GUILD to change business model

Dunedin Designed Inc (DDI), the society behind the Dunedin design store GUILD, will change the format of the project next year as it seeks to expand its presence around the country.

A series of pop-up retail events is planned to replace the fixed space at 45 Moray Place. The new model will allow a wider range of designers to be part of GUILD events and extend the geographical reach of Dunedin design, utilising a database of curated Guild-affiliated designers.

DDI will manage GUILD pop-up retail events in locations outside Dunedin and during key periods in Dunedin, including iD Fashion Week and at Christmas.

The pilot project for this new format is the current GUILD popup shop in Oamaru, which has exceeded all expectations, reaching the projected sales target for the four weeks within its opening week.

“GUILD is the first major project for Dunedin Designed Inc and we are very proud of what we have achieved for our designers. We have built up an enviable following and brand, thanks to the unique collective nature of the model and the hard work of our group. Now it is time to capitalise on the value we have created by extending our reach beyond the traditional single store. We are excited for this next phase for Guild, the flexibility it gives us and what it means for the promotion of Dunedin design” says Emily Cooper, chair of the society.

“GUILD has generated $450,000 in sales for its designers since 2015 and 90% of that money goes to the designers. Our model means retail prices can be kept low for shoppers and designers are able to choose the stock they offer for sale. Often these are one-off designs. It’s all about not restricting creativity due to the usual commercial pressures that makers face, and making Dunedin design accessible to shoppers.”

Since it’s launch, GUILD has showcased over 120 resident and guest designers in the store, including many design students from Otago Polytechnic.

Guild will continue its online presence via social media and its website. Linking to achievements, activities, news, promotions and websites of past designers who have been retailers at Guild, this enables a contact point and brand association for all retailers. This extends the association of the Guild brand nationwide and fortifies the brand identity developed from its first four years.

The store was originally conceptualised by a small group of Dunedin designers looking for a new and interesting way to reach customers in a highly competitive commercial climate.

The current store is staffed entirely by the designers, and boasts everything from luxe and zero waste fashion to quirky homewares, original art prints, artisan gifts and distinctive jewellery. The store at 45 Moray Place, Dunedin will be open until Christmas.