Introduction Having been encouraged to embrace and cultivate innovation through creative thinking in this project and develop specialist knowledge of fashion promotion research and development processes through the creation of an innovative product, service or concept with Covent Garden as a focus I have created my Research and Innovation document. This document will demonstrate my developing specialist knowledge of fashion promotion research and innovation processes through describing the development of my proposed innovative retail environment for Covent Garden. The brief for this project was: “What role does Innovation play in a competitive yet volatile markets?” and using Covent Garden as a focus, I have developed an innovative concept to propose a new retail environment for the area.
This document proposes a series of promotional ideas to support its launch, alongside substantiating those ideas with reflective and market research. As proposed to enable my research and to keep a clear focus I developed a framework for my project-an area to work within. Therefore I adopted the umbrella terms, ‘Community’, ‘Nostalgia’ and ‘History’ to help regulate my investigations. Throughout this document my findings are integrated with market research, employing both primary and secondary research methodologies in order to justify my concept. As well as working within a framework this document is organized into the ‘7 P’s’ of marketing, a formula utilized to continually evaluate and re-evaluate my concept in order to achieve the maximum results possible for my concept within today’s competitive yet volatile market place.
The Concept Located in the heart of historical Covent Garden on Endell Street, my Paul Smith House will be the London Home for Paul Smith Men. This creative consummate retreat will boast the finest Paul Smith Shoes and Accessories collections, surrounded by services such as Barber, The Coffee Stand, The Rizzoli Study Lounge, Denim Tailoring Services and Bespoke Leather Engraving Services. The Paul Smith House will embody the Paul Smith Man; the space will also provide a platform for those in the creative industries, a place for indulging, working, thinking, creating, learning and relaxing.
Inspired by the historical Coffee Houses of the 18th Century, the Paul Smith House aims to â€œFollow the formula of maximizing interaction between customers and aims to forge a creative convivial environmentâ€?.
Aims and Objectives
Paul Smith House is dedicated to ensuring that the “inclusivity” of the retreat is maintained whilst promoting the historic importance of the surroundings of the House and the Coffee Houses of the 18th Century that have inspired the unique, creative experience that Paul Smith House aims to foster.
The main aim of Paul Smith House is to increase footfall to the historic Covent Garden through promotion of the consummate retreat based on Endell Street in the heart of the Covent Garden area.
In order to meet the aims of the House certain strategies must be put into place to ensure that the product, service, experience, “inclusivity” and historic ambience of our consummate retreat remains at the highest standard.
Paul Smith House will provide a uniquely creative, high quality lifestyle experience for our Paul Smith Man, whilst ensuring the needs of Paul Smith’s most discerning customers are fully met to the highest standard.
and fitting for our Paul Smith Man, Paul Smith House will regularly consult with customers with, for example, Paul Smith himself regularly taking part in twitter question and answers in order to make sure Paul Smith House remains the consummate lifestyle boutique tailored especially for the Paul Smith Man.
The Origin My journey began with looking at the history of Covent Garden specifically in the eighteenth century when it began to fill with coffee houses. The Coffee Houses became a focal point for me and as I researched further I became fascinated by the idea that there were coffee houses for every trade and every profession. Macaulay noted, “Foreigners remarked that the coffee-house was that which especially distinguished London from all other cities” and “the coffee house was the Londoners home”. Throughout history the coffee houses were the historical places for social networking, in which all individuals could intermix with mutual freedom. The Coffee Houses were also innovative establishments of their time. The “floating coffee house” (a coffee house on the river, outside Somerset House) was the first of its kind in London with them being one of the most characteristic social institutions in London.
The Don Salteros in Chelsea had walls adorned with taxidermy, at Lunt’s in Clerkenwell Green patrons could sip coffee whilst having a haircut, the first stocks and shares were traded at Jonathan’s Coffee house and Isaac Newton once dissected a dolphin on the table of the Grecian Coffee House. Within the Coffee Houses patrons could display their new attire, exchange and explore their ideas about fashion, politics and commerce, meet with like-minded people and escape from the pressure of daily living With this in mind my concept of a “men’s consummate lifestyle retreat’ was born within which, just as within the Coffee House, it would be possible for men with common interests (Paul Smith design) to have a social space within which they could exchange and explore their ideas not only about fashion but about design, commerce, politics and gossip of the day.
The Brand Paul Smith is a label that has become synonymous with classic British tailoring and style. Although beginning his career in Nottingham in 1970 with his first store only 12 square feet, Paul Smith now has 15 shops and concessions in the UK and 200 stores worldwide including in Japan, New York, Milan and Hong Kong. Smith has a turnover of £325 million and is still fully involved in every aspect of his business. Describing his style as somewhere between Saville Row and Mr Bean, Paul Smith’s child - like but not childish designs attract a customer who is “part-dad, part rock-star, a metrosexual man with a few quid in his pocket” notes Smith and he goes on to note that all of his customers are “creative people, interested in the lifestyle that he is selling”.
ABCDEF HIJKLM PEOPLE UVWXYZ
The People For the purpose of the Research and Innovation project, the people are my consumer, The Paul Smith Man. The people are the most integral part of my concept, and have played a significant role in my project aiding me to identify the demand for my concept as well as the services within my concept. The people have allowed my concept to have direction and to be tailored exactly to fit my consumer. One of the main aims of my concept is to “provide a uniquely creative, high quality lifestyle experience for our Paul Smith Man, whilst ensuring the needs of Paul Smith’s most discerning customers are met to the highest standard”. The People have allowed me to identify the needs of Paul Smith’s most discerning customers and create a concept, for the Paul Smith Man, by the Paul Smith man and without their time, feedback and input my concept would not reflect their direct needs and wants.
Focus Groups Due to the nature of The Paul Smith man the research methodology that seemed most fitting and most likely to gain the most insight into what the target group want out of The Paul Smith House as a product was a Focus Group (a group of people assembled to participate in a discussion about a product/concept before it is launched, usually individuals with common interests). I chose this mode of research with the aim of drawing upon respondents feeling and attitudes towards the concept in creation in a way that would not be feasible using other methods of research. Throughout the concept I worked with twenty members of my target market (creative, fashion conscious men aged 45-65), meeting regularly and questioning them about each part of my concept in thirty minute to two hour group meetings. The focus group members were picked from fifty ‘get to know my target market’ questionnaires that I distributed a the beginning of the project, with a range of occupations, ages and locations however they all drew one similarity, they enjoyed fashion and the Paul Smith brand. Focus Groups allowed me to gain a personal insight into what my target market wanted ergo I was able to create a tailor-made experience in keeping with my research umbrella of “Nostalgia’ and ‘Community’. The Paul Smith man has a limited online presence with only 26% of the age range 45-65 being present on social media platforms or online forums it was difficult for me to gain a good rapport with my Target Market online and so Focus Groups became the key to the development of my concept. As well as Focus Groups being a substantial method of research, I was inspired by the way in which Paul Smith runs his own company he notes “I realized, that you have to ask questions before giving orders, even when there is a specific detail or global strategy. In the end you always reach a solution that satisfies the largest number of people…to work with them to find a balance that would assure a satisfying result.” Paul Smith
“OUR CUSTOMER IS SOMEONE THAT IS AT EASE WITH THEMSELVES AND DOESNT NEED TO DRAW
THEMSELVES AS THEY HAVE INTERESTING HEADS”
The Paul Smith House have a particular target market, he is aged 45-65, a fashion consious, creative, Paul Smith cutomer. They are part-dad, part-rockstar, metrosexual with a few quid in their pocket. All of my customers are creative
The Paul Smith Man
Wardrobe Analysis WARDROBE IMAGES In keeping with the personal, tailor made approach of The Paul Smith House it became integral to the process of the concept to get to know my Target Market on a personal level. Analyzing my target markets personal style through a series of wardrobe analysis allowed me to understand his idea of style in order to eventually create a product that houses the Paul Smith collections and services that are most suited to my target market. Q: “What item from your wardrobe would you save in a fire?” A: “A collarless shirt, I tailor made myself” (See Appendix A: Section One) This answer was integral to my research as it highlighted quite clearly the importance of nostalgia and history for my target market. When questioning a focus group member Dominic, this answer was also interesting when creating my concept. Q: “How would you describe your style?” A: “Classically British, and age fitting” (See Appendix A: Section One) It emphasized the need to push the quintessentially British aesthetic of Paul Smith as a brand within The Paul Smith House as this aspect of the brand was of interest to my target market.
