Foot Locker’s women’s athleticwear chain, Six:02, launched in 2012, but it flew relatively under the radar until 2016, when it first teamed up with Fenty Puma by Rihanna.
Last September, the retailer first teamed up with the label to launch its first apparel line. On top of two dedicated pop-up shops in New York and Los Angeles, Six:02 held Fenty Puma takeovers in seven of its 32 stores, taking out all other brands in those locations for five days. The icing on the cake was a visit from Rihanna to Six:02’s New York location, where she mingled with a mix of consumers and media.
Today, the partnership enters its second go-around: Six:02 is debuting two New York pop-up shops and a pop-up bus celebrating the drop of Fenty Puma’s fall/winter 2017 collection launch, dubbed Fenty University for its American collegiate-wear inspiration. These activations, along with the Six:02 stores and e-commerce site, are the only places outside of Puma’s own outlets where customers can purchase today’s Fenty University drop. Other partners, including Bloomingdales and Luisa Via Roma, will roll a smaller selection of the products out in the coming days.
Kirta Carroll, the vice president of marketing for Six:02 said the relationship has absolutely increased her store’s name recognition. “It’s hard to get a bigger name or social following than Rihanna’s,” she said. “It really helped put Six:02 on the map and showed us to be a brand doing interesting things in this space that aren’t as formulaic as you might see with other brands.”
Rihanna has 57 million followers on Instagram, compared to Six:02’s nearly 88,000.
The partnership has also increased Six:02’s sales in a meaningful way, said Carroll, noting that the retailers has seen particular interest online. “Our customers love it,” she said. “The products offer a different silhouette in the marketplace and have changed the way people think about activewear.”
A bus pass given out on social media for consumers to access Six:02’s Fenty Puma bus today
Puma had been a longstanding vendor within Six:02 stores when it first announced its partnership with Rihanna in 2014. When the first Fenty Puma design — Puma’s original Basket shoe with a creeper midsole added on — debuted in September of 2015 and sold out in three hours, Carroll and her team saw an opportunity. “We felt we could deepen the relationship and build something exciting with them,” she said. Six:02 eventually sold Puma on the idea that its footprint in key markets offline and its robust online presence would give the brand a leg-up.
“Through our stores, they could reach the girl they wanted to reach to drive their women’s business,” said Carroll. What’s more, unlike some other retailers, Six:02 was open to collaborating on the overall vision. “If you look at the other places where Fenty Puma is sold, a lot of them are on different tiers, and [the setup] doesn’t highlight what Puma is great at,” she said.
While Six:02 sells and works with other brands including Nike, Asics and Beyoncé’s Ivy Park, this is its largest activation to date. The pop-up events are being supported by social media videos and giveaways, as well as targeted influencer and media placements. Six:02 windows across the country will be Fenty Puma–themed, and all store associates will be decked out in the line, the merits of which they’ve been thoroughly educated on. “It’s a fun way for the other markets outside of New York to still experience the launch,” explained Carroll.
As for Fenty driving consumers towards their own-brand sales, Carroll believes the more noise, the better. “The more that consumers see it in the marketplace, the more they’ll want it and want to know where to get it,” she said. “We can capitalize on that market buzz.”