A Criminal G, Arona, Italy
Customers come to AcriminalG because they are professionals and are also friendly and they have the right products at the right time. They’ve gained credibility over ten years of events and commitment to the promotion of skateboarding in their area – a commitment the customer tends to recognize and reward.
Please give a brief history of your store including when it was started, who started it, who the owners and key players are.
AcriminalG was founded in 2013/2014 by Giorgio Oreglia and Ada Baronti. In the beginning it was a company in charge of producing and distributing streetwear linked to the world of skateboarding. During the economic crisis that has affected all markets, we have focused on the store, avoiding the risks of distributing and promoting our AcriminalG stuff.
What percentage of your sales are from online business compared to your brick-and-mortar sales?
At the moment 90% of our revenue is derived from the physical store. The online sales are due to contacts via Facebook and email. Before Christmas we will have a completely renewed website with on-line sales.
What are the benefits of having a physical shop over simply having an online store?
The physical store allows you to stay in touch with the reality that surrounds us, support the local scene and sometimes create a local scene from nothing. A good shop is the backbone of any skate scene.
What are five products you couldn’t live without right now?
AcriminalG Skateboard decks, Nike SB, Primitive, Lakai and Diamond.
What are your secrets for selling high-end products?
Be prepared and constantly up to date on the latest trends by following international magazines and blogs, watching videos and never stop to wait for the customers, but explain to them the difference between a good shop and an unqualified point of sale.
Are new lines important to your product mix?
We are creating a new type of product mix, driven by the trend of skate shoes “rest and recovery”; we have included in our sneakers selection some limited “retro running” products. After years of vulcanized soles customers start to look at new technologies in the performance shoes and comfort in chilling.
Did your store’s sales increase or decrease over last year? To what do you attribute your gain or loss in sales? What will you do to either maintain your growth or to reverse the decline?
In the past few years, we have been able to grow and expand our business. We focused on the skateboard, rather than pushing into other boardsports as most did in the 90s. We’ve done this to have more concentration and funds that we have reinvested in order to have more and more products to offer to our customers.
How do you stay in touch with the wants and needs of your customers?
Kids are inspired by videos and the new trends that you could see in them, you could see for example the combination of Polar skates / Dickies pants / Converse and No Comply tricks…
Anyway I remain updated because I am in constant contact with the skate community.
What trends do you see upcoming in skate?
The Converse skateboarding phenomenon has yet to have a full impact on Italy, due to distribution problems.
In the future there will be, in my opinion, the distinction between those who want a super evolved skate shoe and those who remain attached to the vulcanized and a minimal/radical style. I hope that women can returns to our shops and leave the mall stores and global players such as H&M. For me, the accessories of the moment are socks and Five Panel Hats.
What kind of advice can you give other independent retailers who are trying to compete against the big box megastores?
Often in the mega store there isn’t a trained staff. In addition, core shops have available products dedicated to them, which are much more interesting than those intended for a large deployment. Besides the specialized shop is one that provides a complete package of equipment, clothing and especially culture. In Italy we say: nella botte piccola c’è il vino buono!
Does your store sponsor athletes, competitions, etc? If so, what are the benefits to the store and to the boardsports community?
Of course, the AcriminalG Brigade is our official team plus we support guys that deserve discounts on the shoes and decks. A real skate shop must have the team. For us it is a source of pride, a kind of family, in fact our second videos that is coming out will be titled “Family comes first.” The team supports the store by doing propaganda and at the same time pushing the local scene and being present by skating around frequently enough to be seen around to encourage kids to start to skate and become closer to the store.
If you could go back five years what would you do differently?
Nothing, for better or for worse I would do everything the same way. I’m proud of everything we do. We have learned to take pictures, film and edit videos, design boards and do all that was necessary for our work. If mistakes are being made, surely we will have grown from them.