This month, our roundup of the best stores includes new openings, unexpected collaborations and a London agency behaving very differently.
The latest addition to Dr Martens’ roser of stores is situated in Camden market’s Grade II listed stables and signals a homecoming for the iconic shoe brand.
What we love
The engaging way it tells the brand’s story. In the ‘museum’ room, shoppers can see a virtual-reality tour of the original DM factory and learn about the brand’s history through signed merchandise, memorabilia from the likes of Joe Strummer and powerful photographs. We love how this nostalgic exhibition stays true to Dr Martens’ roots and retells their story for loyal customers while immersing new customers at the same time.
It’s dedicated to building a community. Complete with a permanent stage, the store doubles as a gig space and is a great venue for people to come together, listen to music and enjoy a drink.
The stripped-back design. Exposed bricks, factory-inspired lighting, ‘reclaimed’ furniture and vintage machinery gives the store a rugged grass-roots feel that’s perfectly in-step with its brand heritage and surrounding area.
Paper Mache Tiger
Just a short walk from the D&P studio is Paper Mache Tiger’s new boutique. The fashion and sales communication agency has recently ventured into the world of retail with a stylish store.
What we love
The concept. It’s a pretty brave move to switch from PR to retail. This not only adds a whole new arm to the business but also changes the relationship between them and their clients.
The outside-inside interior. Everywhere you look there are lush plants cascading from the ceiling and sprouting from pots. Indoor gardening specialists Conservatory Archives have brought a feeling of earthy tranquillity to the space that’s rare in luxury fashion stores.
The offering. The shop sells the same contemporary ready-to-wear and accessories brands that the agency represents, bypassing the middleman to get product directly to customers. They also sell fun stationery and lifestyle products that complement the directional collections and enrich the shopping experience.
Warby Parker’s latest and biggest addition to its retail growth is this Melrose store. It comes heavy on customer experience with exciting visual elements.
What we love
The store is unique and totally in tune with its location and customer.
The Melrose store plays on its location with a Hollywood-inspired mural designed by LA-based artist Alia Penner and a cinema-style marquee sign with regularly rotating titles in the window. There is also a location-specific Snapchat filter.
They understand the power of social media. The store is designed with a green room where customers can try on a product while creating a social media-friendly, sharable 15-second video complete with a choice of 12 backdrops and lots of props. This transforms the typical trying-on experience into something wholly more fun and memorable.
It’s all about the experience.
“You keep hearing that brick-and-mortar stores are in trouble, that brands are closing stores, but it’s always been our view that shopping — particularly shopping for glasses, should be a fun, social experience,” says Dave Gilboa one of the store’s founders.
Ikea and Colette
What we love
It’s part of Ikea’s Art Event. This initiative commissions works from internationally renowned graphic artists to sell in the store. However, by exhibiting in Colette’s gallery first, they’re ensuring press attention and kudos from the elite. Initiatives like this show Ikea are actively trying to diversify and attract a new customer.
Colette’s spin on the classic Frakata tote. The famous big blue bag – we’ve had one – has been reimagined in a chic fresh design bringing a new appreciation to the tote. So much so in fact that Balenciaga have done its own £1,705, version (great publicity), and Ikea has released a tongue-in-cheek guide on how to spot the difference here.
It’s not a half-hearted takeover. Not only have Colette put their own spin on the Frakata tote, Ikea has completely taken over the boutique’s key zones from the windows that showcase iconic build-yourself furniture, to the famous water bar that’s rebranded the Ikea Kitchen.
Last month we talked about how Charlotte Tilbury’s new store is utilising technology to enhance their customers’ experience and this month it’s the turn of Italian luxury company Armani and its touring Armani Box concept.
What we love
The fearless use of colour and props. Outfitted in a pillar-box red hue, the store is hard to miss. A large reproduction of Mr Armani’s beloved ceramic gorilla Uri greets customers at the door and is the store’s mascot featuring heavily on the limited edition makeup’s packaging.
The digital experience. During customer makeovers, an iPad mounted next to the mirror films the whole experience and a personal link with the video is then delivered to Youtube. We love that you can leave the store, test how long the makeup lasts and purchase it at home if you want.
The socially minded concept. On entrance ‘free wifi’ is clearly signposted and customers are encouraged to share pictures with the brand’s mascot Uri – helping to build a strong social presence. Furthermore, the brand cements its strong relationships with beauty influencers by dedicating an area to them in the basement.