Creating unique environments, one space at a time is what we do. As retail consultants, Beauleigh specializes in the creation of dynamic retail experiences bringing our vision to landmark retail centres across the country, working coast to coast from Vancouver to Montreal.
We’re always on the hunt for something we’ve never seen before. Unique concepts with feel-good vibes. Places with a wicked atmosphere, great food and unmatched design. A place where we would want to take our friends, hold our next meeting and of course somewhere to take our next Instagram picture (key!).
We had a hard time coming up with only one answer! Creating, executing and sustaining a wicked concept doesn’t happen overnight. We’ve broken it down into five takeaways for any savvy business looking to get there, or perhaps take their business to that next level.
1. Aesthetic – Store Design
The aesthetic is not necessarily the first thing we look for, as this is something that can happen with a good designer, but it is definitely what grabs our attention. Store design creates character, brand and directly affects the mood and ambience of the retail environment.
Store design doesn’t have to be over the top anymore. Sometimes, less can be more. Whether it’s colour blocked walls, exposed brick, rustic brass lighting fixtures, customized art or neon lights with a witty saying, the aesthetic is what uniquely sets the tone for your atmosphere. Your customers will want to spend more time in your space and visit again and again.
Maman – First Canadian Place – Photo Credit: Phil Crozier
Materials brought in from the South of France to create an authentic aesthetic true to Maman’s brand.
Maman – Packaging by Georgette Packaging
2.Marketing – Branding and Social Media
Branding has the biggest role when it comes to developing a concept, creating awareness and having an impact on social media users. Georgette Packaging gets it. They understand how crucial it is to stand out in the market, be recognized, memorable and get customers excited to market on your behalf to their hundreds (or thousands) of friends and followers.
It’s 2017, and the reality is that we live in a world of social media. One of the first questions we ask is “how Instagram-worthy is it?”
There is a lot of conversation around the notion that the presentation of food trumps how it actually tastes. We don’t necessarily agree and this is exactly why it is crucial for us to make sure we get out there and actually visit these places, try their product and meet with the operators behind the concept. Your product needs to taste just as good as it looks (and photographs).
Pilot Coffee Roasters – Union Station
Instagram Snapshot – @pilotcoffee
3.Atmosphere – Create a Gathering Place
A concept can have all the right ideas, but it is the execution that counts, bringing it all together to create a gathering place with a good vibe. The ambience and customer service all play a role in what type of atmosphere is created.
You need to be able to create an environment that screams good vibes where people want to go to hang out and stay for a long period of time because they feel welcomed, comfortable, cool and not pressured. So from the time the customer walks by the storefront and the design aesthetic catches their attention, to walking into the store or restaurant and sensing right away that the environment is unique (ambience) and then the customer’s first interaction with the staff (customer service), all of this is crucial to the customer’s experience.
Cactus Club Café – First Canadian Place
Considerably one of Toronto’s most popular rooftop patios because of its unmatched atmosphere with the city’s best DJ’s, food and staff. To top it off, this rooftop is open all year long with a retractable roof.
4.Create Synergistic Partnerships
Sometimes a concept can work better when partnered with another, and there are good reasons for this; limited product, small space required which may be difficult to secure or cost of leasing in triple A locations. In these situations, creating a partnership with another concept creates a synergy that can make both concepts stronger together. Why? Because they can compliment one another.
Creating a synergistic partnership, these two concepts came together to open in one space combining their delicious and healthy menu options in one location.
5.Create an experience
If you really want to “get there” the last tip we can give you is to focus on the experiential aspect which is to create a lifestyle experience.
By 2018 millennials will have more spending power than any other generation. Now, more than ever before, there is a greater demand for retailers and restauranteurs to create this experience for their consumers, as millennials want that experience more than the product itself.
Observe deeper, create an animated environment focusing on escapism, communal buzz and entertainment to ultimately create a unique experience. Many retailers now offer customizable products, cooking classes, in store make-up tutorials, DIY-dinner-parties in furniture stores or have a focus on participatory initiatives that keep the customer engaged. Even on a smaller scale, engaging in product launches, events, pre-purchasing or even offering exclusive experiences for your best customers, all play a role in making them feel like they are valued.
Adidas – NYC Flagship Photo Credit: Adidas
Designed to portray a stadium-like retail concept. Customers can watch various live games, try on merchandise in locker rooms instead of dressing rooms, test and experience products on a track and field area and even customize certain merchandise.
Stay tuned for an exciting announcement every Wednesday [ starting today! ] for the next few months on our Instagram!
As the retail consultants working with Osmington on the Union project for the past five years, we as a collective team have a strong vision in mind. 160,000 SF of newly developed retail space will be created at the Station providing us with a blank canvas to create and curate the most iconic destination Toronto has ever seen.
Every Wednesday and Friday make sure you check out our feed to see which operator you can look forward to seeing in the station starting mid 2017!
