SNEAKER NEWS: Urban Jungle and Black Box continue to blur the line between retail and online, as eCommerce sites hit all-time highs in 2020
Streetwear Fashion is all the rave right now but before mainstream brands even ever considered rolling out their own ‘street-inspired’ collections, Urban Jungle and later Black Box had occupied the scene for a while, establishing a solid client base in Southern Europe.
Urban Jungle was first launched in Malta in the 1990s but as of 2006, the concept quickly spread through Italy, Spain, France, Morocco and Algeria, and other locations. The brand presents the best of streetwear from NIKE, Adidas, Converse, Puma, Vans, Champion, and many other brands.
Along its journey, Urban Jungle forged collaboration with original streetwear iconic brands like Obey, Alife, SSUR, Staple (who collaborated with NIKE) who recognise it as a brand and influential player in the sneaker culture.
The store went online with urbanjunglestore.com in early 2010 and in these 10 years provided customers with a selection of brands and products, from Footwear and Apparel to Accessories, Magazine, collectable pop culture and Japanese toys as well as books that represent the DNA of the streetwear and sneaker culture. For a full list click here.
Black Box – a natural evolution
In 2016, the directors behind Urban Jungle, identified a new opportunity in the market – high-end streetwear. In comes the game changer, Black Box, which was a natural evolution of Urban Jungle.
Black Box takes street culture up a notch introducing the new concept of ‘Top Tier’ Sneakers targeting high-end streetwear labels with an emphasis on Japanese brands, sporting a host of Limited Editions/Qs/Tier zero products released by the sport industry through this High End Boutique channel.
The concept store, Black Box currently present in Rome and Naples, is the perfect habitat for pioneers, trendsetters, and influencers, and is frequented by hip sneaker community members looking for the latest trends such as the most recent Air Jordan release, Yeezy or other super limited-edition releases. Both brands go beyond fashion, making streetwear a lifestyle – a way to live, how to navigate through your everyday life.
Retail and Technology work hand in hand
As from its infancy in 2018, Black Box adapted a ‘digital-first’ approach with the online store launching in tandem with the opening of its first brick and mortar store.
In just over 2 years, the store already has a multimillion + euro story of success to tell. The brands offered through blackboxstore.com include Maharishi, White Mountaineering, Y3, Clot, Pleasures, Chinatown Market, Medicom Toy, Rizzoli Books, Nike, Jordan, Adidas, Yeezy, Puma, Converse, Vans and many others. Check out the full list here.
An Agile Online Set-up for both online stores
Through an agile logistics setup, the online stores – urbanjunglestore.com and blackboxstore.com, serve clients across the globe, barring the limitations imposed by certain brands. The average transit time is 24 hours in Italy, 3 days in Europe and 5-7 days in the rest of the world.
COVID-19 consolidates current trends
Whereas COVID-19 has posed its fair share of challenges on the brick and mortal retail industries, it has offered a great opportunity to online stores. In fact, urbanjunglestore.com and blackboxstore.com saw their sales soar to a whopping 80%!
As Urban Jungle and Black Box’s Brand Director states: “COVID-19 accelerated the digital transformation and may possibly close 2020 with a 100% increase in online sales. For 2021/2024 we forecast a 30% year on year growth, particularly through a huge investment in software migration to new technologies which will support this growth and enable us to add on a variety of technical features.”
A robust Marketing Strategy
Gianluca Salute, Brand Director for Urban Jungle and Black Box states how “after having worked within the streetwear/sport/sneakers industry for over 30 years, it is now more than ever time to establish and understand our objectives, stay as close as possible to our consumers so as to understand and sometimes even preempt their needs and expectations, whilst continuously seeking to be a step ahead in terms of innovation. This we do with great love and passion for the business we have worked so hard to cultivate to what it is today.”
This success is backed by a robust marketing strategy through storytelling which spans social media, real-life events targeted specifically to ‘sneaker heads’ and all those who embrace the street culture. The brands have a unique way of connecting with its target audience through carefully curated content.
A Bright Future in Europe and Africa
The future looks bright for both Urban Jungle and BLACK BOX as well as the brands who choose to ride their band wagon.
“COVID-19 has caused us to take some hard decisions across Europe, but in 2021 we seek to take our instore digital experience up a notch whilst blurring the line between brick and mortal even further. We are excited about our journey and want to continue amplifying the message of the brands we represent while being a true authenticator through our storytelling”
An expansion plan is also in place for Africa. Urban Jungle is present in Morocco, Casablanca, Tangier, most recently Algiers and another store is planned to open in the country’s capital city in Rabat by 2021. The African young consumer is thirsty for street fashion and this is what we seek to provide within these territories.
Both Urban Jungle and Black Box are owned and represented by Hudson Group, a retailer and distributor in Southern Europe and Africa. For more details visit www.hudson.com.mt.