Fashion forward San Franciscans have a new reason to head to Union Square to this winter season: Furla, the premier Italian brand known for its stylish, colorful and impeccably crafted leather goods, has opened a pop-up at 216 Stockton Street. In the former space of the Dior store, the boutique fits in perfectly along the prime stretch of the Union Square shopping district. Italian luxury brand FURLA has recently opened its first store in San Francisco in Union Square. The the store is meant to be a pop-up, with the possibility of keeping it open through all of 2017. We got the ultimate scoop from Furla’s CEO, Scott Link, about what we can expect to find at the shop, as well as the brand’s plan to find a permanent address in San Francisco.
How would you describe Furla as a brand?
Furla is an amazing brand that has been around for quite a long time; we are actually getting ready to celebrate our 90th year in business which is truly amazing. The company articulates what our brand is about in three very simple words: We’re a joyful, contemporary, Italian brand. One of the best things about Furla is that we are also a premium brand, in that we take all of the best things about what a luxury should be: the quality of our leather, the service in our stores- we take it all and we put it at a premium price point instead of a luxury price point; that makes us much more accessible to everyone.
Why has Furla decided to open a pop-up versus a permanent brick-and-mortar location?
I’ve done a number of scouting trips to try and find a permanent space in San Francisco and I don’t think we’ve found one that’s the right size and the right location yet. I feel as though the downtown area is going through its own evolution right now, everything is moving around so much, it makes it tough. But ever since I joined the company, San Francisco has always been one my top three locations to open a permanent store. We definitely want a permanent home here, but so far, we just haven’t found the perfect place. The good thing is that this pop-up store gives us the opportunity to find out even more about the San Francisco market, so we’ll be totally ready once we find our space.
What can we expect to see in the store?
Because of the size of the pop-up space and the fact that we only opened the first floor for selling, it’s definitely going to be a curated assortment of Furla; we just can’t fit everything we offer into the space. However, the store will definitely have what we consider to be our best foot forward in terms of the products and the range of goods that we make. Plus, having the smaller selection it gives us the opportunity to learn from that and find out what the city really wants. Another exciting thing about the space is that as we move on from the Holiday season, we’d like to start using the second floor as a ‘collaboration space’ with local artists. Art has always been a big part of the Furla DNA and our owner is very supportive of young artists, so we’d really like to use that space for something that will benefit that community. We’re thinking of possibly having young artists exhibit there and host some events around that exhibition and as a way bring the fashion and arts together in San Francisco. We thought it would be a good way to give back to the community and it’s just the perfect venue to do that kind of activity.
Are there any special items that can only be found in the SF pop-up location?
We’re looking at the San Francisco market in terms of having a strong fashion sensibility and playing up the use of color that the city loves; just really capitalizing that aspect of things. So you will see a lot of colorful options in the store.
Why did Furla choose San Francisco specifically?
San Francisco is definitely one of the top retailing cities in the U.S. so it’s very important for the brand to find our place here. Also, we tend to do well in locations where people aren’t afraid to wear color, as being ‘colorful’ is such a big part of Furla’s DNA. San Francisco fashion really seems to understand that concept, unlike some cities where the quintessential ‘black handbag’ comes out in December and it stays in play until April; San Francisco is a place that is a little less guided by those rules. Obviously, it’s also a city that attracts international tourists from around the globe, be it Europe or Asia, and that’s great for us because we already have such a strong brand recognition in those parts of the world. For example, there are 432 Furla stores worldwide and we have 74 points of distribution in Japan alone, but right now, we only have 10 stores in the U.S. Our brand has really caught on in certain places, so of course our goal and our mission is to do the same thing in the here in the States.
What is your vision for the brand moving into the next few years?
We’d love to grow our distribution network through wholesale partners and through new freestanding stores in key locations like San Francisco. We really want to grow our thumbprint here in the U.S. and use it as a way to introduce or re-introduce people to who we are. Really, the future is about continuing to tell the story of Furla, which has such an authentic history and heritage. As we move into our 90th year I want to build on what has already been started and play up the craftsmanship of the brand. I’d like to either tell our story to those who haven’t heard it or re-tell the story to those that have, in a way that they will understand what Furla is about and what our brand stands for.