WeWork opens shop with WeMRKT retail concept
WeWork last week unveiled WeMRKT, a retail space dedicated to selling products made by WeWork members, including healthy snacks, office necessities and branded apparel, the company said in a blog post.
The first WeMRKT location is at the company's 205 Hudson address in New York, with more to open in that city and across the country, WeWork said. They benefit from distribution through WeWork partner SnackNation, according to the post.
The 10 products now featured at WeMRKT were chosen in an April competition, with winners demonstrating innovation, eye-catching packaging and a solid business plan, among other things, the company said. Competitions for new products will be held quarterly.
WeWork has branched into various business areas aimed at benefiting its members, including the establishment of a gym in New York, education with the acquisition of coding school Flatiron School and plans for an elementary school, as well as a tie-up with J. Crew.
When the co-working company bought Lord & Taylor's iconic Fifth Avenue property for $850 million in October, it was said to be mulling an expansion into retail, which could include short-term retail leases or incorporating shops into co-working spaces as an amenity for members. WeMRKT appears to be just that.
Lord & Taylor continues to operate in the iconic 5th Avenue space and will do so through this year's holiday season, after which WeWork plans to build its New York headquarters there. Lord & Taylor won't disappear even then, as plans are to leave some 150,000 square feet for a downsized department store on the property.
Although its J. Crew partnership included the development and marketing of work wear, the WeMRKT effort is even more of a retail enterprise than that, considering that WeWork will be more directly involved in helping new brands develop and market their products at a crucial point in their ventures.
"Our goal is to connect today's top emerging brands with key consumers at their most engaged moments," SnackNation CEO Sean Kelly said in the blog post. "I cannot think of a better way to fulfill this mission than by partnering with WeWork and all of the entrepreneurs they serve at their inspiring co-working spaces."
- Retail Dive Is co-working the next hot retail concept?
Follow Daphne Howland on Twitter