Some might wonder why we chose to highlight brick-and-mortar shops amid our new normal. Since the onset of the pandemic, we’ve experienced firsthand the wonderful world of e-commerce. However, our restricted lifestyles have also helped us realize what kind of person we are, and subsequently, what gives us strength to keep going. For example, some people get energy from the ambience of a restaurant or its bustling environment more than the food. And some people enjoy the process of discovering new things in a brick-and-mortar shop more than the actual products. It doesn’t matter how great e-commerce services or algorithms get—these experiences will be forever nonpareil.

The diverse shops we are featuring here in The Shop were selected for their emphasis on precisely this kind of experience. We hope to answer the question of “Why do we need physical stores in this age?” with unique and compelling reasons from each shop that we introduce. Interestingly, the shops we highlighted in cities like London, Tokyo, Berlin, and Seoul share a common preoccupation with their spaces and how to fill them. These shops focus on how to cultivate both the owner-to-customer and customer-to-customer relationships, how to accept the anxiety of these times with grace and adaptability, and how to utilize space as a medium for sensory experiences.
Such examples are spread across the globe: Mo-no-ha, a Seoul-based commercial space in search of Korea’s traditional aesthetics; Muachi, an introduction to moon jars and vintage furniture from around the world, along with many daily items; Blue Mountain School, a London-based fashion select shop also operating a restaurant and gallery; and Liberia, a bookstore that categorize books by unique keywords such as time and space, utopia, and identity. Many brick-and-mortar shops deliberately choose the neighborhoods where they will set up and establish their identities there. To say that these shops become the creative forerunners of any industry doesn’t seem far off the mark.

While shops featured in The Shop differ in sizes and industries, they work in the same way that they continue to verify the values they pursue and transfer their business roadmap in the physical space. The book describes how Freitag, Aesop, and Muji have demonstrated their philosophies and future strategies through physical spaces. Gildas Loaëc, founder of Maison Kitsune, and Alasdair Fenning, head of retail for Rapha Asia-Pacific at Rapha, share their ideas and thoughts through interviews with The Shop.

The first issue of the year is incredibly meaningful to us. We reflect on our bookmak- ing process and the messages we hope to convey to our readers, gathering inspiration for the rest of the year. It’s like cracking open a New Year’s Eve fortune cookie. After presenting The Home, we’ve decided to introduce shops this time. We hope that readers walk away feeling a little more hopeful, a little more charged up. Because sometimes, a modicum of inspiration is more powerful than high aspirations.
Some might wonder why we chose to highlight brick-and-mortar shops amid our new normal. Since the onset of the pandemic, I’ve experienced firsthand the wonderful world of e-commerce. However, my restricted lifestyle has also helped me realize what kind of person I am, and subsequently, what gives me strength to keep going. For ex- ample, I get energy from the ambience of a restaurant or its bustling environment more than the food. And I enjoy the process of discovering new things in a physical shop more than the actual products. It doesn’t matter how great e-commerce services or al- gorithms get—these experiences will be forever nonpareil.
The diverse shops we are featuring here in The Shop were selected for their emphasis on precisely this kind of experience. We hope to answer the question of “Why do we need physical stores in this age?” with unique and compelling reasons from each shop that we introduce. Interestingly, the shops we highlighted in cities like London, To- kyo, Berlin, and Seoul share a common preoccupation with their spaces and how to fill them. These shops focus on how to cultivate both the owner-to-customer and cus- tomer-to-customer relationships, how to accept the anxiety of these times with grace and adaptability, and how to utilize space as a medium for sensory experiences. The only thing that differs is their individual modes of expression. Many brick-and-mortar shops deliberately choose the neighborhoods where they will set up and establish their identities there. To say that these shops become the creative forerunners of any indus- try doesn’t seem far off the mark.
Looking over what our correspondents and editors discovered at each different shop made me visualize what makes me feel good, too. Perusing items that the owners curat- ed with care, sharing the thrill that other shoppers experience while searching for that special something, holding an item in my hand and feeling its weight but still being indecisive on whether to buy it or not. Perhaps we go to shops for the innumerable mi- cro-experiences and activations that can only happen in these physical spaces. In this respect, the opportunity cost of our time and energy becomes null and void. Optimistic that brick-and-mortar shops around the world will triumph over these hard times and offer even richer interactions in the future, I sat down for a talk with B’s publisher Suy- ong Joh.

Preface


SPECIFIC STORIES

Blue Mountain School

Skwat

Brain Dead Studios

And more


THE INTERPLAY

Eatrip Soil

Mo-No-Ha Hannam

And more


PERSONAL TASTE

Libreria

Darklands

And more


SPIRIT OF THE TIMES

Muachi

Deutsche Spirituosen Manufaktur

Heath Ceramics

And more


BRAND


STORY


PUBLICATION RIGHT

Publisher Suyong Joh
Executive Director Myungsoo Kim
Content & Editorial Director Eunsung Park
Lead Editor Jaewoo Seo
Editors Narae Kim, Sol Lyu, Heewon Shin
Art Direction & Design Yuwon Choi
Photographer Miyeon Yoon
Marketing Hyunjoo Kim, Yeubin Kim
Finance Hyosun Hong
Sales & Distribution Suyeon Kim, Kiran Kim, Soojin Song
Managing & Editing (English Edition) Rayna Kim
Translation (English Edition) Rancy Kim, Bongah Shin, Hyejoo Lee, Seongae Yang, Soonok Hwang
Copy Editing (English Edition) Sarah Kessler-Jang