A really fun interview we did with the guys at Sapeur OSB the other day
Link here (http://sapeur-osb.de/2019/10/sapeur-osb-im-gespraech-mit-deru-store-aus-muenchen/) and full text below.
We present you with DERU Store from the Bavarian capital, an extraordinary concept store. A refuge for a clientele with a preference for functional menswear, which I did not expect in Germany. The brands are exquisite and I associate the store design and interior with Manchester’s Northern Quarter, stores in Liverpool or well-known Japanese retailers.
The name DERU comes from the Japanese and means something like „go out“ or „participate“. We talked to Kerstin and Jon about their store, which opened in spring 2019. Many thanks to Kerstin and John for your time and Andreas who helped me with the translation of the Q&A.
Can you tell us a bit about the story of how DERU Store came about?
We had been following this whole ‘modern outdoor’ concept for years and really looking at how people’s lifestyles and product needs have been changing for various projects we were working on. No one outside of Japan or the U.S. was doing what we were talking about and wanting to find in a store concept. Friends in the UK had just opened Outsiders Store and we decided that we needed to commit to opening the store here, before someone else did something similar!
Prior to opening the store, did you have any industry experience?
Kerstin worked in sports and fashion design and I was in garment production sourcing and consultancy.
What is the concept behind the store and the brands you stock?
The concept is all about functional product that looks good. Most Outdoor stores only focus on the performance. They either don’t understand good design or just focus on mass market. All the brands we stock need to offer a certain level of performance functionality as well as an aesthetic that works across the store.
It’s also got to be stuff we like and would use ourselves.
I really like the aesthetic of DERU Store. A great look like I saw in Manchester’s Northern Quarter and Liverpool. Talk us through the current layout.
Ha, that’s funny as we both moved to Munich from Manchester 3-4 years ago! What we wanted to achieve was an easy going, non-exclusive feel. We are both really into our product and wanted a space where we could show it off without the shop itself being the talking point, but at the same time have a space that we were happy to spend all of our time in.
We are fortunate to have a great backyard space with room for events/exhibitions/screenings. We want to offer more than just product, we want to be a hub for people that are into similar things as us – mountains, clothes, music, art.
How would you describe your target consumer?
Interested – in fashion, technology, outdoors, new stuff, history, difference.
Was it always going to be Munich as the location for DERU Store?
Yes. Can’t think of a better place. It’s just so outdoor focused here, and a really big creative community that we feel are not serviced by the existing retailers.
What shops do you like and had inspired you?
Oi Polloi since they opened – Nigel & Steve just know. Goodhood. Alpha Shadows. Haven. Aspecto back in the 90s. All of Japan.
What do you look for in a brand when buying for the store? What sways your decisions?
It’s got to be something that appeals to us above and beyond the need to match the store concept of functionality. I suppose it can just be distilled down to – do we like it enough to spend money on it. It also helps if the people behind it are nice.
How has technical menswear and hiking wear changed over the last ten years?
The most important things are it’s gotten lighter weight and therefore easier to wear, and it just looks so much better. The level of design in ‘outdoor’ is great now. It’s the most exciting part of the industry. This is why so many people are buying into it for normal everyday wear too.
Which artists and songs can we expect on your Store playlist?
We like to keep it pretty mellow in store. In the mornings we will spark up some Haeckels incense and play some JV Lightbody or Eno, as the day goes on Variant/ CV313 are always played and we might finish up with some Theo Parrish or Convextion.
Off the beaten track, what are your favorite things to do in Munich?
Coffee from Man vs Machine or Aroma, Eis from Jessas, bike rides along the Isar. So many good restaurants – especially Japanese and Vietnamese. There are some great Yoga studios and the mountains and lakes are so close. We just really like the chilled out way of life here.
How important are real shops when everyone is on the internet?
They are even more important than they used to be. But, only if they are offering something more than “here’s some stuff, buy it.” We wanted to get people in to touch and try on the garments, to learn about what goes into them. To meet the teams behind the brands. It’s all about establishing connections. About being part of something, not just a ‘consumer’.
You recently celebrated a collaboration with the Japanese brand And Wander. Please tell us more about it.
It was more of a party than a co-lab. They were in Munich for the ISPO Messe and we couldn’t let that pass without doing something. Keita and Mihoko are always so nice when we see them at the buying appointments that we wanted to welcome them to our home city.
Our friends at Tanzaro Creative (who do all of our web shop photography) came up with the idea to do a short film showcasing the way And Wander transitions between urban and natural life – check it on our website blog. It was a great night – lots of friends from And Wander, Snow Peak and Goldwin came and we had the guys from Blue surf mag launch their latest edition too.
What is the most exciting thing about your job?
Meeting the brands and the customers. I really like talking product with people.
What does the future hold for DERU Store?
We’ve got some great new brands coming for next year and we are planning some really interesting events where we can showcase these brands and stuff that we are in to.
We are also working on some plans for a Running Crew and Hiking Club. We might even make some sew on patches!