Another wardrobe related question answered by Dominic also emphasized the importance of British style for the Paul Smith Man Q: “Who are your style icons?” A: “The Gallagher Brothers” (See Appendix A: Section One) Another reference to the aesthetic of Paul Smith, the British Mod like aesthetic channeled through the simplest of things such as Paul Smith’s hair cut, the close alliance that the brand has with Bradley Wiggins and the constant inspiration Smith takes from the icon David Bowie, Paul Smith notes Bowies look as “simply innovative” allowed me to understand the aesthetic look that interested my target market. When dissecting Dominic and David’s wardrobes I asked Q: “What is your definition of style?” A: “Timeless, like my dad” (See Appendix A: Section One) This touching answer not only highlighted again for me the importance of nostalgia for my target market it also drew a distinct similarity with a Paul Smith quotation, when asked about his father Paul Smith noted
“He was always very elegant, even at the age of ninety when he was housebound, my dad always chose his shirts and ties with great care” (Paul Smith, A to Z, page 588) This idea resonated for me, and really justified the importance of style through the ages, not only for Paul Smith as a brand but also for The Paul Smith Man, allowing me to think about reflecting timeless style within The Paul Smith House.
These questions although on the surface seeming simple, allow for a tailor made concept, as although the references are subtle they will allow for the creation of The Paul Smith house to fit the subconscious of my target market and more logically check that one of the aims of my concept is ‘Ensuring the needs of Paul Smith’s most discerning customers are fully met to the highest standard.’ is met.
My concepts success if hugely reliant on the ‘The Paul Smith Man’ and before creating a concept or product for them I had to gage an image of who my customer is, in detail in order to understand what my target market looked like and who my promotional tactics had to address.
Who is the Paul Smith man? What is their Occupation? Creative/Lecturer/Artist Where do they live? London, or a main city regularly travelling to London for work purposes Are they married? Yes, with older children Where did they grow up? Out of London Where do they shop? Paul Smith, Hugo Boss, Thomas Pink, Jacks of London
Creating an accurate customer profile from questions posed to my target market in questionnaires or focus group meetings allowed me to get a clear idea of the customer, a clear idea of my market and where to find my customer, I’ve given my customer a voice therefore feeling that I can approach the customer on a personal level with a product relevant for them.
What do they do at the weekend? Play sport/watch sport, read, go to the pub, go to exhibitions/gigs, cycle What newspaper do they read? The Guardian/The Telegraph Do they go to the cinema? Yes, usually smaller cinemas as they have an interest in indie film
Where do they Socialize? Q: “Where do you go out to socialize in London and why?” (See appendix A: Section Three) The answers to this question allowed me to analyze where my target market like to spend their free time therefore allowing me to analyze the locations identifying strengths and weaknesses in order to create a location that resonates what the target want from The Paul Smith House. A: “The Crown and Grey Hound pub Dulwich Village” (See appendix A: Section Three) The Crown and Grey Hound was my port of call, a pub popular amongst my focus group and target market. When visiting this location myself I noted the warm, British atmosphere loved by my target market. Tony, a London based creative in my focus group mentioned his love of this pub for its A: “Local atmosphere, I’ve been going here for years” (See appendix A: Section Three) This idea of nostalgia again a constant theme of importance for my target market and fitting with my research umbrellas Tony also noted that this pub A: “Was still quite trendy and cool” (See appendix A: Section Three) Emphasizing the idea that a contemporary forward thinking environment was still important to the Paul Smith Man.
Another location mentioned was A: “The Bourdon Mansion, Mayfair” (See appendix A: Section Three) It was noted that although this lifestyle retreat for men was A:“Everything a man needs” (See appendix A: Section Three) And that the service was “great” there were negative points about this competitor members of my focus group mentioned A:“The exclusivity felt uncomfortable” A:“Great for business meetings” it was also A:“Very snooty, and I was unable to relax”. (See appendix A: Section Three) This competitor analysis really allowed me to understand what my target market wanted from the product, they wanted a product that housed all of the services that a man needs. However they wanted a product which was “inclusive” which is very well fitting with the service that The Paul Smith House intended to provide as the product is inspired my the inclusive feel of the eighteenth century coffee houses for “every trade and every profession” This inclusive idea for The Paul Smith House although inspired by my focus group research is also supported by Paul Smith’s opinions on clubs “We live on a planet where people do not feel safe. Sometimes, I have the strange feeling that people choose to belong to clubs to feel safer. Having a card, mingling with other members and having the same conversations can give one a sense of security”. (Paul Smith, A to Z, Page 35) The Paul Smith brand have a negative opinion of exclusivity, creativity is inclusive therefore cementing the importance of inclusivity for The Paul Smith House.
Thomas Pink Competitor SWOT It was evident from the analysis of my focus group questioning that the main competitor of Paul Smith was Thomas Pink, it was noted that the “Great Tailoring” of Thomas Pink is still “fitting” of my target markets age. It was also noted that “The shopping experience is great, quick easy and they always have what I want” however when asking the focus group to compare Thomas Pink with Paul Smith it was evident that the strengths lay in Paul Smiths lifestyle, “I buy into the lifestyle, the blogs, the exhibitions and the brands ever suitable aesthetic”. This answer supported the need for The Paul Smith House. This SWOT analysis allows me to understand that my target market buys into the lifestyle and so by pushing ‘The Paul Smith World’ (a lifestyle blog on the Paul Smith website) the product would be fitting for what the target market want. The experience was also important to my focus group, they noted that Thomas Pink “was just a store, and I have less of an investment emotionally in Thomas Pink unlike Paul Smith which is a rounded brand, with a historically British feel”. This SWOT allowed me to understand again, the importance of Nostalgia and History to my target market, they were interested in the emotional investment that they are investing in the brand, it was also noted that a member of my focus group described Thomas Pink as “an un-exciting brand” all of these thoughts and expressions have allowed me to identify what is important to my target market allowing me create an exciting yet historic product in The Paul Smith House.
1. The Great Tailoring 2.They always have what we want 3.The fitting is also great 4.I don’t have to look very far, everything is just there 5. Great Coloured Shirts 6. A Very Historic Brand
1.There isn’t much of a lifestyle, it is just a store 2. It’s not that exciting, it hasn’t got too much going on 3. It’s not that trendy and not tried to expand the brand or reach a new market
1. They have the opportunity to expand the brand 2.They could use their great tailoring and reliable client base to their advantage 3.They could push the idea of a lifestyle, introduce new collections
1. Their competitor brands such as Paul Smith are expanding worldwide 2. Their Competitors are doing interesting things and attracting a younger generation.
