Surviving the Retail Suicide Mission

"Life is short, and people’s attention spans are even shorter. Your brand DNA is your story." This was Johnny Earle's advice at HubSpot's Inbound conference late last month. And as the crown-prince of turning a short attention span into a retail empire... he'd know!

Johnny Earle is better known as Johnny Cupcakes - the guy who created a bakery-themed t-shirt brand that inspires such loyalty that fans get tattoos of his logo.

So how does a modern clothing brand inspire such depths of loyalty? That's where that short attention span comes in. According to Johnny Cupcakes, “Retail is a suicide mission; It changes by the second and it’s a tricky business.” - but it's also this fast-changing environment that challenges and inspires the serial entrepreneur to create something that goes beyond business-as-usual.

As is increasingly the case, particularly in markets where the millennial dollar dominates, creating an experience is the true driver of sales and brand loyalty.

Every retail shop resembles a bakery - there's display cabinets you'd expect to see filled with pastries, and the scent of fresh-cooked baked goods in the air. It's a retro-nostalgic vibe that is simply different to every other clothing store in existence. And it doesn't stop there.

Although Johnny Earle has dabbled in wholesaling, his focus is entirely on creating memorable experiences - right down to the packaging. It's his belief that good packaging is a brand experience unto itself. Customers hesitate to throw it away, it becomes a talking point - your customers wind up marketing your product for you.

So obsessed is Johnny Cupcakes with creating memorable experiences he'll do things few other clothing CEOs would contemplate - notably including a 20 minute pop-up shop behind a MacDonalds. "Any time you wear that shirt, you're going to share the story", he says.

This ethos pervades every promotion. Whether it's his penchant for partnering with other brands, including The Simpsons, Kello Kitty, Might Morphin Power Rangers and more... all notable pop culture icons.

Weird, energetic and loud seems to be the order of the day for the Johnny Cupcakes brand - his enthusiasm is infectious, as is the passion he inspires in fans of the brand. It surprises no-one when he tells everyone attending that they should create connections... meet strangers... 

Unless they're in a white van!



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Surviving the Retail Suicide Mission
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