In January 2013, AETHER founders Jonah Smith and Palmer West, self-described ‘outdoor enthusiasts who live in the city’ opened their first stand-alone retail store called AETHERsf in Hayes Valley, San Francisco in a structure made from stacked shipping containers.
The AETHER aesthetic is clean, classic and timeless. The store was conceived by Paris-based designer Thierry Gaugain and Berkeley design firm envelope A+D and is…
…constructed out of three 8′ x 9.6′ x 40′ shipping containers piled one on top of one another.
Citing inventory issues as something they needed to address, the shipping containers feature a unique “dry-cleaner style” conveyor belt system that rotates from the first floor to the third floor, allowing anyone shopping to see a continuous movement of product regardless of the level they’re on.
Operated by a key pad system, customers can dial in a number of a specific item they wish to have ‘delivered’ to the floor they’re on. Or they can push an arrow button and direct the conveyor to continuously move the product around.
For replenishment purposes, the shop owners can load the inventory from either the first or the third floor.
Merchandise is kept in ‘cages’ to ensure they stay in line and are prevented them from falling off the rack.
A peek inside through this video tells the tale of its construction from start to finish and describes AETHERsf’s undeniably innovative, sleek, modern sophistication.
With 85% of their business done online, AETHERsf gives customers an opportunity to actually interact with the product.
They’re able to see what they’ve just looked at on their computer screen come to life as they try it on, providing an in store experience and adding an extra element to the sales and customer service process.
A quote from the founders that describes AETHERsf perfectly: “If you think this is cool, then you think the things that we make are cool.”