#HelloMyNameIsPaulSmith Finally, due to my concept representing the Paul Smith brand I asked one of my focus group members David to visit the ‘Hello My Name Is Paul Smith’ Exhibition at the Design Museum and write me a 140 character ‘tweet’ review of the exhibition. ‘It was exciting, inspiring and everything I love about Paul Smith. It was an insight into his mind, an exploration of the brand and intellectually stimulating’ This ‘tweet’ review allowed me to see what my target market thought as most important, ‘exciting’, ‘inspiring’ and ‘stimulating’ these descriptive words highlighted what’s important to my target market, the experience is key to a successful concept.
The Paul Smith House Shop Front
Located in the heart of historical Covent Garden on Endell Street, my Paul Smith House will be the London Home for Paul Smith Men. This creative consummate retreat will boast the finest Paul Smith Shoes and Accessories collections, surrounded by services such as Barber, The Coffee Stand, The Rizzoli Study Lounge, Denim Tailoring Services and Bespoke Leather Engraving Services. The Paul Smith House will embody the Paul Smith Man; the space will also provide an inclusive platform for those in the creative industries, a place for indulging, working, thinking, creating, learning and relaxing. Inspired by the historical Coffee Houses of the 18th Century, the Paul Smith House aims to “Follow the formula of maximizing interaction between customers and aims to forge a creative convivial environment”. The physical product The Paul Smith House aims to increase footfall to Covent Garden, create a high quality lifestyle experience for the Paul Smith Man, whilst dedicating itself to complete “inclusivity” while promoting the historic importance of its surrounding and the Coffee Houses of the Eighteenth Century. The Paul Smith House involves a wide array of services, also known as the concept’s Unique Selling Points and is filled with innovative intellectually stimulating, thought provoking material.
The Bourden House, Mayfair STRENGTHS
“1. The location is fabulous. 2. The Service is impeccable, as long as you look like you belong there 3. They stock some of the finest congacs 4.The Screening room is very impressize”
“1. It is very exclusice, it is not a place that you can relax 2. It is not somewhere you would go at the weekends It closes very early, leaving minimal time to socialize in the evenings 3.It’s not intellectually stimulating as an experience”
“1.It is too expensive 2. It’s not relaxed enough and far too exclusive
“1. It could really use its elite client base to its advatage and organize events which could be great for promotion” 2. Collaborations or Exhibitions”
My main aim when creating The Paul Smith House was to create a product that my target market wanted, and that was not already available. I formed a discussion meeting with my focus group, in order to understand their thoughts and opinions on what was already available, and what they would like to gain from The Paul Smith House. It became apparent from my competitor analysis that my target market wanted a product that included all the services that the Paul Smith Man needs, at a reasonable price but also with an inclusive atmosphere. This feedback justified my aim for the Paul Smith House to be an inclusive environment. Importantly, this feedback also aligned with the brands negative idea of an exclusive ‘Club’. “We live on a planet where people do not feel safe. Sometimes, I have the strange feeling that people choose to belong to clubs to feel safer. Having a card, mingling with other members and having the same conversations can give one a sense of security”. (Paul Smith, A to Z, Page 35)
It was also important for The Paul Smith House to have the right level of quality for my target market, and for it to reflect a real desire of ones self. When posing the question Q: ”What would you like to gain from The Paul Smith House”(See Appendix C, Section one)? It became evident that my target market valued a high level of service and that all of the services within the product must be of the highest quality. My target market also identified that the product must be inspirational and intellectually stimulating “I want somewhere that is in keeping with the Paul Smith World, that incorporates exhibitions, fashion and music” (See Appendix C, Section one) with a reflection of the brand being a constant theme. Another asked to gain “A comfortable, aspirational, inclusive, personal experience” (See Appendix C, Section one) it had become apparent that my product must create an experience worth The Paul Smith man investing their time. I also needed to identify the level of engagement that my target market would like from the product, with Capital and Counties
identifying that the average Covent Garden customer spends on average 97 minutes in Covent Garden it was integral to understand how much time my target market were willing to invest in my product. Answers such as “I want an experience, an intense lifestyle experience” (See Appendix C section one) and “I want a personal experience tailored to me” “I’d like a nostalgic experience, a journey through Paul Smith as a brand” (See Appendix C section one), it was evident that the experience was crucial to my target market. Due to the nature of my concept, my target market already had a connection with the brand Paul Smith “I already have an emotional connection with Paul Smith and so your product will automatically evoke a nostalgic feel for me as a customer” (See Appendix C, section one) however my product must be in keeping with the brand to satisfy my target markets already invested emotional connection. Once the level of quality, value and attachment that my target market wanted were understood I began to create a physical product including the services/ collection to be housed in The Paul Smith House that were in keeping with my target markets desire.
“The first thing I noticed when entering the Floral Street store was the cleanliness of the windows, the perfectly positioned lighting and a mannequin in the window which was appropriate to the current Paul Smith men’s collection. The minimal store layout drew my attention to the tidiness of the store, the beautiful wooden mahogany interior and perfectly folded collections. The minimal stands allow the collections to do all of the talking and really guide me through the store. Within thirty seconds of being in the store I was greeted by a friendly Paul Smith associate who immediately asked me if there was anything he could do to help me and to approach him if there was anything he could do for me. After the warm welcome from the associate I made my way through the menswear section of the store admiring the fitting Paul Smith graphics, all appropriately placed and minimal therefore not to draw my attention from the garments. Although the pricing of the garments weren’t greatly visible, my main focus was on the quality of the clothes and not so much with there being an obvious price tag however I did notice that all of the prices were brand fitting and accurate. Whilst making my way through the Floral Street store I felt as if the layout was telling an interesting story, although there was minimal emphasis on graphics the garments spoke for themselves allowing me experience The Paul Smith World keeping me wondering what was around the corner whilst taking in the fabulous interior, intriguing art work/ collectables and well tailored garments. At this point in my shopping experience account I decided to experience the fitting room and so along with my appropriately priced, wool-silk blend dress I entered the women’s changing room. Easily assessable with the interior although slightly more feminine very fitting with the aesthetic of the rest of the store however the customer service was not that to be admired. I felt the sales associate lacked interest when serving me, she was not greatly helpful and then when I mentioned that I would not be purchasing the garment seemed rather pushy and rude. Overall, my experience in the Paul Smith store on Floral Street was positive it sent me on a fantastic journey through the brand, the brand aesthetic and showcased the garments effectively. However I would say when creating your own Paul Smith inspired concept, please pay special attention to the service, allow the customer to enjoy the experience as opposed to feeling as if they must make a purchase.” - Mystery Shopper Report, Jessie May Brooks
The Rizzoli Study Lounge Within The Paul Smith House my target market had identified the services that they thought appropriate, a publisher/book stand, a coffee stand, a tailoring service, a barber and exhibitions or creative installments incorporated into the experience of the product. The Rizzoli Study Lounge meets my target markets wish for a book publisher to be present “I would really like an appropriate book publishers present, complete with arm chairs and a log fire” (See Appendix C section two). It was decided that Rizzoli publishers were the correct brand to place in the Study Lounge as they were in keeping with the creative aim of The Paul Smith House. They specialize in illustrated subjects, fashion, art and architecture, although there is already a store within Somerset House, having this publisher in the Paul Smith House would mean all publications would be hand picked and tailored to the Paul Smith man. My target market noted that “It is a timeless publishers, yet still very contemporary it’s hugely fitting with the brand and its specialism in creative publications strengthens it over other publishers we have looked at such as Thames and Hudson, Taschen and Foyles London” (See Appendix C, section three). It was felt that Rizzoli’s strengths lay in the high quality creative publications that they produce, my target market noted “They are publications that you make investments in, the high quality and the insight would make it worth the high price”
The Prufrock Coffee Stand
and so they were in keeping with the high value that my target market expected. Having addressed that my target market are willing to invest a high level of engagement in The Paul Smith House, the Rizzoli publications will intellectually stimulate the Paul Smith Man, mentally and visually therefore aligning with the high level of engagement wanted. Although this publisher is in keeping with what my target market want for the time being it has been addressed that there must be a constant “rapport” (See Appendix C section one) between The Paul Smith House and the target market in order to keep this section of the Paul Smith House adaptable to the target market. The Rizzoli Study Lounge will also house a range of I-Pad’s that will showcase the Paul Smith App and the catalogue of Rizzoli publications available in The Rizzoli Lounge adding an element of technological innovation to The Paul Smith House.
