In a historic firehouse in San Francisco’s Russian Hill neighborhood, Batch is a 3,000 square foot dream home. Except that every item in the space – from the wallpaper right down to the rugs – can be purchased. The self-coined “contextual commerce” concept is the “new practice of creating retail environments where products are placed in non-store spaces for more intimate interactions” and is the brainchild of Batch founder and CEO Lindsay Meyer.
Meyer, who got her start in healthcare and biotech and was formerly the General Manager of Mission Statement, a high-end ecommerce fashion label started by Hilary Swank, says the real genesis of Batch began in 2016. Working with a venture capital fund tasked with thinking about the future of retail just as she was moving into her first home, Meyer wanted to create a new shopping experience that was both personalized and ever-changing.
“The online shopping experience leaves a lot to be desired,” says Meyer. “We saw a more permanent, or evergreen, opportunity to work with brands seasonally to showcase their products, to test new concepts, get data, and connect with customers offline in a new format.”
Debuting in the fall of 2017, Batch is currently on its fifth installation, simply titled Summer Batch, where roughly 12 vignettes that might encompass an entire home (think everything from the dining room to the dog’s room) showcase local or small, up-and-coming brands.
For many of these brands, it’s the first time they’ve ever been in a brick-and-mortar setting. “We’re often the first place that [these companies go] offline,” says Meyer. “So the feedback we receive is so meaningful, because we’re the first eyes and ears with their customer.” Whether it’s Kube, a novel speaker-cooler concept, or the local wallpaper line Metolius Home, which was started by Laura Jo Wegman, working with these small brands is entirely “enchanting,” says Meyer.
Summer Batch will continue until August 18, after which the space will launch their first-ever men’s edit – entitled The [Batch]elor – on August 27. While the team hasn’t officially announced all of its partners for fall, Meyer did reveal that Croft House, a high-end custom furniture line, will be the anchor.
“We’re mostly focused now in continuing to build out partnerships for the fall assortment for the modern, urban man,” she adds. It’s the first time Batch has introduced themselves to this new, all-male customer base – many of whom may have visited the store in the past with a partner.
But the designing doesn’t just stop there. Batch also partners with real estate developers and realtors of multi-unit residential buildings to set up “satellite spaces” or short-term pop-up shops. “These in-home browse-and-buy opportunities allow you to see other expressions of the same products,” adds Meyer. Currently the team’s running two in San Francisco (at The Austin and 815 Tennessee) with plans to expand beyond the Bay soon. Customers can buy the entire installment as a 1 or 2-bedroom package.
If you’re in the Bay Area, check out Batch’s events calendar, which hosts weekly events in their airy, perfect-for-entertaining-space. The constantly rotating lineup of events has hosted everything from a skincare workshop with And Comfort to a Woman at Work panel.
Take a tour of Summer Batch in the slideshow!