This is the Breast Idea Ever – (comes with a bad pun)

I have been thinking a lot about retail lately – that and breastfeeding. The former because it a life-long interest/passion (I know I am an odd one) and the later because I am working on one of the most exciting projects of my career with my longtime client Bravado Designs.

Obviously Bravado retails (and wholesales) bras – but that is not the retail I am thinking about. I have been watching retail spaces empty out – and worse, watching designer collections shrink and even begin to diminish in quality, creativity and risk-taking. Both feel quite sad to me. And there is no doubt that the recession has not done its worst yet. Actually, last season retail sales like Saks’ 50% off already half off prices  (oh did we score on that one – have I told you about Bob’s amazing new coat?) have led buyers to bring in less inventory. Likely sales will happen earlier (like this weekend at Saks – 40% ) to move existing inventory before that much money is left on the table again and we won’t see mega savings like last year again in 2010  – but I digress.

I’ve traveled a lot this week and for some reason, have retail spaces on my mind.  I am thinking about pop up retail (I adore this concept, always have – it is such a buzz worthy proposition no matter which way you slice it) and reading up on the the latest on the trend in Time Magazine.  

I am reminded of the empty storefronts and how ten+ years ago I filled them with art installations in downtown DC as part of a joint initiative between CuDC  and Douglas Jemal  Thinking about  how forward-thinking (and yeah not always fair to the artists, but ok) his vision was and how the art invigorated the then up and coming corridors of Penn Quarter and  later spaces through out the city. Thinking that model was a good one…Doug Jemal  made good use of empty space and it worked, quite well.

And so here is where I am, considering the fate of commercial real estate- – (free standing retail, malls, etc. ), and thinking about breastfeeding and all I know about new mothers (which is a decent amount). Dare I to say that few people are thinking these two thoughts together all that often.  And so in an instant - I am clear and quite certain that pop-up nursing lounges make sense – they are an elegant solution  - fill empty spaces with the amenities to attract and super-serve customers. Make customers absolutely certain that they are wanted and appreciated. Create buzz, excitement and community. Pop-up nursing lounges are a glaringly obvious strategy for making lemonade (really good,  all natural lemonade). Nursing mothers overwhelmingly (85% according to recent BBIC data) seek out retail and restaurants that are welcoming. Well that is easy enough to build (and easy enough to remove when the climate changes). In the meantime,  we  are looking at pure gain – all around.  Businesses show their breastfeeding friendliness and open the door to a powerful and loyal market segment. Literally breasts mean business. And pop-up nursing concepts are a low cost, low risk way to invite in new mothers (and their dollars) to brighten up dark, empty retail shells and welcome new life (literally, again) into otherwise dead space.

So ok – you Mr. or Ms. super retail developer – you see it don’t you? But, you may not see exactly how to get from this brilliant plan of mine to some place of tactical excellence and glory – but I do. Seriously, I ‘ve got it all right in my little head (and contacts file). So let’s talk….

PS – steal this idea and I will come with my friends and make you hurt.