Amid a sea of shop-in-shops, independent retailers risk losing sight of their own heritage and ‘brand’. But all is not lost – from targeted lighting and bespoke shopfits to exclusive house collections, Kathryn Bishop explores the new routes reviving independents’ retail brands.

The jewellery retail landscape has shifted dramatically over the past decade, not least influenced by the emergence of major brands and their impact on independent retailers.

Love them or tolerate them, brands have staked their claim of retailers’ square footage, amassing shop-in-shop spaces across towns and cities, aglow with eye-catching logos, sleek point of sale and ever-changing seasonal displays.

“It’s been a really interesting five or six years with brands,” notes Graham Stock, director of Nathan & Stock, which specialises in producing bespoke packaging, cabinets and display materials for the jewellery industry. “In the very early days brands gave away packaging with their product, later a window display had to be supplied along with the packaging, then a few years ago the ante was upped and shop-in-shop units were added to the offer. Now cabinets are part of the package.”

Such branded shop-in-shop, tower or wall units – utilised by the likes of Pandora, Clogau, Swarovski and Thomas Sabo to name a few – are now as ubiquitous in jewellers’ stores as the velvet window pads of the 1990s.

Yet the dominance of these identikit white walls could be about to change, with a growing number of independent retailers bidding to pull back the balance of power from shop-in-shop spaces. How? By creating a contemporary retail brand out of the name above the shop door.

Creating Narrative

US retail specialists FRCH Design Worldwide have worked with the likes of Tiffany & Co., Aveda and the Hilton Hotel group to create customer experiences and enhance retail spaces. For FRCH vice president and creative managing director Robyn Novak, opportunity lies in making retail jewellery stores ‘destination’ spaces.

“When everything is cookie cutter, nothing gets noticed. Be the destination and create visual disruption,” she says. Such disruption could include striking window displays that make passers-by look twice, or lighting, artwork or interior details that tell the story of your retail heritage.

“There should be a specific element that makes you stand out,” explains Jo Coleman, retail designer at specialist shopfitter Nason Foster, part of the Esprit Group. “Colours can set you apart; a minimalist look or a luxury look. Feature light fittings or even soft furnishings can be employed to create a specific look for [your store].”

Another example is jewellery retailer Argento (pictured). Its new-look store interior features a vibrant, signature yellow colourway, bold neon lighting bearing the Argento name, and smart wooden panelling that adds texture and warmth and is carried across the walls, floors and cabinets….


Read more in November 2016 issue of Retail Jeweller

Image courtesy of Argento