The one year shop

A new fashion store in Berlin, the Comme des Gar?ons Guerrilla Store, will stay open for a year and then close whether or not it makes money, according to this article in the NY Times.

Instead of spending millions to build or renovate a building, Comme des Gar?ons spent just $2,500 to fix up a former bookshop in the historic Mitte district. Because the company doesn’t plan to stay long in the 700-square-foot space, it didn’t bother to remove the name of the previous tenant from the windows. Advertising consisted of 600 posters placed around the city, and word of mouth.

“Of course it seems outrageous to close something once it becomes a success, and I think we will be successful,” said Adrian Joffe, who conceived the store with his wife and partner, Rei Kawakubo, the avant-garde Japanese designer. “But to be creative at anything takes an unbelievable amount of energy, and the minute you start to feel content with your success is when you lose it. You don’t want to get too comfortable.”

I love this idea for two reasons: When you realize the impermanent nature of your ventures, you’re more free to experiment and try things out. You’re building for today, not for posterity. Also the low-budget approach speaks to me. Doing more with less.

This is essentially what we try to do in the happy at work project. We have no time limit (maybe we should have), but we’ll only be around for as long as we’re needed. If the need for our services goes away or if somebody appears who does a better job than us, we’ll cheerfully close shop.

And we’re operating on a shoestring budget. This is partly due to the fact that we have no money, but there are some very positive side effects of not starting an operation to grandly. Of having to prioritze and to substitute creativity for money. This is also partly the reasoen why we haven’t sought any public funding.

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