The Prufrock Coffee Stand will be located in the Rizzoli Study Lounge with a minimalist aesthetic and concentration on the education behind making coffee; my target market felt as though the collaboration with The Paul Smith house would be perfect. When comparing Prufrock with numerous other London based coffee brands my target market noted that “This is my favorite place, it would work so well in the Paul Smith House and they could promote their training center it could be a great match” (See Appendix C, section three) The high quality service and brilliant value for money met my target markets desire of quality and value. Prufrock Coffee house was chosen particularly due to its London Barista Training center, my target market felt that “they have incorporated education, this is an interesting idea and even bodes well for barista training nights within the Paul Smith House” (See Appendix C section three).
Therefore meeting my target markets level of engagement, they wished to be intellectually stimulated and Prufrock Coffee with its interesting approach to hospitality meets this need very well.Prufrock Coffee House was chosen as part of the product due to its investment in education, as it was thought that this fits well with one of the main aims of The Paul Smith House to highlight the importance of The Coffee Houses which were renowned for their desire to be “intellectually stimulating” “We would be hugely interested in this idea, we love the Paul Smith brand and it would be great promotion platform for our barista lounge” – Prufrock Coffee House A small section of The Rizzoli Study Lounge will be dedicated to a leather embossing service, this service will be a ‘Pop up’ service where The Paul Smith man can get his name embossed onto any purchased leather goods however the service will focus on embossing Paul Smith filo-fax’s.
This idea plays on the research term nostalgia as my target market note “I think embossing filo-fax’s really brings back that feeling of the first time I saw a filo-fax in the 80’s in a Paul Smith store” (Appendix C, section three) This idea also promotes craftsmanship, and a personal approach in keeping with the aims of The Paul Smith House my target market justifies the personal approach “I like a personalized filo-fax or note pad, it’s something special that lasts a long time, it’s a gift for a lifetime” (See Appendix C, section three) This service acts successfully as an innovative approach to my research umbrellas history and nostalgia, an innovative approach that’s suitable for my target market.
The Rizzoli Study Lounge’s aesthetic much like the rest of The Paul Smith Lounge has been tailored by the target market and influenced by the aesthetic in the current Paul Smith stores. The flooring in this room will be hand picked, engrained ‘Dark Brushed Burned Oak’ wood, placed in parallel lines similar to a ‘parquet’ flooring style.Inspired by the flooring in the Albemarle Street store, the target market appreciated the “quirky wooden flooring” (See Appendix C section six) and when approached with three different types of flooring (Country Oak Solid Wood Flooring, ‘Dark Brushed Burned Oak’ Wood Flooring and Tanned Bamboo Solid Wood Flooring) chose the ‘Burned Oak’ due to it’s deep mahogany coloring creating a nostalgic, historic feel when walking into The Rizzoli Study Lounge. In the center of The Rizzoli Study Lounge will stand a coffee table, created out of Hand Picked ‘Burned Oak’ the target market thought this fitting with the flooring in the lounge, the hand-picked top enhances the personalized feel and the “attention to detail” (See Appendix C section six) that was so apparent at the other Paul Smith locations. The walls of The Rizzoli Study Lounge will all have their own personality, with the wall ahead of you as you walk in being covered from top to bottom in mahogany wooden shelves (filled with the Rizzoli Publications), creating a soft, relaxed feel that was so important to my target market when creating the product. In the center of this wall will be a traditional cast iron fireplace inspired by the aesthetic of the eighteenth century. The opposite wall will be adorned with artwork and memorabilia framed in solid black rectangular frames. These frames will be filled with pieces that Paul Smith has been sent over the years, inspirational quotes and brand memorabilia creating a mood board of the brand and an insight into the brand history, supporting the target markets wish to have an “Emotional connection with Paul Smith and continue to be drawn to the brand” (See Appendix C section one).
The lighting in this room similar to that in the entrance corridor will be Italian Flos pendant lighting, creating a dimly lit feel allowing for warmth in this room. The Rizzoli Study Lounge aims to have a warm, inclusive feel and the deep mahogany and dim-lighting was noted by my target market to create “A warm homely feel” (See appendix C section six). All of the furniture in this room is available in the Paul Smith collection, my target market felt that “keeping The Paul Smith House as Paul Smith as possible” (Appendix C section one) would create the best product possible and so by the furniture being upholstered in his renowned designs, the Paul Smith brand will engulf The Paul Smith House.
The barber located in the room at the back of The Paul Smith House will be Barbers Point, based in West Soho an independent salon, exclusively for men. Barbers Point boasts the highest quality service, and the moderate price range makes the value remarkable. However ‘Barbers Point’ fits fantastically with The Paul Smith brand, “They are so fitting of the brand and very trendy” (Appendix C, Section Three) they are passionate in their work and specialize in the ‘mod’ hair cutting, fitting with the Paul Smith brand and faces of the brand. “It’s so fitting with the Paul Smith aesthetic and the likes of Bowie and Wiggins” (Appendix C, Section Three). A member of my focus group visited Barbers Point and noted that “It was a very personal service, I felt their attention to detail was incredible and the barbers wealth of knowledge and experience was an education, I really feel it’s open atmosphere will fit perfectly with the “inclusive” aim of The Paul Smith House.” This account confirmed that Barbers Point met the levels of engagement that are important to my target market and their attention to detail and high quality were of the right level.
Barbers Point, West Soho The Barber room interior will be in keeping with the 1960’s ‘mod’ like feel of the brand, Barbers Point. The dark brown, upholstered leather barber chairs placed towards the right of the room opposite a wall covered in mirrors are in keeping with my target markets wish for ‘nostalgia’. The lighting inside the Barber Room will be spot lighting in order for the barbers to see their clients adequately however a play on the idea of ‘nostalgia’ with barbers lights being placed either side of the mirrors on the right hand wall. The flooring in this room will be ‘laminate parquet’ this allows for an easy clean and also enhances the 1960’s barber feel. Yet again this room works with the target market’s emotional attachment and uses the idea of nostalgia to allow them to feel comfortable in The Paul Smith House.
The final room located within The Paul Smith House is ‘the exhibition room’ this name derived from the idea that the room will be where the collections are exhibited “Simple wooden racks, allow the clothes to do the work” – Paul Smith. The accessories and shoe collections will be housed in this room as my target market identified “I think the accessories collection is the most affordable, great for the aspirational younger generation aiming to buy into the brand without having to make a large financial investment” (Appendix C Section four) With one of the main aims of The Paul Smith House being to ‘provide a uniquely creative, high quality lifestyle experience’ the emphasis is less on purchasing Paul Smith garments a focus group member notes “The Paul Smith House concept leads me to feel as if I’m going to experience a lifestyle and having the accessories and shoes collections present does not put me in a position where I feel that I have to make an expensive purchase in order to experience the Paul Smith world” (Appendix C, section four) The exhibition room will house Paul Smith leather goods, wallets, bags, cufflinks, I-pad cases, scarves socks and shoes (with the emphasis on brogues). My target market identified “I am happy with the price of the Accessories and Shoes, I buy into the quality of the accessories and have been a Paul Smith customer for years, the price is not an issue for me” Insinuating that the quality and value of the accessories already meet the target markets expectations and so the collections in the exhibition rooms emphasize the importance of ‘“inclusivity’ and ‘Aspirational’ engagement.
