Blockbuster returns from the dead with a millennial-focused pop up store

Sarah A. Smith
Segment Producer/Booker

The 1990s are back and bigger than ever.

From clothes to media content, nostalgia is at an all-time high as the 2020s looms large.

And Streetwear brand Dumbgood is looking to capitalize on the throwback trend. The company is partnering with Blockbuster for an apparel collection available online, and is currently being sold at a pop-up shop in New York City’s SoHo neighborhood.

Stepping into the pop-up, ‘90s fans are instantly transported back to the iconic video rental store. Tall shelves of VHS tapes are visible, and a popcorn aroma wafts through the air. The 15-piece collection is displayed throughout the store, along with a curated assortment of Dumbgood’s other best sellers.

“We do all ‘90s and early 2000s properties and we focus on TV shows and movies,” Amelia Muqbel, Dumbgood’s co-founder and creative director, told Yahoo Finance.

Dumbgood’s brand is built around nostalgia, with some of its most popular merchandise showing TV and movie classics like “The Shining,” “Seinfeld,” “Cruel Intentions” and “Goosebumps,” Muqbel added.

Streaming services like Netflix (NFLX) and Amazon (AMZN) have made on-demand nostalgia easily accessible. Yet, Dumbgood recognizes that baby boomers, Gen Xers and even (older) millennials remember a time where video rentals were all the rage.

The last Blockbuster franchise store is located in Oregon, making this pop-up a way for New Yorkers to reminisce. 

“It’s just so cross generational,” said Muqbel. “I went [to Blockbuster], but also my mom was the one that drove me there. So everyone kind of has their own memory of it.”

Be Kind, Rewind

Dumbgood's Blockbuster Long Sleeve Rugby

The NYC shop is a re-release of the collection. Earlier this year, Dumbgood partnered with Blockbuster via a pop-up in Los Angeles, as well as bringing their merchandise to ComplexCon 2019. 

“We wanted to both recreate part of a Blockbuster but then also have enough room for all of our merchandise, and just have everything have its own place and time to shine,” said Muqbel.

Over the past year, roughly 10%-15% of the brand’s sales for the Blockbuster collection came from those pop-ups, Dumbgood co-founder Justin Deanda told Yahoo Finance. “We see a lift in total online sales from regions where we host any of our events or activations."

The Blockbuster merchandise, which is officially licensed under Dish Network, has been “one of the brand’s best selling collections we have produced,” according to Deanda.“That says a lot about the connection people had to the Blockbuster brand, and their experiences in those stores.”

Sarah Smith is a Segment Producer/Booker at Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter @sarahasmith

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