Fashion has no gender. This seems to be the major topic of conversation in the fashion industry this year. Despite what some mainstream media and fashion blogs say, we don’t think this is just the latest “trend” in fashion. Any platform that states otherwise might be ignoring that gender roles are being questioned more in fashion, than ever before.
One thing that we know is that history repeats itself, especially when it comes to fashion. This goes all the way back to the 1920’s. Coco Chanel, arguably one of the most influential fashion designers of all time, was one of the first to inspire genderless fashion when she created her iconic suits for women. Chanel made it the norm for women to wear pants during the war, which revolutionized women’s right in the fashion world for generations to come.
Fast forward to 2016. What about those who don’t identify with a gender?
For far too long, we’ve been focused on millennials being the key players in not just the retail world, but the economy as a whole. As we enter 2017, there is a new generation that cannot go unnoticed and that is Generation Z, those born between 1995 and 2015. This demographic was born in the age of social media and have now started to have an impact on spending power.
The Gen Z attitude towards sexuality and gender is far more outspoken and is the most progressive in comparison to the other generations. More than 80% of Gen Z-ers strongly believe that gender does not define a person as much as it used to and only half of Gen Z-ers identify exclusively as heterosexual.
Generation Z, without a doubt is the generation leading and influencing retailers to take a step in a new direction – genderless fashion. The idea is for men, women and ace (identifying as both genders) to shop in one store place or section, and purchase the same piece without having to question their sexuality or how they might be perceived by others.
Call it what you want; genderless, gender-neutral, gender-free, unisex or just for “everyone”. These terms are becoming more and more popular in retail as this attitude towards gender is altering the vision for both international and independent brands and retailers. This idea is going to become more prevalent in some of your favourite stores and brand campaigns.
Fashion enthusiasts are everywhere, but one of the most incredible things about fashion is that it can be an advocate for social change. We’ve hand picked some of our favourite retailers that have been quick to take action and influence “genderless” fashion. We’re looking forward to 2017 to see who will be quick enough to react. The more exciting part will be who succeeds and why…
Diesel (Gender Neutral Campaign)
Guess (His + Hers Collection)
& Other Stories (Campaign)
In the past we have talked about the evolution of independents and how they continue to change the face of retail in our city. The goal at Union was to create a unique destination celebrating the iconic architecture and history of the station and using it as a backdrop for the redevelopment platform.
Over the past few years we have been focused on curating this unique destination with the selection of the best and brightest independents in the city. We took an in depth look at what characteristics these up and comers have in common and uncovered the following key elements:
- They exude originality, authenticity and attitude.
- They have the ability to localize by addressing the unique attributes of the neighbourhood they’re in and customizing the experience to connect with their clients.
- They build relationships with their customers through individualized customer service.
- They have a cool factor.
- Shopping is experiential- they create environments ensuring that the customer’s experience is always priority whether it connects because of the names of the items on the menu, the decor, the lighting, or the staff.
- They all have a wow factor.
- Their concepts are difficult to duplicate because they are so unique.
- They always find a way to your heart… and your wallet.
What is the real reason as to why so many long established retail chains have failed, leaving a void in the market and a shopping centre industry clamouring to reshape the retail landscape which in some instances have become retail wastelands? All of a sudden there is a sense of urgency to reinvent the shopping centre.
Is it too little too late? Has the tide turned too swiftly? Or have we just ignored the signals? Could it be as simple as demographics? Have the two largest demographics, being the Baby Boomers and the Millennials literally upended the retail and restaurant world with their sheer numbers. Forcing retailers and restauranteurs to break all the traditional rules of how things should look and be. Is there a revolution or an evolution afoot?
Interesting questions which can simply be answered by the fact that many in the industry were blindsided. Some of the signals were camouflaged by the Great Recession of 2008 which lasted until just a few years ago. And so excuses were made.
Ironically what had happened while the world was abuzz and preoccupied with the recession and the havoc it wreaked, the now Millennials were growing up and the Baby Boomers were aging. All of a sudden, young people were unable to find suitable employment or employment that excited them, engaged them and paid well. So many of them turned to self-employment using the technology that they grew up not only to promote their ideas but to test them in the real world in real time…..and so the independent was born.
A generation of young Millennials dissatisfied with the status quo and echoing the mood and spirit of their counterparts. Most of all they had nothing to lose and they had what most of the big chain retail executives did not- youth, passion and a desire to be different.
They have the spending power and are driving the way retailers must do business. Neither group can easily be ignored. Those who haven’t seen this wave coming are now having to play catch up…
We are a boutique retail real estate consulting firm specializing in creating repositioning, redevelopment and rebranding strategies for retail properties. We love all things food, fashion, arts and culture. Our purpose is to bring our industry alive with our vision by creating unique, vibrant and animated environments.
Our blog is our platform to bring to you what is happening in the retail market, what's trending and to share exciting news and announcements about Beauleigh and our industry.