Also within the exhibition room will be the ‘Denim Tailoring Service’ an important, unique part of The Paul Smith House. My target market identified a need for this service “Yes, a jean fitting service would be great it’s very difficult to get well fitted jeans as we get older” (See Appendix C section two) due to the age of my target market this service was of up most importance. It was identified that my target market “would be very interested, however try and find a service that isn’t already available in Paul Smith stores” (See Appendix C section two). Although Paul Smith already provides a bespoke tailoring service is for suits, trousers and shirts only leaving a gap in the market for ‘denim tailoring’. The tailor located within the exhibition room will be a denim tailor already trained in the Paul Smith manner yet specializing in bespoke denim tailoring and a personal service. Allowing the quality of the service to meet the needs of the target market, and the unique essence of the service allows it to meet the target markets idea of value “This would be something that I have never seen done with Paul Smith and I already invest in the quality tailoring of the jean and so would be willing to pay for the personalized service”. The personalized aspect of the service meets the important engagement criteria of the target market as it would provide an engaging, inspirational level of engagement. Although this service meets what my target market want it is also in keeping with the Paul Smith Brand, the skill of bespoke tailoring has a long intricate history, the denim tailoring service is a play on tradition, an eccentric avenue off the traditional idea of tailoring, the concept is in-keeping with the brand perfectly.
Competitor SWOT Anaylisis - Levis
TAILORING SERVICE ILLUSTRATIONS
This room will be a large open space to the left of the entrance corridor, creating an exhibition type feel with its simple wooden mahogany clothing racks inspired by the very minimal clothing stands in the current Paul Smith’s stores in order to allow “The clothes to speak for themselves” - Paul Smith, in this case it will be the accessories that will be speaking for themselves. Placed strategically on the stands, the leather goods will perform as in an exhibition, allowing my target market to be visually stimulated by the collection. A glass cabinet will stand in the center of the accessories stand encased inside will be the bags and scarves. The flooring and tables in this room will be in keeping with the rest of The Paul Smith House (Handpicked Burned Oak) allowing for a continuous feel throughout the retreat. The Paul Smith shoe collection will be showcased on top these tables, choreographed strategically to enhance the exhibition experience. The lighting in this room will be spotlighting in order to light up the garments effectively.
“The OBSESSIVE persuit of STATUS, WEALTH and POWER has done much to drag AMBITION’S reputaion into the MUD”
The Paul Smith House as a product aims to provide services that are of the highest quality and value. The house aims to be a concept with longevity meeting my target markets wish “I’d like it to be sustainable, somewhere I know will last for years” (See Appendix C section One) “I would like it to showcase the history of the brand” (See Appendix C section One) In order to ensure the longevity of The Paul Smith House the product aims to be adaptable should needs change. This adaptability will be ensured through numerous avenues, regular rapport with the target market through networking evenings and discussion events (see promotion), Paul Smith himself will also regularly take part in twitter question and answer sessions – these long-term checks are fitting with the older age group of my target market and are supported by my target market. Short-term checks will also be put into place, The Paul Smith man will regularly be emailed a feedback card asking about their experience whether they feel the aims of the house are being met (see Promotion for more detail about email database). Q: How do you think this product can be adaptable as your needs as my target market change? A: “I think you just need to keep a rapport with us” A: “Just keep getting to know us as we get older” A: “Keep asking us questions” (See Appendix C, Section One)
The Place ‘The Paul Smith House will be located in the heart of the historical Covent Garden, on Endell Street.’ Covent Garden a district of London on the eastern fringe of the West End, and was historically once known as the most illustrious vegetable market in London. “Once it was truly a garden, filled with herbs and fruit… It became the most famous market in England and, given its unique trading status in the capital of world trade, its images were endlessly reproduced in drawings and in paintings.” (Peter Ackroyd, London The Biography Page 332) The location outlined in the brief to focus on in this project is Covent Garden its history riddled past was the main inspiration for my concept, The Paul Smith House. Inspired by the Coffee Houses of the Eighteenth Century the location fits effortlessly with the consummate lifestyle retreat and the “great historical background” (see Appendix B section one) is appreciated by my target market.
SWOT Analysis of Covent Garden STRENGTHS
1. “The location is so central” 2.”It’s got a great historical background” 3. “It’s near Charing Cross” 4. “No driving zone, easy to get taxis” 5. “Not too far for us older guys to walk”
1. “Too many tourists” 2. “Very close to Leicster Square” 3. “There is alot to do in such a small space, deciding what to do can be tough” 4. “It’s slightly too mainstream”
1. “Too close to other major attractions” 2. “The tourist trade threatens Londoners” 3. “Very Capitalist, consumer area, a loss of community feel”
1.”Highlight the history of Covent Garden” 2. “Could potentially bring Londoners back”
When undergoing an environmental SWOT of the area with my focus group the opportunity to “highlight the history of the area” (see Appendix B section three) was acknowledged by my target market. Although the focus group deemed Covent Garden as “very capitalist, run by big investors with a real loss of a community feel” (see Appendix B section three) the group were quick to turn this into an opportunity, agreeing that my concept’s aim for inclusivity could return the historic, community feel back to Covent Garden. “Covent Garden is home to some of the cities newest institutions, which are busy serving up everything from classic cuisine to boozy milkshakes, care of an inspiring group of cutting edge entrepreneurs” – (Monocle July 2013) Monocle, one of my target markets favored publications (see Appendix A section three) noted the cutting edge, innovative qualities of Covent Garden justifying perfectly the location for my target market.
SWOT Analysis of Endell Street STRENGTHS
1. “Very close to Covent Garden” 2.”It’s still got a community feel” 3.”It’s open, relaxed and inclusive” 4. “Very historic”
1. “It isn’t in the ‘busy’ part of Covent Garden so may no gain footfall from passers by” 2.”It is rather close to Floral Street store”
1. “Lots of space for renovation” 2. “Close community, could create regular support for the concept”
1.”Very close to The Hospital Club, however this could be turned into an collaboration opportunity”
Specifically, The Paul Smith House will be located on Endell Street. After an environmental analysis of the competitor Alfred Dunhill’s ‘Bourdon House’ it became clear that the location of The Paul Smith House must be easy to get to via public transport (see Appendix B section four). Endell Street fitted perfectly with the criteria as it is only a two-minute walk from Covent Garden tube station. When asking a member of my focus group to walk the journey from Covent Garden to Endell Street he noted it “A quick, brisk walk, away from the chaos of the piazza, a very pleasant location to commute to” (see Appendix B section seven) he noted that “It is out the way of tourists” which was a main threat of Covent Garden for my target market as they identified Covent Garden as having “too many tourists” (See Appendix B section three). My target market also identified that the competitor location in Mayfair “very exclusive” (see Appendix B section four) and Covent Garden as a location is hugely “diverse” (see Appendix B section three). Endell Street, although located in Covent Garden has a more local, community feel fitting another of my research umbrellas.
Endell Street is a location that my focus group identifies “retains the historical aspect of the concept”(see Appendix B section six) it is renowned as the street that was cleared by Sir Pennethorne (architect and town planner) to cater for the needs of the most underprivileged Londoners, and for its incredible contribution to the development of medicine. One of my focus group member added “It was the first suffrage hospital where female nurses treated soldiers injured at Somme in the First World War – revolutionary!” (See Appendix B section six) Therefore, the location for The Paul Smith House on Endell Street reinforces one of the aims of my concept ‘To promote the historic importance of the surroundings of the House and the Coffee Houses of the 18th Century that have inspired the unique, creative experience that Paul Smith House aims to foster ‘With Endell Street being so close to Bow Street, the location of the notorious Will’s Coffee House in the eighteenth century “the most famous or at lease the most literary coffee house in London among members which can be named Samuel Pepys, John Dryden...
the pre-eminent poets and writers of seventeenth and eighteenth century England” (Peter Ackroyd, Walking tour) having the location of The Paul Smith House on Endell Street can successfully promote the importance of the historic surroundings. The historical location also fit perfectly with my research umbrella History and reinforces my target markets expectations of a historical location “I think it retains the historical aspect of the concept” (See Appendix B Section six). Endell Street also fits suitably with my target market.
73-75 Endell Street The exact location of The Paul Smith House would be 73-75 Endell Street although this location is further down the street away from the Covent Garden central Piazza it will still encourage the target market to walk from Covent Garden tube towards Endell Street. This exact location has been chosen due to the site specifics, the shop front allows the optimum setting for The Paul Smith House with large window space encouraging promotional window installments that will aim to entice and stimulate passers by and the target market. My target market assessed the exact location for The Paul Smith House and addressed “The location has great large window space for promotion, it’s also a historic building greatly in keeping with the concept” (Appendix B section six)
Although Endell Street is home to The Hospital Club, a private members club and creative arts venue that boast that it is a celebration of creativity, supporting and inspiring its members. This may be seen as a threat for the location of The Paul Smith House as The Hospital Club could be seen as a competitor however use the close geographical location as an opportunity for collaboration. Paul Smith as a brand are constantly looking for inspiration, and Paul Smith himself boasts that “inspiration is all around us” as one of his favorite quotes with his blog ‘Paul Smith World’ constantly creating a visual diary of inspiration online. The Hospital Club already have colorful list of ‘artists in residence’ and this list is constantly changing and updating which bodes for endless collaboration/exhibition opportunities (See Promotion). A member of my focus group states “Endell Street is full of creative opportunities, The Paul Smith House could really integrate itself and Endell Street has the possibility to become the creative hub of Covent Garden” (Appendix B section six).
The longevity of The Hospital Club also promotes Endell Street as a good location for a creative consummate retreat. The location on Endell Street not only meets the aims of the concept successfully I believe it will work as an epicenter of the product as it promotes every aspect of the concept. The historic aspect will not only educate my target market with inspiring architecture it will also promote longevity, with the aim of locating The Paul Smith House for years to come.
The Price Traditional marketing approaches identify a concept of worth-the product is only worth what the consumer is willing to pay. Therefore I asked my target market what financial, emotional and engagement investment they are willing to make when engaging with The Paul Smith House. After proposing that the Accessories and Shoe collections would be housed in The Paul Smith house the feedback justified the idea that my target market are less sensitive to price because they are already Paul Smith customers “I am happy with the price of the Accessories and Shoes, I buy into the quality of the accessories and have been a Paul Smith customer for years, the price is not an issue for me” “I think the accessories collection is the most affordable, great for the aspirational younger generation aiming to buy into the brand without having to make a large financial investment” “The Paul Smith House concept leads me to feel as if I’m going to experience a lifestyle and having the accessories and shoes collections present does not put me in a position where I feel that I have to make an expensive purchase in order to experience the Paul Smith world” (See Appendix C section four)
Therefore suggesting that the physical cost of the collections would not be a problem as the target market are already comfortable with Paul Smith prices. However, although they seemed happy about the price of the brands collections I thought it important to clarify whether they were willing to pay the price for the services that they had selected. When discussing with my target market, they insisted they would appreciate a barber service, a publishers, a tailoring service, a coffee stand and a leather engraving service and when helping me to pick the appropriate companies to work within The Paul Smith House, price was a point of research.
Rizzoli publishers were chosen over other publisher such as ‘Tascher’ due to their huge range of creative publications and their lack of UK presence, when asking my target market about their thoughts on the price of Rizzoli publications it was noted “The are the best coffee table creative books in the world, of course I would pay the price for the quality” “They are publications that you make investments in, the high quality and the insight would make it worth the high price” (See Appendix C section three) With Rizzoli prices ranging from £5.00 to £2,800.00 there is a vast price range, however my target market have addressed that the quality of the books make them valuable and a worthwhile the purchase.
Barbers Point, West Soho When decided on a barber service after much research with my target market, it was decided that Barbers Point based in West Soho would be the most fitting especially due to their price range. When discussing the price range of competitor, Bourdon House it was addressed that; “Although the service is impeccable, to enjoy the services you have to spend a lot” “It’s too bloody expensive” (See Appendix B section four) Therefore when proposing up to five London based barbers to the target market, Barbers Point was the best quality and also the most affordable. With the 1960’s mod feel of Barbers point and the modest pricing of £31.00 per cut, the barbers were perfectly fitting with the brand Paul Smith. When asking my target market to visit the barbers they stated that Barbers Point;
“The experience was great, the quality of the cut was great and I loved the cool 1960’s feel and the prices didn’t break then bank, they’d be perfect” “They were the best out of the two I experienced and the pricing was reasonable and worth the great value, I thought it would fit the brand perfectly due to Paul Smiths love of Bradley Wiggins and Bowie” (Appendix C section three) Barbers Point treatments are priced between £10.00 and £46.00 a much more inclusive price point than certain competitors. The cost to Barbers Point would be the price of renting out a chair, £120.00, and so the overall weekly cost for four chairs would be £480.00 per week this will be a profit for Paul Smith as a brand. Barbers Point will gain from great publicity and the connection with Paul Smith.
Prufrock Coffee The Coffee House, Prufrock Coffee based in Leather Lane London was chosen by my target market as fitting especially due to the high quality, innovation and price with the espresso’s ranging from £2.00 to £3.00 Prufrock Café came up miles above other coffee brands for their quality. “Prufrock Coffee was my favorite, its coffee was of the highest quality, and the pricing was so reasonable” (see Appendix C section three) The price of the coffee for the Paul Smith man is “reasonable” and the high quality meant it was worth the investment for my target market. The cost to Prufrock Café would be minimal, the innovative aspect of the company including it’s barista school means The Paul Smith House would work as a great form of publicity for them and this creative use of coffee and design fits fabulously with the creative hub that is The Paul Smith House.
The Denim Tailoring The Denim tailoring service housed within The Paul Smith house does however come at a high cost for the personalized service. However my target market believed “I would be very interested” “I would definitely pay for this” “I want a great denim tailoring service” “This would be something that I have never seen done with Paul Smith and I already invest in the quality tailoring of the jean and so would be willing to pay for the personalized service” (See Appendix C section three) The Denim Tailoring Service is difficult to put a price on as it is a hand tailored personalized service however judging by my research I believe this innovative idea would not only work well for Paul Smith as a brand as it hones its tailoring skills into a new realm unlike anything done before, it is also a worthwhile investment for the Paul Smith man as they get older; “This is a great idea, well tailored jeans are harder to find as you get older” (See Appendix C section three)
The Bespoke Leather Engraving The Bespoke Leather Engraving service would be a ‘pop up’ service aiming to personalize leather gifts (predominantly Paul Smith Filo-Fax’s), an innovative service within The Paul Smith House. At around £25.00 per item to be embossed, this service is more about creating personalized accessories for the Paul Smith Man. A service that my target market appreciate “I like a personalized filo-fax or note pad, it’s something special that lasts a long time, it’s a gift for a lifetime” (see Appendix C section three) It also fits in well with my target markets desire for nostalgia and history as historically Paul Smith were the first brand to endorse the “filo-fax” and a focus group member noted “I think embossing filo-fax’s really brings back that feeling of the first time I saw a filo-fax in the 80’s in a Paul Smith store” (see Appendix C section three) Therefore the price of the embossing is a fraction compared to the experience it creates.
As well as the physical price of the components within The Paul Smith House the Paul Smith Man will also be making other investments into my concept. The main investment being time as the concept is a process, a consummate boutique somewhere that takes time out of your life with the aim to creatively stimulate the Paul Smith Man. My target market noted that they want to gain “Great Service is a must” “I would like a place that I can relax” “I want an experience, a full lifestyle experience” (See Appendix C section one/two) It seemed clear that the quality, service and experience to the consumer was of upmost importance. Therefore the concept must be a worthwhile experience for them to invest their time in. The Paul Smith House aims to engage with the target market and provide more for the market as opposed to using them as a consumer. This is also an idea supported by Paul Smith in his ‘Hello My Name Is Paul Smith’ Exhibition “When you come into a Paul Smith shop, even if you don’t buy anything, you should have a pleasurable and memorable experience”
With the Rizzoli publishers, great value coffee and barber services, and the highest quality engraving and tailoring services The Paul Smith House aims to give the highest experiential value to the Paul Smith Man without them having to make a large investment. With the comments “Have a comfortable, aspirational, inclusive cultural experience” (see Appendix C section one) “Architectural beauty” (See Appendix C section one) As a starting point the Paul Smith House aims to create an educational, intellectual, creative experience as this is more important to The Paul Smith man than the financial price point. It is important to The Paul Smith man to retain the
“Emotional connection with Paul Smith and continue to be drawn to the brand” (See Appendix C section one) The concept aims to have a minimal financial burden to the Paul Smith man, with purchases available but not necessary. Instead the concept aims to creatively inspire the Paul Smith Man and be a space that allows aesthetic beauty, innovation and inspiration, giving the consumer a personal experience however creating positive publicity and brand awareness for Paul Smith and gaining footfall to Covent Garden. This concept is unique, as experience and quality are of the highest standard however in keeping with the inclusive ethos of the concept, the prices and services are not extortionately priced. The Paul Smith house has huge scope as a concept to create successful revenue for Paul Smith due to the unique, innovative idea therefore by filling a gap in the market Paul Smith with obtain positive publicity causing greater interest in the brand.
The Process “On entering The Paul Smith House located on the historic Endell Street I am firstly drawn to the magnificent installation window display, a Pinarello Dogma 65.1 Think 2 racing bicycle displayed alone in the window. A magnificent creature, dripping in the Paul Smith aesthetic, a beautifully light frame embroidered in the Paul Smith pink with the renowned designers name illustrated along the frame, one of only four one-off bicycles made in the world, a fabulously innovative window display not only reflecting Paul Smiths passion for cycling, this well lit bicycle is also a stunning piece of art drawing the attention of anyone passing by. I am now inspired by this piece and excited to explore what The Paul Smith House has in store. The authentic feel of the ‘dark brushed, burned oak’ flooring created a nostalgic, historic feel when making my first few steps through The Paul Smith House, I felt as if I’d leapt back into the eighteenth century I notice a beautiful mahogany credenza in front of the entrance, standing behind the mahogany beauty was a well groomed young man sporting a beautifully tailored Paul Smith suit (one would hope) and a warm smile, “Welcome to The Paul Smith House, please come in and take a look around. We have the Rizzoli Study Lounge and Coffee Stand to your right, and to your left our Paul Smith shoes and accessories collections, along with our Denim Tailoring Service and Bespoke Leather engraving service”
I was taken back by the amount of services situated in The Paul Smith House. The well-groomed gent then went on to explain “The Barber service is straight ahead, I can get you booked in now if you would like to undergo any grooming treatments?” I decided against booking a treatment and explained I was going to explore the house before I make my decision, with my new education of The Paul Smith House I went on to explore. I followed a short corridor down to the main rooms and couldn’t help but notice the beautifully decorated walls, the walls were covered in what looked like vintage buttons, thousands of them adorned the walls of the corridor a great pop of color! I was blown away but not surprised by the sheer attention to detail in The House but this is consistent throughout the Paul Smith stores. I also noted the walls were an indirect nod to the process of production, hugely thought provoking. These buttons were lit up by three beautifully crafted Italian Flos pendant lights positioned in the center of the ceiling hanging above the corridor, producing a dim lighting and an intriguing feel when walking down the corridor, complimenting beautifully with the dark brushed flooring. I decided to veer left when coming to the end of the corridor and walked into what could only be described as a wonderful exhibition space for the shoes and accessories collections, the room was brighter with well mapped out spot lighting, whilst appreciating the well thought out lighting I spot a drawing in the corner of ceiling, a drawing of a cat,
how funny I thought to myself, Paul Smith has even drawn his sense of humor in the ceiling! The sales associate had spotted that I had noticed the cat drawing on the ceiling and smiled at me “I’m glad you appreciate the smaller things in life” she said cheerily “Is there anything I can help you with?” I swiftly explained to her that I was just having a look around. I couldn’t help but appreciate the friendly staff, they had a very good way of allowing me to appreciate The Paul Smith House without being pushy or persistent which was great, I was now relaxed and could really take in the Paul Smith experience. The collections in this room were set out tremendously, the simple dark mahogany wooden racks blended into the background and allowed the accessories to do the talking, the men’s leather wallets stood to attention on the wooden shelves, I-Pad cases in every stripe and color lay on the shelf below, the travel bags lay side by side in a glass cabinet, the belts and scarfs took the place of pride in a center cabinet, all so well lit they spoke to me as I entered the room. My attention was quickly drawn to three beautiful ‘Bur Oak’ tables to the bottom end of this long room, the texture and hand made feel of these tables not only complimented the ‘burned oak’ flooring but also emphasized an authentic, nostalgic feeling. On top of these tables were the most beautiful Paul Smith brogues, choreographed effectively on the wooden tabletops. On the wall above these tables hung three pairs of shoes, a note to the right on the wall informed me that Paul Smith and
British boot-maker John Lobb collaborated on three special edition shoes for the Spring/ Summer 2013 Men’s Show in Paris. They were beautiful shoes, combining the traditional expertise of John Lobb with the sense of optimism of Paul Smith. Whilst appreciating these handmade shoes I couldn’t help but notice in the corner of the room a denim tailoring service, what a fantastic idea I thought to myself, as if the Paul Smith jean isn’t fabulous enough I can now have one made to suit my aging limbs! I sauntered over to a well-dressed man who seemed to be pattern cutting on a mahogany, ‘shakers’ inspired tailoring table. As I caught the gentleman’s eye he smiled and said “Would you like me to explain my service to you?” I obviously looked curious, I had never seen anything like it before in a Paul Smith store and with that he began to explain. “The Paul Smith Jeans Tailoring service is a personalized service making a custom jean inspired by Paul Smith tailoring for the Paul Smith man” he explained “It’s a step by step process, firstly I start by looking at the jeans you are already wearing, we have a coffee and I get to know my client, I then take some measurements and create a pattern, which I keep on file” he points at the I-pad in his hand, “You can specify the denim, the stich, the pocket size and number, you can ever have personalized silk pocket insides if you wish” At this point I notice an array of materials in a book on the table “Then a fortnight or so later I will call you back into store for you to try them on, I will then check the fitting is perfect and you will walk away with your perfect Paul Smith Jean”.
