Beacon Hill pop-up retailer is a group effort...offline
The shop on the corner of 111 Charles St. in Beacon Hill seemed to appear out of nowhere earlier this month. It was, until recently, an empty storefront, but for the past few weeks this holiday season, it’s been a bustling retail hub with all the trappings of a classic menswear shop, including a bust of a buck sporting some fancy neckwear and a live Christmas tree hung from the ceiling. The pop-up retail operation, dubbed the “Winter Collective,” is the combined effort of five online menswear outfitters: Tucker Blair is Boston maker of needlepoint belts and wallets; Kiel James Patrick out of Rhode Island outfits the Nantucket set in ties, bracelets, and oxfords. Hudson Sutler makes bespoke bags in New York City, which is also home to the headquarters of men’s shirtmaker Jack Robie and Naadam Cashmere, who sources their super soft knitwear from Mongolia. Each of the online outfitters looked to broaden their customer base by making the most of foot traffic during the holiday shopping season. Booking a short-term lease in Beacon Hill as a group, and styling their merchandise together, allowed them to increase their brand presence without falling victim to the flea market aesthetic. “We call it renegade retail,” said Jesse Biggers, who’s been running the shop with his partner, Rob Caron, since it opened earlier this month. The pair are contributing partners and investors in several of the companies showcasing their wares, and opened a similar pop-up concept in Nantucket this past summer. “Some of these startups can’t afford to open their own stores,” says Biggers. “This gives them an opportunity to showcase their stuff.” “We’re dipping our toe into the retail waters,” said Tucker Blair chief executive Matt Tara. It used to be, he said, that upstart brands looking to get an edge in the marketplace often “lived or died by Neiman Marcus or Barney’s.” The combined pop-up concept, done right, is a perfect way to get a foothold, Tara said. “If Ralph Lauren was starting his business in 2014, he would have started this way,” he said. The shop will be open at 111 Charles St. through Jan. 31.
Better, faster, stronger
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The Bay State has a soft spot for underwater robots. On Friday, Massachusetts officials gathered at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute to announce a $5 million grant that will expand the center's robotics research facility over the next five years. The grant will fund new test tanks, a pressure testing space for deep sea robots, and a fabrication shop with a desktop 3-D printer for prototyping parts for new machines at WHOI's Center for Marine Robotics. Read More
No love for Bluetooth bracelet
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Speak Easy
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Towards savvy social shopping
Note to retailers: Holiday shopping deals need a desperate overhaul
Photo: EPA
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LinkedIn for Sports Fans?
Fancred adds new features to its all-in-one fan experience platform
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Global Good
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A team from MIT visits a Kumbh site. Photo via Ramesh Raskar.
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Just keep swimming
Navy's 'Silent NEMO' project tests Boston robotic fish for stealth ops
Boston Engineering's 'GhostSwimmer' robot can stealthily navigate cramped spaces. The Navy tested it off Virginia Beach last week.  (Image: US Navy)
A robotic fish called the GhostSwimmer made by Boston Engineering successfully completed a series of maneuvers led by the US Office of Naval Research last week. "I can’t tell you exactly what they wanted us to do," Mark Smithers, chief technology officer at Boston Engineering, said. "We were able to do something that [we weren't] able to do prior [to that] and we did it successfully multiple times." Read More