Please welcome CAMP, a first-of-its-kind family experience store combining products and play

Meet CAMP, the latest addition to Lerer Hippeau’s portfolio.

HQ: 110 5th Ave, New York

Founder: Ben Kaufman

The problem: The toy store model of the past is broken. As major, mainstream retailers like Toys-R-Us wind down or lose market share, we say goodbye to the days of pristine, identical aisles lined with toys untouched in their packaging. For years, retail toy stores have failed to deliver an engaging, fun experience for their most important customers: kids. And with consumer spend shifting online, there are even fewer physical spaces left for parents and their kids to play.

CAMP’s solution: CAMP thinks outside of the traditional toy box. Combining merchandise, play and interactive media experiences, CAMP is a modern retailer built to inspire, energize and engage young families. More than a next-generation toy store, CAMP blends adventure, discovery, independence and exploration for both parents and kids to create an immersive and fun adventure to be enjoyed together. CAMP offers a full sensory experience that embodies the brand’s ethos and mission that “play is never going away.”

Origin story: We got to know CAMP CEO Ben Kaufman as the visionary founder of Quirky and most recently as the Head of Commerce at Buzzfeed, a Lerer Hippeau portfolio company and investor in CAMP. Ben has assembled a team of talented designers, architects, artists and makers reinventing the world of play for a new generation of families.

Why we’re betting on it: Now open at its 110 5th Ave location, the team at CAMP has created a one-of-a-kind world of interactive play by reimagining both the retail and toy industries. CAMP is a single company that, at its core, leverages technology, media and audience to create an enlightened point of view on play. CAMP’s design is optimized to provide a scalable immersive experience that is theme-based, curated and rotates every 8–12 weeks. Each CAMP location includes two experiential stores and a theatre for activities, performances and workshops. Content, media and community allow for continued business model innovation, which move beyond e-commerce to include sponsorship, licensing and ticketing to create a frictionless customer experience.

Our take: We’re betting on the next-generation of retail and the shift towards a branded experience. While you can now find a product perfect for you, we believe brands will move from behind the screen for consumers to engage and interact with not only products, but also with the brand itself. And “experience” the culture, values, spirit and ethos in an authentic way. We believe in building a community around experience and commerce and there is no consumer more fickle and difficult to impress than kids.

Further reading: “Calling All Campers and Their Families” via WWD

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