The last two weeks on social media we’ve introduced you all to our new ‘experiential showroom’ a place where you won’t come to shop as much as to understand and experience the power of lighting so that when it comes to your project you’ll know a little more about what you want.
I thought it might also be nice to share with you how this evolution of our showrooms came about.
We had believed for a very long time that our showroom had lost its heart, and it just didn’t say who we were as a company anymore. We believed that it wasn’t working hard enough for us, we are a designed focussed brand but our showroom was solely about product. To be honest, we struggled with what to do with it. There were even talks about closing it and focussing on design for our commercial projects and clients. This idea didn’t sit well with any of us though. There had to be a better way to use the space…
What do you do when you are not sure what do to?! Well we decided to take a trip to New York. Why? Because New York is the capital of lighting design and the one city where you are guaranteed to find the most imaginative retail brands.
Before leaving, we had booked to meet up with some of the world’s best lighting designers as well as retail experts. We also pinpointed some great brands who’s showrooms we wanted to visit – we’d done our work.
From the moment we landed in New York, we knew we had made the right decision. Meeting with a number of lighting designers and getting their insights, seeing how they worked and what made them different was brilliant. They each gave us so much time as well as the chance to pick their creative brains.
After our scheduled meetings we’d literally hit the streets returning to the hotel when late every night….I think we managed to walk every main street and side alley in the city to ensure we did not miss a trick. From Times Square to Brooklyn to the East Village, we saw it all. Brands from Yves Saint Laurent to Camper, Sonos, to Samsung. It was a true eye-opener. The best places we saw weren’t shops so much as experiences – they allowed the customer to interact with the brand, such as playing music in one of the many sitting rooms in the Sonos showroom or meditating to a sound bath in Samsungs showrooms.
We really began to feel excited, that there was an opportunity here to merge our design and our retail in a way people hadn’t seen before. Why limit ourselves, why treat our retail customers differently from our commercial ones when ultimately they all wanted and needed the same thing, right?!
When we arrived back home, we were buzzing with ideas and set about working with our team to bring it all together. And now we are nearly there….for the first phase anyway.
New York gave us our soul back and we have been living this dream ever since we came back from there. Now I cannot wait for you all to experience it!
Monica grew up with a screwdriver & bulb in her hands before she started to 'hassle' the boss! After gallivanting around the world & getting an education she worked in all areas of the business, and was a natural fit for developing Willie Duggan further. She does her best thinking struggling up a mountain, hiking a trail or beating herself up in the gym!