A new showroom in Somerville’s Assembly Row sells fashion from small local designers — many of which otherwise operate exclusively online.
The goal, cofounder Kenelly Cineus said, is to promote one-of-a-kind artists in a popular neighborhood, rather than the big brands shoppers see everyday.
“It’s easy to find fast fashion,” he added. “But finding a unique piece from an independent designer who may just sell their products on a website is difficult.”
Here’s how it works: Bogosplit leases out booths to designers for $100 a week. The stands are stocked with samples of their shirts and shoes, and every item is labeled with an individual QR code. While browsing, shoppers scan the code and add items they like to a virtual cart on the Bogosplit website or phone app.
Ultimately, a Bogosplit employee gathers the purchases for the customer. (Designers leave most — or sometimes all — of their inventory at the showroom.) All revenue funnels to the artist.
Cineus said the unconventional retail model frees the designer from the responsibilities of promoting the work themselves. Artists are never required to be present at Bogosplit, as they would at a pop-up shop.
“That’s why this is a needed service for designers who need a storefront willing to showcase their items,” added Keyla Williams, who helps with Bogosplit operations. “Not everyone can be by the booth full-time. People have jobs.”
Currently, the shop features 20 vendors in-person, including Ebony Glass Designers, Oblique Boutique, and Sabrina Ortega Designs. Another 60 designers advertise themselves on the Bogosplit website — a service the company offers for free.
Assembly Row, a mixed-used development, will also be home to almost a dozen additional new businesses in the coming months.
Two stores — and several restaurants — have slated summer opening dates, according to a press release. Those include laser hair removal spot LaserAway and pet wellness clinic Bond Vet. American Eagle, Ashley Furniture, SweatHouz, Parla, Salt + Stone, Union Square Donuts, Juicygreens, and Le Macaron are also soon to open, the release said.
“As new residents and office workers continue to move in, this new wave of tenants only increases the desirability of Assembly Row,” said David Middleton, general manager for Federal Realty at Assembly Row, in a statement.
‘Your home is your dressing room’
What if the mall came to your door?
Enter Santa, a new “instant shopping experience” that launches in Greater Boston on March 1. The startup operates mobile stores in multicolor vans that will soon roam the western suburbs. Each “store” carries fashion, beauty, tech, and home decor items available on demand.
Theoretically, Santa shoppers never have to step outside. Instead, when a van nears a customer’s neck of the woods, the company pings them through the Santa phone application.
“We’re back in your neighborhood right now,” a text reads. “Ready to shop?”
Users can then swipe through inventory on the app — a lá Tinder — for a limited period of time. Between 12 and 60 minutes later, a personal shopper arrives at their front door with purchases in hand. Santa shoppers sift through the haul, consider the items, and return anything they dislike.
“Your home is your dressing room,” cofounder and CEO Roee Adler said in an interview.
In the Dallas-Fort Worth suburbs, Santa runs four trucks and services a “sizable number” of users, Adler added. The startup will soon launch two vans here, aiming to bridge the divide between in-person and online retail in New England as well.
“The overwhelming majority of commerce in the United States is brick and mortar,” Adler said. “And with so many brands being born online, the e-commerce experience isn’t always great. Many people prefer the personal touch and instantaneous nature of buying in store.”
The Santa stock imitates a department store — albeit with inventory that can fit in a van — meaning customers see $150 Ferrah Caddo Bolero hats, $88 Ariana Bohling Belle slippers, and $40 “iPhone rookie” tech sets side by side. Inventory refreshes weekly and is bolstered by some local brands: Dove and Donkey, Noted Candles, and RM Skincare.
The company name, of course, is inspired by all things Christmas.
“We were looking for a name that conveys a sense of joy and discovery,” Adler said. “What’s better than Santa?”