BuzzFeed’s Ben Kaufman is stepping down as CMO, in order to prioritize scaling CAMP Stores.
The Information first reported the news. CAMP CEO’s Kaufman, who co-founded the experiential toy retailer with his wife, will step down from his role at the end of the year. He will stay on as an adviser to the company.
“We want to build a national retail chain straight away,” Kaufman told aNb Media during ShopTalk interview back in June. He added that CAMP plans to develop “as many [stores] as the world supports…We think that having a place to go with your family is a universal demand. We think that these products are bought regardless of channel; they’re either being bought in a store or they’re being bought online. We believe that if you have people there, you show them the product, and you tell the product’s story, we can complete the transaction right there in our four walls.”
The retailer has five new locations planned to open by year’s end. Plans are already underway to open its second New York location at City Point Brooklyn and expand north to Connecticut as well as to Texas. All locations will also be tailored to offer unique experiences to match the location and its consumer shopping and spending habits.
CAMP, which BuzzFeed is an investor in, first opened its doors last fall offering families more than just a toy store but an experience. While the front of the store is inspired by a Vermont general store that Kaufman visited as a kid—with the added bonus of Milk Bar, behind a secret door lies a rotating themed world filled with activities and events for kids and parents. These range from hands-on play areas and mommy-and-me yoga sessions to music hours, cooking classes, and more. Since opening its doors, it’s rotated through two themes, a traditional summer camp theme and a cooking camp theme, at which BuzzFeed’s Tasty-branded product was on full display along with Miracle Gro-branded product. As part of the retailer’s current commercial arrangement with BuzzFeed, the BuzzFeed sales team sells sponsorships and integrations into CAMP.
Kaufman also noted at the time of our interview that six months in, 35 percent of its transactions were from returning customers.
To hear more about CAMP’s future plans and learn about what’s differentiating this new toy retailer, you can watch the full ShopTalk interview below: