290 Sqm Interview
With the advent of the release of Sneaker Freaker’s collaboration with Puma, there will only be one store in the Netherlands giving heads the opportunity to cop these beauties. 290 SQM, the sneaker joint formally known as 90 Square Meters is quickly becoming the regions hottest spot to lay down some Euros on the best product in town. With its larger space, 290 SQM has also decked out its gallery section and expanded the area to hold more events that hold meaning to the street wear community. From art showings to magazine launches, owner Ido has also thought outside the box, hosting seminars and forums, inviting shoe designers and influential speakers to educate a culture so willing to soak up knowledge. We were fortunate enough to catch up with Ido as he launches his new store just in time for the “Blaze of Glory” drop.
Hey Ido, how’s Amsterdam going? What seems to be the biggest trend in street wear at the moment arising out of Amsterdam?
To be honest I have no clue. I don’t really look at the trends in Amsterdam. Amsterdam is too small and doesn’t have more to offer than Parra.
You say you are inspired from cultures around the world and bring that into your business, how so?
We have been around for quite a long time so we have a huge worldwide network of friends. We travel a lot and always keep our eyes open to find great stuff. If we see something we like we try to find the owners of the brands and talk to them directly
We hear you are about to open a new store three times the size of the old one. Give us some insight into the new digs.
It’s an old bank vault totally underground in the city centre of Amsterdam. Again it’s a hard to find place….In the seven years the old shop is open we’ve seen a lot of shops coming and going. A lot of them look at our assortment and try to sell the same brands as we do. It was time to refresh our assortment. We’re also talking to the bigger brands to get more exclusive stuff
What can the Dutch consumer expect to find in the new 90 square metres?
They have to come and check it out and it will be a surprise
Will there be a name change now that the store is larger than 90 square metres, haha?
We’ll be changing our name into 290 square meters. We need to. This is the size of our new space and we’re keeping the old concept alive. It’s the size of the space. Today it’s a shop and tomorrow it can be a museum. Anything can happen at 290 square meters!
Is the scene booming in the Netherlands? Is this why you felt the need to expand?
The scene is definitely booming but that’s a different audience. A lot of the brands we carried from the past are mainstream these days. Since we opened in 2001 so many 90 square meters look-a-like shops have opened. It was time for something new and surprise the Dutch again. We hope they’re ready for something fresh. The retail landscape in Holland is not that exciting and we hope we’re gonna change that.
Your original store was noted for holding a gallery space which featured some of Europe’s best live graffiti artists as well as magazine launches, poetry readings and artwork. Will the new store be offering the same?
We’ll be still doing that kind of stuff but at a different level. We have done more than 50 art shows and product launches. It’s time for a change. If we organise something in 2008 it will be with a message. In March we did a lecture for 50 sneaker freaks about the Nike Dunk. We had 2 Nike designers explaining the story about the shoe and what the future of the dunk will be. It had nothing to do with a party.
90sqm set a historical mark by premiering the now oh so cool Nike ID set up, being the first and only store to have had the honour. How did that come about and how is your relationship with Nike?
First of all we have a long (7 year) and very good relationship with Nike. It started a bit strange because in 2001 when we opened Nike Europe only sold to functional sport stores and not the concept stores like 90 square meters. We called Nike to sell their shoes but they told us it was not possible because we don’t sell athletic stuff! We tried it through a designer friend at Nike and of course that worked.
After being open for a year I asked Nike if we could sell Nike ID in the shop. The first reaction was that it was an online tool but 2 months later 4 people from Nike arrived in the shop to talk to me about it. It was really great doing it and maybe the best part for me is that we had customer feedback sessions every month. They really did something with the information. I really believe that Nike ID is so strong at the moment because of the input I gave them. Besides Nike ID we did the European launch for Nike S-P-L-I-T (the wind runners with zippers on the front & back) and the 90 x 90 project.
Will you be keeping the old store as well, or will this be a whole new business?
Our old store is closed. All the focus will be on our new space and it’s big enough to do everything we want so there’s no need for more space
Will there be an online store to coincide with the new store?
We will not start an online store. I believe in a personal relationship with my customers. We need to make the store worthwhile to visit
For list of stockist for the Puma Blaze Of Glory shoe, hit here