What makes Pirch a challenger brand to watch in 2016? A few hundred words or pictures simply won’t do justice to that question. The real answer is to that you have to set out and experience for yourself one of their dozen or so showrooms across the US.
Pirch is unlike anything you will have ever seen at a home design, decorating or appliance store. It’s a brilliant example of ‘overlaying’ the rules of another category or industry to create a disruptive and compelling experience. In Pirch’s case, their store experience is the thoughtful and intentional product of combining the human empathy one sees in the Spa & Hospitality industries, with the design aesthetic of an Apple Store or Tesla, and the story-telling of a good novel or hollywood movie.
This is not your ordinary kitchen, bath or outdoor appliance or design experience you might get at a local Home Depot, Lowes or a neighborhood appliance retailer. According to Pirch Founder and CEO, Jeffery Sears, "Our company was born from empathy and frustration…We asked, 'how is it that the very products adorning our homes and serving as backdrops to priceless memories, are presented in such an uninspiring manner?' So, we decided to do something about that.”
And they have certainly accomplished that. They describe their showrooms as having a "try before you buy" concept that features functional and emotional stories with live cooktops, ovens, refrigerators and grills, as well as working showers, sinks and baths – all presented in a warm and welcoming space by a “joyful” staff of experts poised to help. They offer a ‘fully interactive’ showroom that offers their guests a full multi-sensory engagement leaving them educated, informed and awe-struck whether shopping for a single appliance or looking for inspiration for a complete renovation.
It all starts at the front door, where everyone who enters the showroom is greeted by their Bliss Cafe, serving complimentary signature coffee, tea and juice beverages. The Company ‘sacrifices’ doing traditional advertising in order to ‘overcommit’ to free food and drink at the Café and live demonstrations on the products they offer. Guests are invited to embark upon a journey they describe as "Inspiration to Dream to Education to Creation and Realization." The average guest spends more than 2+ hours in their stores! In Bath and Spa department, which they call the ’Sanctuary,' they indeed have fully functioning showers and fixtures, and you can make an appointment to take an aromatherapy shower to help you decide on the right fixtures to design the relaxing retreat of your dreams. You really have to see it, and try it, to believe it.
Beyond their innovative concept and design, Pirch is also a shining example of a brand that leads with their beliefs and convictions and is driven by the strong sense of cause and mission we often see with successful Challenger Brands. In Pirch’s case, they believe that kitchen, bath and outdoor appliances and accessories are but a means to a much greater end in life. Namely, they aim to create joyous, memorable moments in the here-and-now that make life meaningful and worth living.
So when they present their offer to you, it’s not about ‘what to buy’ but instead ‘what it does.’ It’s not about technical specs and Thermal BTUs, but the potential stories, memories and experiences their products will help you create. It’s not about the Viking Oven/Range, it’s about the gooey homemade chocolate cookies it will produce for you to share with your children and neighbors. It’s not about the Outdoor Grill and fireplace, but the unforgettable Super Bowl party with friends you will host in the space of your dreams.
Pirch puts their beliefs right out there for everyone to see. It’s on their website and their Manifesto to Joy is engraved right behind the Bliss Café for everyone to read just what they are standing up for. If you want to experience a compelling example of how belief and conviction and a strong sense of cause and mission can drive everything in a company’s operations, just visit a Pirch store.
Finally, Pirch is an excellent reminder that people build successful challenger brands and businesses. Pirch has a unique employee training program that requires every employee to complete a 5-day training experience on how to “live joyfully,' led by the CEO and Head of HR (a.k.a. Their ‘Ambassador of Joy’).
They place much more emphasis on human empathy, emotions and story-telling than training their people on technical specs and selling processes or inventory management. As their CEO puts it, “…retailers have done a poor job of connecting with customers. The key to selling is to forget sales and put the customer’s experience first. Our job is to make every guest feel like their time in our store is the best part of their day, whether or not they buy anything….Our training is about investing in the people who represent the culture we define….The emotion of the stores emanates from the smiles on people’s faces and the passion they have about serving others. You can’t sustain a culture unless you have a foundation from the training first.”
If you want to see a company culture come to life, just visit a Pirch store and ask to meet any associates. They all ‘walk the talk’ of their manifesto and beliefs.
And what about the results? Pirch has invested over $100MM building their showrooms, and they have already received numerous accolades and awards for their innovative design and showroom experience, too many to list here, but easy to find on their website. And the awards seem to be translating to sales and profits. According to the company, they claim sales of more than $3000/square foot, which would place them in the top-5 of US retail, behind the likes of Apple and Tiffany. As Pirch expands nationally in 2016, they are most definitely a challenger to watch and experience for yourself.