FLEXETAIL // MEDIA KIT
Why mobile retail?
“The problem with brick + mortar retail is actually the bricks and the mortar.”
– Joel Kamm, Flexetail founder and CEO
Retail is changing, and with Flexetail, Joel Kamm is building for the future. In an on-demand world with sky-high rents, brick and mortar retail isn’t always a feasible – or smart – solution. By designing and building flexible mobile shops, Flexetail gives brands an affordable opportunity to test products, explore new markets, or launch a new line.
What makes Flexetail different?
Flexetail units are built on a patent-pending platform; taking just seconds to lower to the ground and allowing customers to easily access the shop. The merchandise walls are fully customizable – retail partners can choose from vertical standards, slat wall shelving, a peg wall, or a blackboard. Run on a solar-powered rechargeable battery, the units are off the grid, quiet and clean. A flat-screen TV and a Bose sound bar set the tone, allowing retail partners to stream music or play video to further enhance the setting. Flexetail also provides users with foot traffic data for detailed sales analysis.
With a background in product and retail design, Joel Kamm has thought of every detail. From their distinctive shape and eye-catching shou sugi ban exterior to the ability to move anywhere, Flexetail provides a truly fresh take on modern retail.
Activation partners have come from the following industries:
- Consumer goods (Sh*t that I Knit, Local Maker)
- Food + Drink (Granny Squibb’s Iced Tea)
- Sports (Bruins, Hydrow)
- Flowers (Buds)
- Services (Gus & Ruby Letterpress)
- Institutions (MIT, Kendall Square Association, Stoneham Bank)
Founded in 2017 by Joel Kamm and Lucia Kamm
Babson and MIT Alumni, with work experience at Gillette, Procter & Gamble, Trip Advisor, Staples, New Balance, iRobot and more.
Based in Woburn, MA
Q&A with founder Joel Kamm
How long have you been working on your idea?
I feel like I’ve been working on this idea my whole life. I’ve long thought that the idea of forcing people to go out of their way to get what they want or need was outdated. Today, with the “I want to shop now and where I am” mentality, paired with the human desire to touch, experience, and interact with things (and people!), the opportunity for true on-demand experiential retail is finally here.
It was on a flight to run a marathon in Duluth, Minnesota in 2017, that I really put pen to paper. By the end of the flight my notebook was filled with notes and sketches, and by the end of the marathon, I had worked out many of the details. Back in Boston, I began working with an architect who was excited about the tiny house movement and a welder who was willing to take some risks – and the design and framework for our first unit was born. We debuted the Flexetail unit in June of 2018 at PVDFest in Providence with a popular local iced tea company, and hit the ground running.
How are things going so far? High points? Low points?
It’s been a great ride so far. The feedback from our users has been really positive, and each one has made between 4-7x ROI. We love being part of these brands’ and entrepreneurs’ stories.
My highest high and my lowest low so far came from being on the road with the Flexetail – that’s where the action happens. One of our best ideas to date is to add signage to the rear of the units that reads “This is not a Tiny House. It’s a Retail Store.” This addition has paid off several times so far, but my favorite story comes from the time when we were barreling down the Mass Pike through the city of Boston when we got a call. On the other line was the VP of Innovation for TD Garden, where the Boston Bruins and the Celtics play. She asked if we were currently driving down the highway with a black retail store behind us – I replied that we were – and she proceeded to tell me that she almost caused an accident because she was so distracted by our concept and wanted to connect immediately. She passed along our information to the director of the pro-shop, and long, wonderful story short – that’s how we ended up working with the Bruins on the Fan Fest tour of New England.
And now the rough stuff. It was on the last leg of the Bruins tour when I was moving the Flexetail unit from Hartford to Providence. My GPS took me on a back road, and somewhere near the Rhode Island border, I felt began to feel my truck jerk. I looked back and noticed one of the wheels was wobbling. I immediately pulled over to check things out, and saw that there were only two lug nuts holding the tire on – the other six had fallen off. Once I was able to get my head around the fact I was MOMENTS away from seeing my life savings and dreams literally crashing behind me in my rearview mirror, I realized I didn’t have the parts to fix it. Luck was on my side that day, as a curious passerby stopped to help me – and he just happened to own an auto body shop just down the road. He helped me jack up the unit, secure the wheel, and sent me on my way. The last twelve miles to Providence were the longest of my life. But we survived to live another day – and the activation the next day was a huge success.
What does the future look like for Flexetail?
We see Flexetail being used by every digitally native consumer goods company as a way to get their products in front of customers and provide that human touch. We see large CPG companies using Flexetail to launch products or set up their own tiny stores. We see existing brick and mortar retailers using Flexetail to test new site locations to make sure that it’s worth the long-term investment. We also see Flexetail as a great opportunity for small businesses to get in front of customers in a high-impact way.
CONTACT // Shelby Larsson, Media + Communications: firstname.lastname@example.org