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Retail pop-up makes the most of the Trans-Tasman bubble

A unique Australian and New Zealand partnership has pulled off an innovative retail concept to demonstrate that affordable luxury is alive and thriving.

Retail pop-up makes the most of the Trans-Tasman bubble

For two-and-a-half weeks, shoppers were invited to visit a new luxury retail residency, Discover New, with the chance to look, touch and feel premium New Zealand brands within a premier Australian retail environment – Chadstone the Fashion Capital, in Melbourne’s southeast. The project was led by Bella Katz and Christine Proctor, advisors at New Zealand Trade & Enterprise (NZTE) working with brands in the consumer retail sector.

“It’s been a real focus of the New Zealand government to develop a closer relationship with Australia, closer ties with our economic neighbour,” said Katz.

Unlike a typical kiosk pop-up, the standalone store featured a high-end design by Pacific rim architecture firm, Warren and Mahoney, and vision brought to life by agency, Dot Dot Dash inspired by New Zealand elements across the design, fit out and furnishings.

Plus, purely New Zealand-branded products, including Karen Walker and Kate Sylvester, and up-and coming designer brands including Yu Mei, Ashley & Co, Meadowlark, Crywolf and Tailor Skincare.
The space was inspired by the New Zealand landscape, capturing its essence in colour and texture. Volcanic sand, rugged alpine, green valley were selected as tones to bring the space to life with a retail presence closely paying homage to the New Zealand landscape.

Every touch point told a story, said Warren and Mahoney principal, Daryl Maguire.

“Apparel was housed in the dark and moody ‘volcanic sand’ zone, accessories set against the earthy neutral backdrop of ‘rugged alpine’, and lifestyle products heroed in the verdant ‘green valley’.”

The project was a short-term leasing arrangement with Vicinity Centres, part-owner of Chadstone The Fashion Capital.

“Everyone loved the idea and everyone really wanted to tell a good news retail story,” Katz says.

The store also offered an opportunity to evolve current thinking around the future of retail, demonstrating how a smaller bricks-and-mortar environment could work alongside a digital, omni-channel approach.

For the first time, shoppers could touch and feel each product, and pay directly from instore POS (Point of Sale) pods connected to Shopify, with fast dropship delivery from New Zealand if products were unavailable.

“I think retail spaces must work harder, where you can also use them as an e-commerce fulfilment location. Then, maybe it’s just about having a smaller footprint; fewer stores or quite special stores,” she says.

Discover New featured a number of brands with a more mindful approach, and the intention of the time-bound retail experience was to build on the concept that ‘less is more’. Encouraging a purchase that, while higher value, was also higher quality.

“The retail industry is under a lot of pressure,” she says. “So, the winners will be those who inject some creativity into retail and make it a far more interesting experience in store,” Katz says.

Photography by Kristian Gehradte, courtesy of Warren and Mahoney

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