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Style, innovation & equality

Sneaker enthusiast opens self-service shop, ”partly out of necessity and partly due to trends in the industry”

Andreas Malo Dyb invites everyone coming to the store and let him know their thoughts, as ”we are still learning”.

Words: Johan Magnusson

Only two years after the U.S.-born Norwegian moved back to Norway, at the age of 13, he decided to start his own shoe brand. However, he spent many years for preparation.

— I studied Industrial Design in Milan, he says, and then worked as a shoe manufacturer for one of the last shoe factories in Norway before working as a designer and developer for several Norwegian outdoor footwear brands. In 2013 I felt ready to start my own brand of sneakers specifically designed for our harsh Nordic climate.

Living here, Malo Dyb describes, we’ve usually had two options: wet sneakers or rugged mountain boots. Kastel was born out of a desire for something different, also embracing a more clean Scandinavian design with inspiration from our natural surroundings.

— In short, we wanted to make smart solutions cool, which is a theme we see growing in many other categories and markets now.

And they’ve just opened a new self-service retail space in Oslo.

— The idea of a self-service shop arose partly out of necessity and partly due to trends in the industry. The goal was to offer a frictionless shopping experience with the focus on the customer, says Malo Dyb, continuing,

— We are a relatively small player in a competitive market and have had to come up with new ideas. E-commerce is growing, and we wanted to find a compromise between the digital shopping experience and a physical store.

How does it work?

— The customer can see our entire collection on the wall, then find their size which they can try on. Then we have a screen in the store they can order from. Via the Miinto network this order is then available for any of our wholesalers to capture and process. They are then responsible for packing and sending the shoes home to the customer.

What has been the biggest challenge?

— To create a seamless experience from the physical world to the digital. We need to create a very intuitive system so the customer is able to complete the order completely on their own. This is brand new territory and requires that we learn and adapt quick, so I am sure our system may look completely different in a year after we have tested this for a while. If anyone is coming to Oslo, please come check out our store and let us know your thoughts. We are still learning.

What do you think about the future of retail?

— I think we are going to see an incredible development of hybrid stores and self-service combined with traditional retail. We will see a shift in the way we use retail space. When you remove the stock from the retail space you can use that space differently or manage with a lot less space. This opens up a lot of possibilities if you are creative.

How will you develop your store and brand?

— We want to see how creative we can get. Maybe it will be a combined cocktail bar and shoe store in the near future? Otherwise we are putting a lot of focus on sustainability, not just on a product level but systematic in terms of circular economy and shared economy, says Malo Dyb, adding,

— Being a shoe brand today you need to disrupt way beyond just the product, and that is what we want to do.