Category Archives: shopping

Checking Out Design Orchard in Singapore

Design Orchard?

With over 20 malls on a 1.3-mile strip, Orchard Road is still a shopping destination unto itself, but for anyone keen to discover small, independent brands, the shop-local opportunities were scattered at best—until the unveiling of Design Orchard in January 2019, with its official opening just last month. The three-in-one, concrete-and-glass complex on the corner of Orchard and Cairnhill Roads offers a self-proclaimed “integrated retail concept”: On the first floor is a showcase of more than 60 Singapore brands curated by local retailer Naiise (pronounced “nice”). The second level coworking/fashion incubator the Cocoon Space has a fabric library, pattern-cutting tables, and overlock sewing machines. On the roof, a public-access garden offers a sweeping view of Orchard Road with an amphitheatre and various breakout spaces designed to host fashion shows, concerts, and pop-up markets. Active Fashion Week held core yoga and barre classes in the rooftop garden. In March, a pop-up event will feature activewear brand Kydra and a new skincare launch.

Check out the link above to get a profile of the local products you can get your hands on!

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The Death of Barney’s Should Not Be Accepted with a Shrug!

You might not have been into Barney’s-. I was.

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Now that Barney’s is gone, that question hangs in the air, along with this one – What is gone with it?

Here is my take — Barney’s was a home to a certain part of my imagination. In that imaginary world. money was no problem. Better still, everyone had a sense of style and humor. We all enjoyed the good life. Not just in a passive sense, we embraced new styles. New ways of finding fun in the things we had around us. Barney’s was all about not taking this too seriously.

Robb offers a eulogy that I agree with. Losing Barney’s is a pain in the butt!

Paying to go to the Mall?

The idea sounds absurd. I would be more likely to demand payment to go there!

But my reaction ignores a trend called “experiential retail”.  The trend exploits a basic interest that we all have — for high quality experiences. We do — and we always have — paid for such things. For example, we pay to be shaken, whizzed about, turned upside down and frightened to death at amusement parks.  We pay to listen to music and watch movies in theaters. We pay to freeze our butts off on the sides of mountains for Christ’s sake! So the theory is that we will pay for just about anything, as long as it is a high quality experience.

So what about a high quality shopping experience? So, let’s say you were shopping for a new suit for work. Would you pay to meet with a men’s fashion consultant who would give you individual recommendations for cuts of suits that most flatter your … errrr  … physique? And what if that included membership in an exclusive club of executive clients who get ongoing inside information? REgular fittings from visiting world famous tailors? Shoe makers?

You get the idea. And Gucci is experimenting with a similar idea in Florence. You get to explore the first floor of the Gucci store for free. But to access the upstairs, it will set you back €8. Well, ok. €4 of the 8 goes to a Florence historical renovation fund. But the other 4 goes directly into Gucci’s pocket.

WHAT!!! Read on, and find out why Gucci thinks you should do that.


Selling Connection Rather than Things

You hear a lot about a crisis in retail.  This lead in sentence from a BI article gives you the feel

Retailers are bracing for a fresh wave of store closings in 2018 that is expected to eclipse the rash of closings that rocked the industry last year.

Bad news!  Or is it so bad? The broader picture is that consumers are no longer as satisfied as they once may have been by just buying stuff. They want something better, and they are able to find it in different settings than traditional stores.

Samsung thinks it knows what customers want. And they are experimenting with that idea in New York

… the New York City store’s employees won’t push guests to buy any Samsung products, and the space has only a small amount of inventory on site, but the store is selling something else: the idea that Samsung will make shoppers happier than any other tech company.

They are doubling down on the ongoing connection you make with their brand. Perhaps they learned a lesson from Apple, the company that pioneered this marketing approach.

Let’s see how this trend plays out in the new year. Old fashioned stores disappear – and new types of retail experiences that build connection take their place.

Christmas is for Unusual Gifts

I am the first to admit that I am the world’s worst Christmas gift giver. I forget until the last minute that this takes time and effort, and I end up panicking, and giving stuff that makes everyone cringe.

Ok. This year will be different!All year I have been building up my shopping list. Stuff I can buy online. And now I am ready to start selecting stuff.

My task was made even easier by The Guardian. They just came out with their “Culture Gift Giving Guide”. I will take a pass on the Death Star Fire Pit, though I wouldn’t mind having one myself!

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On the other hand, the Shakespeare insults tea towel might be a nice stocking stuffer for my grumpy sister!

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Hmmm … I will have to think about that.

Porto is the Place to Go!

From Bloomberg

For all the popularity Lisbon has amassed over the past few years as a sought-after travel destination, Porto is still overlooked. But it shouldn’t be: Portugal’s “second city” is the country’s real standard setter when it comes to design, thanks to its heritage as a manufacturing hub through most of the 19th and 20th centuries. Now it’s gaining traction as a shopping mecca, too, filled with locally made items by emerging designers who can’t be found elsewhere.

Very cool. And when I go, I want to stay here

A room from Pestana Vintage Hotel in Port.