It was a glorious South Island spring day with an unexpected dumping of snow that led me on my first trip to Wanaka in search of a retailer I had heard incredible things about.
You can only imagine my delight and rapture on entering the doors of the Revology Concept Store & Tea House when it turned out to be everything I imagined and more. Why was I excited? This is conscious retailing at its best. Centred around circular design and mindful living, it’s “a space dedicated to rethinking how we design, use (and reuse) materials, and to relax & refuel over a cup of organic tea.”
Founded by Wanaka husband and wife team, French composite and materials specialist Alex Guichard and humans rights lawyer Monique Kelly, they are the heart and soul of the business.
I had a lovely time talking with Bridget (I think) as somehow, I managed to lose all the incredible notes I took as she walked the store with me and spoke with passion and eloquence around the products, designers, the “why” and the events they get involved in support of the community and sustainability
This store features many original designs from their Design Studio, but they have also curated a selection of useful, beautiful everyday items from local and international designers who share their ethos. Those products must be ethically sourced objects, made from sustainable materials, thoughtfully designed with love.
While meandering through the inviting and industrial space you’ll come across beautifully made lifetime objects - a metal lunchbox, reusable bags, and woven baskets, for instance - as well as vintage goods brought over from Alex’s home country in France.
My favourite? An entire range of bags and accessories designed by Fantome and made from recycled bike inner tubes. An incredible customer tea blend by Revology called Re+Focus which I shared a few cups while in the store (and sipping as I write this). The sewing and tools just because they are incredibly cool and the bees and trees fire starters developed by a local school as part of their business programme.
I also had the pleasure of meeting local Timaru artist Gus Leen who was installing a lighting installation of his designs from Form53. He is a young talented designer who has built quite the following for those who appreciate incredible sculptural lighting.
This is one of those spaces where every way you turn there is something to get absorbed with. The storytelling is simple and engaging and the curation interesting and inspired.
If you had a tick list, this concept delivers on its intent and is an exceptional experience with a desire to deliver products, services and experiences that enhance the environment and make the world a better (and sometimes more beautiful) place. A combination of treasure hunt and story, incredible customer experience and transactional storytelling, impeccable merchandising and product selection, a total retail experience (both digital and physical), a sense of community, the ability to personalise and build your own products and a sense of purpose.
I know I am waxing lyrical about this store but trust me I can also do this in a well-designed pet-food store which is developed with the customer at the heart of its business. This is a brand and a business who understands its purpose in the world and the customer it lives to serve. I look forward to visiting this store again in person but because of the distance I will continue to shop with them online because they get it and I feel like they get me (a clear target audience).
Revology Concept Store and Tea House
28 Helwick Street, Wānaka