By Miranda Sam, Style by Fire
An open space with just the right mix of white space, fabric samples, lounge areas, and merchandise displays warmly welcomes male shoppers. In select locations, a sewing machine is strategically placed at the front of the store, reflecting a current trend in retail design highlighting custom craftsmanship.
From the Traveling Tailor pop-up shops to the first generation of brick and mortar stores, and now to the latest concept showrooms, Indochino’s retail design has come a long way. A far departure from the previous exposed brick wall, and altogether avoiding Saville Row panelling or hunting lodge clichés, a new salon style concept has been hitting stores since July. The new showrooms have a cleaner Apple-inspired sensibility, and actually include a few iMacs designed to streamline the shopping experience.
Dean Handspiker, Indochino’s new Director of Visual Merchandise and Store Design, is the creative catalyst behind the new store concept. Hailing from Toronto, Handspiker previously held merchandising positions at Bata, Esprit, and Eniko in Europe. His new store design centers on materials like marble, chrome, walnut,and leather fixtures to achieve an elevated masculine shopping experience. The curtains are even made from Indochino suiting fabrics.
The company launched its first flagship store in Toronto in August 2014. Since then, another six have been added to its retail portfolio in Canada and the US. Within a short year, the company drastically changed the direction of its showrooms, acquiring a new space for its Toronto showroom and unveiling the new concept by July of 2015. Currently, all seven locations have either been renovated or are in the process of being updated to the new look.
The biggest changes to the new concept have been redesigning the space to better support the brand’s ethos: to get guys in suits, all the while making it a seamless process. “I spent my first weeks in the showroom watching the customer experience and how our team interacted with clients. These observations drove decisions such as creating comfy lounge areas, improving lighting and building large work tables with more iMacs,” says Handspiker.
BRO-DAL PARTIES WELCOME
The first new showroom in Toronto introduced the Groom’s Lounge, a space where grooms-to-be and their groomsmen can kick back and relax while getting fitted for their custom suits. Handspiker excitedly says, “This is the men’s equivalent to the bridal shop experience which, for us, translates into leather sofas and a foosball table. The guys are liking it.”
Technology is at the core of this company’s soul, given its e-commerce beginnings. Internally labeled “Tailor to Tech,” the new design integrates high tech touch points with iMac computers and ample seating so customers can sit down with dedicated Style Guides for stress-free consultations. This is a smart move to get customers fitted right the first time, and from then on bank on repeat business online. “Suiting is a traditional business built on personal touch but we are integrating technology, which is in our DNA, into the showrooms to give customers a more streamlined experience,” says Handspiker.
BUT FIRST, COFFEE
Nespresso bars are readily available for customers to enjoy single-serve coffee drinks. Often situated near a lounge area, it’s the perfect place for significant others to sit down and enjoy themselves while their partners get fitted.
TIE IT UP
Taking cues from merchandising that first developed at the Toronto store, sample fabric panels are now displayed in a “knot style.”The former “curtain style,” where large panels of fabrics hung on merchandising walls tall enough to divide space, was more intimidating and fabrics were not as easy to pick up. Plus, who doesn’t love the play on the tie knot?
SHOW OFF SUITING UP
An interesting design feature is that some fitting rooms are located mid-store instead of being conveniently tucked out of sight. The Vancouver location features a line of dressing rooms that lead directly to the Grooms Lounge. The whole fitting process is on public display, showcasing the full Indochino experience. Any shopping anxieties new customers may face would disappear at first sight in the store.
Indochino plans to have ten stores open by the end of the year, with sights set on Chicago, Dallas, Washington DC, and Ottawa. This global custom suit retailer is ready to take over the world one store - and suit - at a time.