Stores we Love – October
This month’s retail highlights include Browns’ tech-supported East End outpost, Hunter’s atmospheric Grand Central Station pop-up, Timberland’s Tree Lab, Alex Eagle Studio’s shoppable apartment and Anagrama Studio’s confident sports store, JimJams.
Timberland Tree Lab
Timberland Tree Lab store in the King of Prussia Mall, Pennsylvania has been transformed from its original ‘Streetology’ story into a ‘SHEniverse’.
What we love
Magazine or store? With the ability to change every month and tell a variety of stories, Timberland Tree Lab transcends its role as a traditional store and morphs into something more akin to a magazine. The store’s innately live and sensorial quality gives it the potential to become a powerful media channel, a space to excite consumers about certain products and stories.
It’s an ingenious way to keep product fresh. This flexible space gives Timberland the ability to put one particular product story in focus every couple of months. The maiden story was all about streetwear and SHEniverse is a showcase its top women’s styles and stocks 67% less styles than a typical store.
The experience is the product. For a customer who has no idea that the store changes regularly, the product holds enough caché to be the experience. A ‘staff picks’ wall complete with personal recommendations from Timberland’s head office employees not only lends a human touch, but also makes the products feel really special. The footwear is displayed on gallery-inspired plinths for added presence.
Hunter’s experiential pop-up boldly juts out of the Vanderbilt Hall in New York’s Grand Central Station, recreating the ethereal glens of the Scottish highlands.
What we love
The atmosphere. From the artificial mist, to the rain soundscaping and spongy moss underfoot, this greenhouse-inspired space transports customers straight into the environment Hunter’s iconic rainwear was created for. It’s also a fun way to bring Hunter’s heritage to life for the local customer who may not know it has Scottish roots.
It’s an effective way to raise brand awareness. Creative Director, Alasdhair Willis says, “The authenticity, values and versatility of the collection is what has made it such a success to date and we want to showcase that – we’ve harnessed new materials and developed a seasonless, unisex collection that challenges the standard connotations of rain.”
What we love
The use of tech. Although not live at the moment, Farfetch’s new ‘store of the future’ technology aims to enhance VIP customers’ store experience. Customers are invited to check into the store on their phones, this brings up their full purchase history and provides sales assistants with useful knowledge. Furthermore, interactive mirrors in the VIP changing rooms enable customers to order products, check stock and browse online.
The space. The design, with its mid-century and kitsch touches feels a world away from the more traditional luxury environment of Browns’ Bond Street stores. Plus, it comes complete with a Zen room featuring soft lights that undulate from one side to the other, making it look as if the wall’s breathing- a perfect haven from the outside world.
The un-gendered merchandising. Rather than having women’s and men’s departments, it’s merchandised by brand. Male and female Gucci, Balmain or Balenciaga sits happily side by side – a simple way of nodding to the current social climate that feels surprisingly fresh.
Alex Eagle Studio
As the Creative Director of The Store Soho Farmhouse and The Store Berlin, Alex Eagle knows a thing or two about creating beautiful environments. Her Studio is one of the latest shoppable residences to open in London.
What we love
It feels right for now. Over the past few months, London has seen a flurry of shoppable apartment stores (or pop-ups) opening. The mood is right for Alex Eagle Studio to open now as retailers are starting to implement more experiential concepts. Just look at the bold next step in John Lewis’s The Residence concept. They now have a fully kitted out townhouse in South West London where customers are invited to experience products in a contextual, domestic setting. For instance, you can try out a mattress by sleeping in one of the bedrooms overnight!
It’s a multi-functioning space. The store is, of course, brimming with a luxe yet varied edit for your whole life, be that food, furniture, art or homeware (as Eagle says, “Fashion is not enough anymore”). But, it also doubles as an event space with room to host collection presentations, dinners, product launches and workshops. More than a store or shoppable residence, it’s a creative hub.
Created by Mexican agency Anagrama, this sports apparel store puts bold athletic style at its heart.
What we love
Sometimes you only need one idea. Anagrama has honed in on one particular aesthetic, with a minimal palette and sparse use of materials – the overall effect is one of instant impact. The strength of one big idea can be enough!
The locker room-inspired interior. From the polished concrete floor to the utilitarian white lockers, the space has a grassroots vibe that’s pleasingly unfussy. The grey concrete and black plastic seats are inspired by classic stadium bleachers and the sleek ceiling lights echo the lines of a playing pitch.
The considered use of colour and typography. What makes this store really special is the striking introduction of colour on the inside of the lockers – each one has a red or blue interior – and the strong black JimJams logo that’s emblazoned across the central strip of lockers. The overall effect is punchy and contemporary, a true treat for the eyes.
Inspired by our #CreativityWins campaign, this month's roundup of experiences we love includes masked bar staff at Mr Fogg's, 30-second soap from Lush, a creative queuing initiative from Asda and a new format store from Sézan...