style, undistracted by the next trend or hype. You’ll find an extensive selection of clothing and shoes from Humanoid and additional brands such as Acne Studios, R13, Monique van Heist, Folk, Hope, Forte_Forte, Golden Goose, Raquel Allegra, Homecore and Christian Wijnants. In true concept store style, we also offer jewelry, accessories, beauty and fragrance products as well as furniture, home accessories and books.
The shop, in its converted church setting, is quite spectacular. Tell us about the interior concept and how you went about complementing the original features.
Architect Roel de Vos and I joined forces to design the space and we went for minimalistic and practical design features, such as clean white wooden units and floorboards in natural wood. The idea was to give a sense that the store’s been in its church setting for ages. The entrance has sliding doors, to the left of which you’ll find the parsonage which houses the men’s department.
How would you describe Arnhem, which is located an hour’s drive from Amsterdam, as a destination?
Arnhem is a small and quirky town with a creative vibe. Since it’s home to Artez University of the Arts, the city is a breeding ground for new designers.
Humanoid is turning 35 in 2017. How will this landmark be celebrated in-store?
The 35th anniversary of Humanoid has inspired a new capsule collection, which has just arrived in-store. While going through the Humanoid archive, our design team compiled 25 favorites on which to base the collection, taking great care to translate these into a contemporary series. The so-called Collectables capsule collection is unique and timeless – and as easy to wear as your everyday favorite. There are cropped, tapered trousers, oversized shirts and signature draped jersey pieces. The pieces’ refreshing simplicity and clever use of color and detail bring the Humanoid feeling to life.
Aside from Humanoid’s own line, what labels and particular items have sold well recently?
Hope, Acne Studios and Christian Wijnants have performed particularly well recently. As for garment types, we’ve seen demand for dresses, tops and trousers.
What are the criteria when selecting new brands for the store? Have you brought in any new labels in recent seasons?
Brands and designers need to fit with the current crop of labels and have a unique position in the affordable luxury segment. We’ve just introduced Italian shoe brand Roberto del Carlo, LA player Achro and London labels Studio Nicholson and Year One.
Who’s the Humanoid customer?
They tend to be confident professionals who love fashion, nature and design. They’re avid readers of books and magazines. And as I mentioned before, they’re not too concerned with trends.
How important is customer service to you and what’s your definition of good service in today’s retail environment?
It’s paramount for us to take our customers seriously. You have to display a true understanding of complaints, and take each one of them seriously, too. Our customer is king at the shop, and he or she deserves not only the best clothes, but also the best service and experience.
How important is the online store? What role does it play aside from its chief purpose as an e-commerce platform?
Shophumanoid.com is a very important part of our business. It’s the perfect place to stock up on Humanoid items for those who can’t get to a Humanoid store or stockist. The online store holds the entire collection, and we ship orders for free, or for a small charge, to almost any country in the world. We have a lot of loyal online customers and we make sure to keep our customer service standards extremely high. Last year we updated the website and online shop for a better customer experience and we’ll continue to improve it. We also try to inspire our customers by way of showing looks and campaigns in interesting ways, and we naturally link them to our social media platforms.