Looking back, I so wish I had posted this project following its completion last November 2019. Remember those days when we were only ever in the fast lane? We had chased our tails right up until December closing and quite frankly started 2020 running too.
We were so chuffed with this transformation! Besides looking bang on trend, we achieved the primary goal of helping to radically improve the turnover for this store, aligning with the brand ethos of showing local product set for an international market.
We were approached by this fantastic local brand to assess one of their main retail stores and see why it wasn’t trading as well as they had hoped. It was in a prime location in a top Cape town shopping centre and essentially had all the ingredients to be a success, yet they weren’t seeing this reflected in the balance sheet. Both my kids had worn this brand as babies so I knew it well and loved it. Myself and my team set off to do a mystery shop to try and provide some critical feedback and insight into what was potentially at play here. The trouble areas were clear to us and we provided fast, creative and cost effective solutions to transform this space and in so doing, increase turnover.
A huge selling point of this brand is that its locally produced, its a high end product balancing both podiatric and pediatric needs, earth friendly, free of harmful substances and comfortable! Besides all that, its a seriously good looking product. However, none of these KEY selling points were evident when walking into the store. The brand didn’t feel local nor exclusive, and it was overly cluttered. By redesigning the flow, creating key focus areas to see product and back up stock being hidden behind custom joinery, we created a calmer setting. Using natural woods and whites to make it feel contemporary and trendy and a key colour palette that supported the brand identity made the store inviting. We used local craftsman to make beautiful lighting and the woven giraffe head to give it that local flavour, whilst still feeling very international, these elements brought that necessary “je ne sais quoi”to give it a unique personality and set it apart from other stores.
I’ve worked over 12 years in both the online and bricks retail sectors and both certainly have their pros and cons especially in our new normal BUT the one thing bricks can own is MAGIC! A line that remains with me since my time as a buyer is “the magic or theatre of retail” which is something bricks and mortar retailers should OWN with a vengeance. That feeling of seeking, finding, scents in the store, buzz in the store, music playing, watching your purchase get wrapped and then walking away with a gorgeous little bag. I reminisce so much now over my days in New York, where visual merchandising makes you literally stop dead in your tracks and reach for a camera to just capture the creativity and inspiration of it all. More than ever people will need or possibly crave social interaction, having an experience rather than a mere purchase. Retail more than ever should seek the theatre that should be retail, the essence of which started with the Selfridges or Harrods experience but got diluted along the way by bargain seekers and deal makers. Retail hopefully will go back to that essence of being makers rather than just producers, a sense of providence rather than only profit. A focus on craft rather than juts cost. Local should feel lekker. Whilst I am not going to provide my own fortune telling version of how retail will look post COVID19, I will say this, where there is magic, people will come.
Conceptualise, design, manufacture and project manage the installation of a fresh new look for a retail space that reflected the brand identity and answered its retail needs.
- new custom joinery and shopfitting units
- custom lighting
- custom decor accessories
- plants and accessories
- decor and visual display fittings
Getting the installation completed in 48 hrs due to it being November in Cape Town’s busiest shopping centre. We actually ended up finishing early with a few hours to spare!
Definately the custom lights and woven animal head.