Twinings’ historical flagship store has reopened with our fresh new concept that invites customers to discover the brand’s unique story - focussing not only on its rich heritage but also on innovation, wellness, lifestyle and ethical sourcing.
Originally opened by Thomas Twining in 1706, the 216 Strand store is London’s oldest tea shop. Today, it’s a popular tourist destination and Twinings’ sole-owned direct-to-consumer store worldwide. The brief was to transform the store from a transactional retail space into the true spiritual home of the Twinings brand. With a broad set of customers visiting the store, we identified shoppers through their mindset - from the ‘tea tourist’ through to the ‘tea aficionado’ - with the aim of always delighting the curious
The quaint 80m2 space was designed to encourage customers to learn more about the brand in a way that is relevant, and adds value to their experience in an intriguing and surprising way. We designed four ‘Moments of Curiosity’ which punctuate the customer journey, using interactive display and storytelling. One of these touchpoints is the Wellbeing moment where customers place their hands on a dome that represents their desired state of wellbeing, triggering animations that detail product ingredients and tea blends as well as lifestyle tips, targeting the different ways that consumers feel. Other displays include Sourced with Care, which tells the story of Twinings' ethical sourcing programme and their initiatives aimed at improving the quality of life in their suppliers’ communities. Meet our Blenders focuses on six of the brand’s Master Blenders, revealing their experiences working with Twinings and diving into the tastes and stories behind their favourite blends. Pioneering Spirit maps out the history of the brand through a collection of stories told through time, including how the Twinings family boldly led the way over the years and put quality at the heart of everything they did.
To elevate the sensory aspect of the customer journey, a tasting bar sits at the end of the store, surrounded by large-scale digital screens that act as an immersive window into the tea plantations where Twinings source exquisite teas and key botanicals from around the world to use in their unique blends. Slow-moving images of gardens and herb fields create an atmospheric space and transport visitors to the product source as they are invited to touch, smell and taste the tea during the entire brewing process.
The store’s design language has been crafted to honour the brand’s heritage, yet looks and feels undeniably contemporary, layered and unique to the Twinings brand. Lighting has been designed to give the space a warm glow and highlight the product in a way which feels fresh and accessible. Materials like grasscloth, raw oak, brass and stone have been used to give a sense of natural craft, quality and authenticity whilst always making the product the vibrant hero.
As a part of the new experience, we’ve elevated the ceremony of purchasing tea through the gifting offer by designing new-look gifting tags, wrapping and take-away cards with notes on wellness and lifestyle.
For a more in-depth immersion into the world of Twinings, the basement has been transformed into a private tea-tasting bar where customers can pre-book a masterclass or hold private events. The lower floor feels very different from the ground floor, with oil paintings of the Twinings family hanging on the heritage blue walls in the intimate space. In the centre, a bar seats ten for a personalised tea experience.
We also worked with Twinings to craft all-new content for the store, defining an open, transparent and personal tone of voice. A new lifestyle approach reinvigorates the brand’s photography, with warmer tones and more personal imagery. Communications are classic in style with a modern twist, incorporating a typeface inspired by stencilled tea chests. A bright brand palette has been created to introduce pops of bold colour and new brass signage is used to elevate the space.
Stephen Twining - the tenth generation of the family to work with tea - comments: “Twinings has always been extremely proud of having the world’s oldest dry tea and coffee shop, and this has never been more true. This extensive redesign will give all our visitors a chance to better understand the skills and good work we do at Twinings, while walking in the footsteps of many notable customers. We now have an exclusive space for all our varied bookable masterclasses, as well as a tasting bar, which will always be available to customers who just pop in, so they can try something special.”
The reimagined flagship opened its doors on 17th July with hygiene and social distancing measures in place.