perfect and you will walk away with your perfect Paul Smith Jean”. It was evident that I was in awe of this fantastic service and had some questions “Why would you keep my jean pattern on file?” I asked, “Very simply, so that the next time you’d like a pair of jeans that fit you perfectly we can skip out the measuring step and I can just go from the pattern to create another pair”. This idea was fabulous and as I thanked the gent kindly I began to think about the production of the jean being important and the buttons on the walls in the corridor, it all seemed to link together in order to create this very unique, intriguing Paul Smith lifestyle. The attention to detail and personalization seemed huge, even down to the personalized silk pockets available, all fitting with Paul Smiths idea of his brand a slight eccentricity. Feeling enlightened by this idea, I began to walk back through this exhibition of accessories and noticed the beautifully decorated walls in the room, on the white wash walls hung beautiful antique golden frames. Each of these frames were filled with fabrics that portrayed the integral designs that Paul Smith is so famous for, the bright pink flowers, the multi colored stripes, the baby pink all of which just emphasized yet again the importance of inspiration and individuality for the brand. As I exit the accessory room I spot a room to the left of me I’d walked into the in-house barber; Barbers Point based in West Soho. The interior was a throwback to the 1960’s with dark brown upholstered
leather barbers chairs, barber pole lights attached to the walls, the floors a plastic parquet, the wall at the back covered seemed to be an ode to Paul Smiths love, cycling. Bold Black frames covered the walls, with images of Bradley Wiggins, The World Time Championships, Fernando Alonso, Kim Jenkins prints of the tour de France, oh and an odd shot of David Bowie. The friendly barber welcomed me and handed me a copy of the treatments available at Barbers Point for Paul Smith, I decided that a beard trimming would be appropriate and so took a seat. Whilst in the seat I was overcome by a friendly, homely feeling staring up at the ceiling I spot again a drawing of a dog, as I chuckle to myself the barber notes “He’s funny isn’t he Paul, a great sense of humor, you can see that in his designs” I replied “How did it come about you guys setting up in here?” “It was an idea that a lot of our competitors were having, and we’d been asked by a few gentleman’s clubs or shops to get involved in similar things, but the offer from Paul Smith stood out to me, I loved the idea of an inclusive retreat, Paul as a designer appreciates the mod look and it’s relaxed, anyone can come in it’s not judgmental or pushy”. With a nod I agreed, and admired my beautifully trimmed beard, I paid and thanked the barber and whilst leaving the room couldn’t help but admire the quality of the trim, and the affordable prices of the treatments. Stepping back onto the dark brushed burnt oak parquet flooring I realized that I had reached The Rizzoli Study Lounge, with the fresh smell of coffee in the air I glanced over to the back of the decadent lounge where a bar stood, Prufrock Cafe, Leather Lane were situated in the corner
a bearded barista smiled and kindly asked me “What can I get you sir?” as I glanced up at the menu it became apparent that this coffee house was one of a kind, serving the ‘best bright, challenging, fruity, sweet Jabberwocky’ espressos, there were also numerous exceptional teas on the menu along with a beautiful mahogany cabinet housing a range of tray bakes and buns. “Just an espresso” I answer, as I thanks the barista take my espresso I spot an empty Maharam by Paul Smith sofa, there it is again I thought to myself the sheer detail of The Paul Smith House overwhelmed me, the array of furniture in The Study Lounge were all part of the Paul Smith furniture collections, past and present. Whilst enjoying my espresso I began to take in my surroundings, in front of me stood a Bur Oak coffee table a range of publications covered the coffee table, copies of The Monocle, Fantastic Man, Port and Intelligent Life. To the right of each of the pieces of furniture I-pads in beautiful Paul Smith striped leather cases that stood on stands, the I-pad showcased the Paul Smith App, a beautiful use of technology and self promotion, the application was promoting up-coming exhibitions taking place in The Paul Smith House, some were teamed with the Hospital Club next door, what an innovative, creative collaboration I thought to myself. The wall in front of me was covered from top to bottom in shelves, shelves full of books I suppose this is why they call it the Rizzoli lounge I thought to myself. The shelves were full of one off creative publications, from the Paul Smith Publications to Majorelle: Men’s Fashion it seemed all to be there and what fascinated me the most was
not the beautifully placed fireplace to the center of the mahogany shelves but the subtle hint of eclectic Paul Smith style standing out within such a historic setting. I did not feel as if I was in a bookshop, instead a wonderfully inclusive creative library filled with one off publications. I began to appreciate the relaxed atmosphere in this room, in the corner of my eye I noticed the wall behind me, completely covered with the bold black frames similar to that in the barber room, as I began to appreciate the art work I realized that there was a story behind this wall, these images were all images that Paul Smith had been sent over the years, I had seen some of these images on the Culture Show when Paul Smith was interviewed. Some of these frames were so interesting, from things that inspired Paul as a designer, to quotes that motivate him this wall was a history of the brand, and the effect that Paul Smith as a designer and the brand had on it’s customer. The whole of The Paul Smith House had begun to tell a story, a story of inspiration and an exhibition of not only the Paul Smith collections or the brand but the process and history behind the brand everything within The Paul Smith house was interlinked so well, from the floor boards to the beautiful Italian Flos Lighting that somber the entrance corridor and the Rizzoli Study Lounge. In the far corner of the Study Lounge stood a wall filled with what looked to me like leather Filo-Fax’s, they stood to attention much like the collections in the exhibition room, yet again this took me back to the 1980’s as Paul Smith was the first fashion brand I had ever seen selling the filo-fax as part of his accessories collection.
By this point I had finished my espresso and took a stroll over to the man standing to the right of the shelf full of filo-fax’s, the helpful Paul Smith sales associate informed me that all of the leather Filo-Fax’s are part of Paul Smiths collection and a nod to the history of the brand, “The Filo-Fax was innovative to Paul Smith in the 80’s and although we are a brand that encourages technological change it is important to appreciate that creative people still make notes, and doodle, Paul Smith is a dyslexic guy and is constantly interrupted by thousands of ideas, that he writes down in his note book, without the Filo-Fax or leather note book our brand wouldn’t be as interesting as it is today!” the sales associate carried on to mention “We actually also provide a leather embossing service, you can have your initials or name engraved on the back of your Filo-Fax or notebook and sent to you within five days, that way everyone knows they are your doodles!” “What a great idea” I reply, “I really feel as if the service in The Paul Smith House is very personable” “Yes that’s the point, the Paul Smith House was created by the Paul Smith man, we aim to provide services that he wants and needs, in a relaxed creative environment” As I thank the associate and leave The Paul Smith House I couldn’t help but appreciate the great service, it wasn’t intrusive or pushy, I’d felt that I’d had an informative, personal, enjoyable experience one which I had not had in London before. The Paul Smith House was not an exclusive gentleman’s club, instead it was an inclusive environment aiming to inform and inspire the Paul Smith Man. With that the associate at the door handed me a leaflet about book clubs and debates
run by Paul Smith happening in the evenings in The Paul Smith House, “They are great” he said “Paul really has an interesting way of thinking about things, and wants to share them with his customers, they are also all up on the I-Pad application as well if you take a look at that, this week we are discussing Ben Nicholson” as I thank the man he finished with “Thanks for coming sir, hopefully we will see you again soon”. As I exit through the front door, I notice three well dressed younger men entering the retreat, obviously this place isn’t just for the older demographic it is an aspirational place for the younger generation I thought to myself.”