Nothing only just released its first phone months ago, but that isn’t stopping the company from establishing a physical retail presence. The company is opening its first Nothing Store on 4 Peter Street in London’s fashion-oriented Soho neighborhood sometime “before Christmas” this year. The company is promising a “boutique” rather than the usual tech shop experience, and touts design flourishes inspired by classic chains like Italy’s Olivetti.
The store will offer all of Nothing’s currently small lineup, including the Phone 1, Ear 1 and upcoming Ear Stick. To no one’s surprise, there will be incentives to line up for opening day — you can get free merch and buy one of 100 limited edition Ear Sticks.
The store is a gamble for a two-year-old startup competing against heavyweights in audio and mobile, some of which (such as Apple and Samsung) have much larger retail presences. While Nothing’s store won’t be big, it’s also sitting in one of the posher parts of London. Where the average retail rent in the city is about £64 per square foot, Soho’s is estimated at just under £150. That’s a lot to spend when it’s unclear how customers will respond.
This strategy is familiar, mind you. Apple has long focused on opening stores in high-traffic (and sometimes iconic) locations to catch the eyes of shoppers who wouldn’t otherwise browse technology, and other companies have used similar approaches. Nothing Stores could theoretically make the brand more recognizable, not to mention reinforce its style-oriented image.