Situated on a delightful plot of Laugavegur, Macland is a new, innovative and humane computer store. Once the rather diminutive building is entered you are treated to a sparkling white interior with an ultra cool display wall and to the side you’ll find a seating area, that screams at you to take a seat and relax! To think about your purchase. This is all done on purpose (not to help you depart from your money) but born from the idea that you could have a place that is both great to work and purchase in. We sat down with Hörður, one of the owners and Siggi and asked them few questions.
You have been up and running for the past six months if I’m not mistaken?
Yes, we’ve set up the shop in late December, so we’re just about running on our seventh month now.
What was the impetus for opening the store?
An opportunity presented itself, where in I saw that I could create a job for myself from a hobby. If you get a chance to work with your hobbies, do it! But there was also a vacuum in the market. A few other stores had been selling Apple products and the idea had originally propped up a year before we launched here. We were contacted by Hemmi and Valdi, the same guys that own the store with us, about this building. Not that I had especially set out to be in the “Sirkus” house.
The building was in a rut!
The house! I thought it had been torn down when I got the call and when I went to view it with them I thought they were joking. They were dead serious.
I’ve never seen anything like it! The transformation has been immense and in total I think there have been four change-overs since December. At first there was the vile state in which we set up the shop to the basic setup, the one that we have today and there have been two minor changes since then.
This is where Bar Sirkus was?
For the most part we had to change it a fair bit and put up a few interior walls and plasterboard the outer walls. The situation was really that bad.
This is because the interior was taken out wholesale and used as an instillation and shipped in a container
to London for the Frieze festival.
Everything except for a single metal beam in the back. We didn’t know we could open out into the street, didn’t know if it was stable enough or if a permit could be received..
We didn’t get straight answers from the officials, some parts of surrounding houses have already
been conserved. They were going to build a five-story hotel on this spot but now I think the
idea for this is to remain untouched
You just started co-operating with gogoyoko on a free concert series on the plot that surrounds the house.
Yes the first one was on June 17th and far exceeded our expectations, we hoped people would look in but then it was just packed. We learned a lot from this and the next one will be on the 22nd of July. We’re going to put a bit more effort into it and create a bit more of an evening atmosphere.
And I presume more on Reykjavík Cultural Night?
That will be the final night but we will also be hosting smaller events in between and again they will be connected to gogoyoko.
This whole thing, this isn’t your traditional store?
Neither a store nor an Apple store in particular. That was the original concept, we didn’t want to put up shelves and only to have the display wall, but in the end we yielded to the demands of our customers for a wider selection of products, and that began in early January and we reacted to that by implementing the shelves. Originally we intended to tap into the atmosphere that was in the building. We didn’t want to have a computer store like all the rest with endless display walls and then a counter.
There is an inherent lack of store-ness about this place.
That’s down to Valdi our co-owner, he designed and built everything in here, but he’ll never admit it.
The repair element of business is quite big.
The bulk of the turnover comes from sales but the part that we’re most interested in is repairs and upgrads, because we are downtown and there is such a lot of creative work that goes on around us, lots of people with Mac computers. This is also the only electronic store in the city centre and the only place that does repairs in the near vicinity. Opening up the upper floor as a workshop is the next major work we intend to do.
It seams to me that you service the creative fields quite a bit, do these individuals have other requirements/specs i.e. sound and picture editing?
Yes, well one of the things that we have encountered, and I’m not saying they don’t know what they’re talking about, is that what people want is not necessarily what they require for what they’re going to work on. I’ve had people come in wanting a 17 inch Macbook Pro and we have downsized them to a 13 inch because the real need isn’t more than that. We then might spec that to the individuals real requirements and people are really happy with that. Our motto is ‘verslun–verkstæði-ráðgjöf’ (shop, repairs and advice) and that means not just handing people the items they have bought over the counter and that is the end of it but we want to understand what they truly want and guide them to the best solution.
So people are really coming in and asking for the biggest and the best?
We were really surprised that despite being in the economic downturn, the demand for the most dear products is still quite high and there is nothing wrong with that as these are great machines but not necessarily what people need and when we point them to a more pragmatic solution they are really pleased and a bit surprised that we are selling them a machine that might be considerably cheaper because that better fits their demand description, which isn’t often the case.
Truth and openness is the best way to build customer loyalty and making the
process more than mere commerce. Would that it were every businesses
prerogative to understand this, it would for one make my life just that bit better.
Interview: Guðni Rúnar
Photographs: Nanna Dís