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Were you born to stand out

In retail everything communicates the story. Get the smallest thing wrong and the spell can be broken. To entrench loyalty and gain mind share, retailers are increasingly telling their stories about what makes them unique and how they make a difference to your life. This ranges from provenance and craftsmanship through to new ways to use products. The retail environment brings this to life with not only with stories but through every fine detail of merchandising.

So from my professional world learning experience (some of you have corrected that to junket - thanks for that) I have three incredible examples of storytelling; Maison Triumph’s London pop-up, Nudie Jeans from Sweden and the wonderful concept from H&M and other stories.

Triumph is a global leader in lingerie and shapewear with products to suit every taste, size and age. However when you’ve been making lingerie since 1886, it’s critical, and challenging to remain modern and desirable with your brand touch points in this high touch, highly emotional category.

Whilst Triumph design and lingerie innovation may have kept pace, their stores have remained pretty much unchanged for years

Traditional Triumph store

But wait, what’s this? Hello! Closing the emotional gap between brand and customer is Maison Triumph’s pop-up store in Seven Dials, London. Although it had popped up as part of London Fashion Week, I have no doubt it was a test bed to refine the brand touchpoints.

Maison Triumph Seven Dials, London

Art and craftsmanship come together in the design and development of beautiful creations that sit close to the heart of many women. Amazing, well-fitted lingerie makes you feel more confident, more beautiful and more desirable. In a visual storytelling way Triumph brought to life these emotions in a rich and engaging way.

Authentic design cues straight right to the heart of Triumph’s craft

Devil in the detail – the finest touches

Intimate surroundings – intimate product

This is a divine shopping experience from the minute you enter the store through to the change-rooms, the shared spaces and one- to-one interactions. Supplemented with “high touch” activities including stylist workshops, cooking master classes and expert bra fitting services, the experience oozed style, fit, and craft. A beautiful brand tale down to the finest detail.

Nudie Jeans in Stockholm packs a storytelling power punch. The Nudies share their passion for jeans with anyone who mourns a pair of worn out jeans as a close friend. They believe jeans share the same soul and attitude as music, which is hard to dispute if you have ever truly loved your jeans.

Nudie Jeans Stockholm, Sweden

Break-in, repair, reuse, recycle, responsible are themes communicated from the minute you approach the store to the conversation you have with the sales associate.

Their story is recounted in their actions and demonstrated via their understanding of their production and sourcing processes and and their expertise in fit, repairing and recycling. They feel authentic and downright cool. Every single touchpoint brings to life the authenticity of their approach; store, product, packaging, website, advertising, customer service, selling. You just have to own a pair to be a part of the brand history.

Instore merchandising

Repair and re-create right in front of you

Reduce, reuse, recycle philosophy

The fit story

Website enables you to drill deep on the provenance of the product

If you haven’t heard all the fuss about H&M you must be living in a cave. This multinational Swedish clothing giant recently opened its first Australian store in Melbourne’s GPO to much acclaim and lines that circled the streets. While the H&M brand is known for its fast fashion apparel for women, men, teens and children, its business ethos is to move high fashion designs from the catwalk to stores as fast as possible, allowing the fashion label to follow customer trends, rather crystal ball gazing. I believe they are the most exciting retailer on the planet at present.

But what really excited me was its latest venture, and other stories, positioned between H&M and sister brand COS (Collection Of Style). These stores are exactly the place I want to shop. A premium offering presented in a cleverly mastered space. They merchandise looks “in stories” in adaptable, engaging and simplistic ways so the products to tell the stories. All the garments and accessories are carefully curated for an edgy, on-trend look but styled and cut in a way that makes the most of what you’ve got.

And other stories Stockholm, Sweden

The fit out is low key but oh so clever making the most of light, simple and inexpensive fixtures with snippets of stories to deliver the uniqueness of each piece.

Clever low cost fit-out

Easily interchangeable stories; change by the day or change by the hour

There are too many retailers on this planet who bullshit their way through trying to convince shoppers why they are unique and relevant. When you have a deep passion and a truly authentic proposition, storytelling becomes a wonderful way to bring it to life, connecting with shopper’s hearts, minds and souls.

So why not take some advice from Dr Seuss if you have some stories to be told……Why fit in when you were born to stand out?

Photography credits: Nudie jeans, Echochamber, Blog Stylesight, ftape, other attendees from WRST#14

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