Surviving and thriving in today’s retail world requires a well-developed, distinctive brand and an engaging customer experience. Australian jewellery brand Francesca has certainly achieved that with its interactive ecommerce store and social media, both showcasing its fresh and feminine style. However, wanting all its online and offline touch points to exude this youthfulness, Francesca engaged CoLAB Design Studio to revitalise its Melbourne Central store, translating the online brand and shopping experience into a physical store and stronger offline presence.
“The flagship store needed to capture the femininity and freshness of the brand’s online personality and translate it into an immersive brand experience that departs from the conventional jewellery retail model,” says Anna Drummond, director of CoLAB Design Studio.
Inspired by the idea of a dressing room, CoLAB designed a space that exudes a soft, feminine and intimate ambience. A palette of blush hues and powder greys continues all surfaces, with chalky timber floors, indulgent plush carpets and full-length curtaining evoking an opulent boudoir-like room.
The setting provides a sumptuous and subtle backdrop to the metals and gemstones of the jewellery in the freestanding display cases inspired by bedroom dressers. A series of tall arched cases stand along one wall. “The curved shapes are reminiscent of a vintage dressing table with decorative mirrors framing one’s reflection from multiple angles,” Anna describes. The opposite wall is furnished with display cases that take their form and scale from a classic bedroom dresser with glass-fronted drawers, delicate legs and glass and stone counter tops.
Customers are encouraged to explore the contents of these display cases, gathering jewellery components to create their own personalised pieces. Designing your own jewellery, known as Francesca Creates, is a key aspect of the online shopping experience. CoLAB translated this from clicks to bricks with a “Stack Bar” in the centre of the store, housing a large selection of charms, stones and metal pieces for customers to create their own jewellery combinations.
“The design concept was underpinned by the interactive nature of the Francesca sales model,” Anna says. “The traditional over-the-counter method of jewellery retailing has been replaced with a studio approach, where customers engage with every element of the jewellery collection, experiment with custom pieces and collaborate with the sales associate to personalise their design.”