KC's Newest Collective Boutique: Kindred Shops
Tucked inside of Oak Park mall are the Kindred Shops, a collective boutique experience you won't want to miss. We caught up with co-owner Adam Pfeifer to get the low-down on all the fanfare.
First off, what is a collective boutique?
A collective boutique is a store that features product from several different boutique vendors. Sometimes these business owners have other physical locations or online stores, and sometimes they are makers/designers themselves. Collective boutiques give small business owners the opportunity to grow together by operating in high volume retail spaces.
30,000 foot view: what makes Kindred different?
Unlike most collective boutiques, Kindred merchandises all of its product together, cohesively (most collective boutiques assign each vendor a different area in the store for them to “set-up shop”). For us, the drive to do this comes from wanting to make sure that our customers have the best experience possible. Merchandising like this allows customers to shop the store more fluidly and encourages them to experience merchandise from every one of our vendors.
What gave you the idea?
We think retail is having a pivotal moment. As many big box stores close, there’s a new crop of fast-fashion retailers taking their place. While a lot of them are improvements, we want to fight for the little guy. We don’t want a buying team of 5 people living in LA or NYC telling us what we wear or buy in the Midwest. We want our buyers to be our friends, our local style icons, our neighbors. Being a collective allows us 15 different perspectives and you can totally see that in our product mix. We want variety. We want fresh styles coming in every week! We want people to find the pieces that really speak to them. You can’t always find that at a national retailer where they’re buying for 500 stores across the entire US. And being a collective empowers small business owners to grow their team, add stability to their business, and build a stronger business.
How many boutiques do you have at Kindred?
Right now we have over fifteen local sellers working with us at Kindred including some specialty vendors like vintage curators, jewelry vendors, home and gift shops, etc. We also have some of Kansas City’s favorite shops like Adorn by Jewelry Girl, Ruby Rouge, Scoobie, and Made in KC.
What inspired the design of the space? Can you tell us about the art installations?
We wanted a space that was as engaging as the product is. To accomplish that, we tried to add points of interest throughout the store so you’ll see some large scale installations and art pieces that can be used to present product, take photos, etc. We also wanted to make the fitting rooms a really social experience, so we added some warmth and expanded the space. We then designed a system that encourages people to interact with one another and encourages shoppers to take part in the communal nature of a collective boutique.
What type of shopper will like Kindred?
We really think that almost everyone is going to find something at Kindred that they like. It sounds like a gimmick, but that range of product is one of the best parts about having such a diverse group of buyers. We have shoppers in their teens and we have shoppers in their seventies. It’s been fun to see daughters bring their moms in and vise versa. If you want to support local small business owners, we want to have something for you.
Are there any specific pieces that you’re really excited about in the shop now?
As the seasons change it’s great to watch what our vendors have picked out for a new time of year. We’ve got a lot of warm weather choices; from airy tops to flowy dresses and fun rompers. It’s a good time of year because the shop feels so alive with color and print. It’s got a real sense of spirit right now.
What’s the future of Kindred? Can we expect to see other locations?
We’ve been really lucky to have had a great response. The collective model has a lot of potential to work both inside and outside of Kansas City and that’s exciting. We’re working hard to pursue growth with this model in other cities that love their small business owners like we do here in KC. Kindred is really about community and having that touchpoint with your locality, and any future stores will certainly continue that tradition of being focused locally.