Saint Cream or Cream is located in Hamburg, Germany (St. Georg district). Cream opened it’s doors in 2009 and has grown into a strong retail location that services the needs of many that are seeking clothing, accessories and of course sneakers such as New Balance. We recently caught up with Till to talk about their relationship/ thoughts on the New Balance brand. (All photos provided by Cream)
How do you feel about the currently state of the sneaker game?
I feel that that besides a general preference for a certain brand, customers tend to be more and more interested in the production and resulting quality of sneakers. ‘Made in China’ does not mean that it’s a bad product but it has become kind of a stamp that says “low quality”. I am very happy that more and more customers are asking questions about the production ond origin of the items in our store.
New Balance’s factory’s in the UK and US are a good example to explain how production in Europe or the US is different from production in Far East. The willingness to pay more for a made in Europe or made in the US product is slowly increasing.
What do you feel is the most important part of a New Balance shoe? Why?
For a lot of young customers it’s the signature N. They identify with the brand and want to show their affiliation to a group of New Balance wearing cool people. The actual model is not that important as long as the N is big. A couple of weeks ago a young girl asked me about “the nike shoes with the big N”. For customers over 20 and for me (over 30) it’s the wearing comfort. You made very good experiences with a certain New Balance model in the past, then you stick to that specific model because it’s super comfortable. You will find New Balances that fit your feet perfectly weather they are long and slim or short and wide or whatever weirdo shape your feet are. I love my U420s because my weirdo feet are size US13 and look much smaller in New Balance 420s… and the are comfy, too.
Why is it important to carry New Balance at your store?
New Balance sneakers blend in perfectly with our menswear selection, e.g. Norse Projects, Levi’s Vintage, Pendleton, Kitsuné. New Balance’s work for street style outfits as well as for more preppy looks. They have a classic sneaker look which also works great with suits in my opinion. Having the special editions is also a statement for us as a retailer, like having Vans Vault or a Nike quickstrike account.
Do you see a trend in New Balance bought in your region?
In Spring / Summer 13 a lot of Hamburger customers went for the classics U420 or ML574 in bright colors like yellow and orange. We also have a lot of people from Denmark coming to shop at St. Cream, they go for the Made in UK collection, M1500 Made in UK is very sought after. Also, the M577 Made in UK were very strong in sales. The classics are still strong but at the same time, people see them in the streets quite often and ask for models that are not so widely spread.
How do you feel about the amount of New Balance being released in the last year or so?
For us as a retailer it’s good to have a lot of New Balance’s to choose from. We usually order about 8 different New Balance models each season, so there really is a lot to choose from. Sometimes it gets tricky because you want to order more styles. Being in business for over 4 years, the product selection is easier now. Still not easy though. I think, that our average customer doesn’t know how many different New Balance’s there are each season and that is good because the variety could become confusing.
What is the best selling New Balance at your store?
U 420s really sell fast for Men as well as for Women.
How long have you carried New Balance at your store?
Since spring / summer 2011
What do you take into account when choosing a New Balance shoe for your store?
– Will our customers like to wear the shoe?
– Would I like to wear the shoe?
– Is the distribution of the shoe wide or narrow?
– How does it blend in to our total selection of Menswear, Footwear and Accessories for that season?
… and the price of course
What do you see New Balance doing differently than other brands?
I like how New Balance connects brand history to special editions. For example, the farmers market pack for fall / winter 2012. The 30th anniversary of New Balance’s UK Flimby factory was the cause for that edition, the colors and materials are inspired by the produce of the local Cumbrian region. New Balance is the brand when it comes to classic sneakers. They don’t have to invent totally new sneaks every year like other brands do. Still, New Balance is perceived as a modern brand. So, New Balance’s are modern classics, not dusted classics.
What ways are you using social media to push your store?
It’s basically Facebook that we use to inform our customer base about new arrivals.
Can we expect any new collaborations with New Balance and your store?
Not in the next few months but if you think further ahead, a colab is very possible.
Any last thoughts or comments on New Balance you want to leave us with?
The rise in retail prices for New Balance’s in the past year didn’t scare the customers away. As I mentioned before, people get that quality products are not cheap. I think that this trend will become stronger, in some regions it is already more of a movement. Smaller production numbers and high quality products that you don’t buy for just one season.