The Womance Tour
Online fashion entrepreneur Andréanne Marquis had an idea: she wanted to expand her highly successful brand, Womance, from its home on the web to the brick-and-mortar world. But she wasn’t interested in a conventional retail leasing formula. She wanted something new, something different – a pop-up concept that captured the unique personality and appeal of Womance. So she said so, on her Instagram account. And our social media–savvy Specialty Leasing team heard her, loud and clear.
Thus was born the Womance tour, which took Andréanne and her popular line of up-to-the-minute women’s fashions to eight Cominar shopping centres across Quebec between June 2017 and April 2018. And our Specialty Leasing professionals pulled off the corresponding logistics like the true pros they are, making sure that each stop on the tour, which varied from a few days to several weeks, connected with their target market of women in the 18 to 35 age range with a soft spot for made-in-Quebec fashions. What’s more, the unique concept developed specifically for this initiative brought a new and compelling experience adapted to markets outside major urban centres.
The advantages of partnering with Cominar were numerous for Womance, not the least of which were all-in-one access to a diversified Quebec-wide portfolio and the dedicated team who rolled up their sleeves to find spaces in each of the shopping centres that could be adapted to the pop-up concept. Despite the challenges they encountered along the way, they used their resourcefulness and imagination to find workarounds at each property.
The venture was greeted with great enthusiasm in each of the markets, generating an increased level of buzz from week to week, with a constantly renewed inventory featuring locally made fashions at every stop along the way. Not only was this an excellent opportunity for Womance to reach out to online devotees, but it also helped them win over a whole new set of fans – and all at a budget that was palatable for this young, growing business. The impressive traffic and sales figures proved that the rewards far outweighed the initial risks of plunging headlong into these uncharted waters.
In embarking on this adventure, Cominar took a bold step forward in embracing the vision of a new kind of shopping experience, in tandem with a partner who shared a commitment to doing things differently.
...the unique concept developed specifically for this initiative brought a new and compelling experience adapted to markets outside major urban centres.
Fashion & Design Festival
The Fashion & Design Festival Pop-up Tour is a launchpad for a new generation of game-changing designers from the 17th Montreal Fashion & Design Festival. Kicked off at Rockland in December 2017, the pop-up store showcases the creations of five contest winners selected during the Festival, namely Allcovered, DUY, Horace, Le Cartel and Maguire. The initiative arose from the existing partnership between Cominar and the Festival, which has grown and flourished over the years.
The Specialty Leasing and Marketing teams at Cominar have had their work cut out for them in breathing life into this groundbreaking retail initiative. But they have been driven by their enthusiasm for bringing Quebec-grown brands to the fore. Needless to say they have had to put their ingenuity to the test to create a workable concept in a limited space that serves five different brands catering to everyone from the style-savvy student to the sustainability-minded fashionista.
Undaunted, they took advantage of the many benefits of the prime retail space that is Rockland to deliver a high-impact experience and get the momentum flowing for the next two destinations slated on the tour, which will be ongoing until June 2018. And they tapped into their expertise to work closely with each of the brands, which had, for the most part, been operating on a web-only model, to transpose their unique strengths into a shopping centre environment. But they rose to the challenge of finding high-ROI merchandising solutions with limited resources.
The accompanying efforts of the Marketing team went a long way in supporting the first leg of the Tour, with a VIP launch attended by key influencers, industry professionals and celebrities, along with a whole host of promotional materials, including a website, a social media guide, billboards and more.
Through these and other initiatives, Cominar is supporting future entrepreneurs and designers by giving them unique opportunities to promote their brands.
...the pop-up store showcases the creations of five contest winners selected during the Festival, namely Allcovered, DUY, Horace, Le Cartel and Maguire.
Cercle Achetons plus ici
With the rise of the local purchasing trend, especially during the global pandemic, our specialized leasing team was able to seize the opportunity to quickly respond to the evolving needs of our customers.
In December 2020, Cominar joined the Cercle API (Achetons.Plus.Ici) initiative of the Centre québécois d'innovation en commerce (CQIC), which aims to promote local purchasing and accelerate the digital transformation of businesses through the adoption of Quebec-based technological solutions. This partnership reflects our desire to support our retailers and improve their appeal, thereby revitalizing our shopping centres.
"We are proud to support our retailers in their digital transformation," said Jean-Marc Rouleau, Vice President, Retail Operations, Cominar. "By putting them in touch with CQIC and their local purchasing initiative, they will have access to the tools and resources they need to tackle this important shift.”
What is the Cercle API?
Initially, teams of students go meet with retailers to capture data and present them with various technological solutions to help them in their digital transformation.
A living lab is also established in the shopping centre to offer both a new gift shopping destination for consumers and a hub of innovative solutions for retailers. This living lab includes:
- A smart pop-up store featuring Quebec-based products,
- A full showroom of Quebec-based technological solutions made for retailers,
- Specialized support to accelerate the technological transformation of a business,
- A live shopping studio, to allow you to experience this new sales channel. The API advisers will take care of training you and filming your session, and;
- Training on-site.
The Cercle API stopped at Centropolis, DUO|Centre Laval, and Alexis Nihon, and will continue its journey to other Cominar shopping centres across Quebec. Stay tuned by following our networks to know the next stops.
... promote local purchasing and accelerate the digital transformation of businesses through the adoption of Quebec-based technological solutions.
Brand Space (Eläma)
Brand Space was launched at Rockland in October 2017 to showcase a series of unique brands and innovative concepts on a rotating basis. It is the brainchild of Cominar’s Specialty Leasing team and the marketing professionals at Rockland. The basic idea goes like this: make a versatile space in the shopping centre available on a pop-up basis and adapt the space to the needs, values and features of each brand. Ingenious, yes. Bold, yes. Complex… yes.
First up to give this new experience a whirl was Eläma, founded by two fashion-forward sisters from Montreal who had already begun branching out internationally with their high-end, contemporary and sustainability-minded fur and leather creations. They signed up for a five-month stint at Rockland, giving them an offline pied-à-terre to connect directly with shoppers. Eläma had already enjoyed success as part of the Cabinet Éphémère concept, a pop-up shop featuring a range of Quebec designers.
A red-carpet launch was organized to introduce the brand-new concept to some top personalities from the Montreal scene. A video was also produced to explain the Brand Space concept and promote the launch.
Rockland’s Brand Space is an opportunity par excellence for new brands and retailers to test the waters of the Montreal market and discover the multiple and unmatchable benefits of a shopping centre environment. And Cominar makes the experience as easy and hassle-free as possible, with one-on-one support and turnkey services designed with their needs in mind.
As the Brand Space concept adjusts and adapts to successive brands over time, we are sure to find new and effective ways to minimize the effort required and maximize the impact in terms of customer traffic, sales and visibility – both in-mall and through various media.
The resulting media coverage supported Eläma in their efforts to improve their market visibility and connect with new customers. Proof positive that the winning formula developed by the Specialty Leasing team can deliver decisive results in the short term that are bound to pay off over the long term.
Watch for the next partnership at the Rockland Brand Space – to be announced soon!