Creating a point of difference for your brick and mortar establishment is crucial to drawing in and retaining customers, particularly in the current digital climate. Dominic Ellett of Indigo and Provisions has worked tirelessly to create a retail store that reflects the creativity and individual flair of his company.
Ellett first launched Indigo and Provisions when he returned to New Zealand after extensive travel abroad and discovered a gap in the market. “I love denim and work-wear but just couldn’t find anyone selling the brands I wanted in New Zealand. So, I decided to put my ten plus years of retail and business experience to good use and open my own shop, focusing on the brands and styling that I love, and bringing a new concept to New Zealand,” said the fashion savant. With a strong stylistic vision in mind, it was crucial Ellett translate this to the fit out of his new retail offering.
Ellett chose the Arts Centre in Christchurch as the location for his brick and mortar establishment, as he was attracted by the history and eccentricity of the location. “From the architecture of each building to the stories of years gone by to everyone that works and has a business here – the choice to set up at The Arts Centre was easy,” he explained. The buildings history dates back to 1877, and hosts a fantastic community of creatives, artists and entrepreneurs, making it a smooth fit for Ellett’s one of a kind New Zealand store.
Working with design specialist Joaska Easterbrook of Joska and Sons to create a fit out that was visually engaging as well as physically innovative. The pair began to reimagine the retail experience. “We wanted to create a welcoming, open space with more of a gallery feel than a traditional shop,” Ellett explained. They achieved this minimalistic feel through a focus on visual merchandising and building interesting displays rather than just displaying racks full of clothing. Creating an experience for their customers was what most influenced their creative decision making. “Everything is displayed in the store in a way that encourages customers to really experience our products, by touching them and reading about them. We encourage everyone to take their time in the space.”
Creating a sensory experience was a compelling point of difference for the store, as small details became big focuses. “We feel bricks and mortar retail should be an experience that involves all the senses, it should leave you feeling happy and inspired. It shouldn’t be all about money and sterile environments,” articulated Ellett. Complimentary coffee and beer are supplied to their customers, who are encouraged to hang around, flick through their magazines and enjoy the space for more than just a store. A small detail that has proved a hit with customers is the store's aroma. “The smells of the shop is a focal point for many people. It is achieved through the macrocarpa wood we have used within the store, the soy candles we get from Australia and the beautiful aroma of the fresh coffee we brew in store.”
With such a stimulating and characteristic store, Ellett discussed the importance of stocking brands which reflect the stores strong stylistic and experiential vision. Brands which have a rich story and an emphasis on sustainability and timelessness are found throughout their store, ranging from locally made products to international imports. “We are always on the lookout for new brands and designers that match our aesthetic and ethos of quality goods built to last.”
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