Kipling reveals new store concept on Regent Street as brand reinvention continues
VF-owned bag brand Kipling is continuing its brand reinvention as it targets a wider consumer base and has revealed its new retail concept in Europe for the first time. The concept is the template for future store development and can seen in the re-opened London store on Regent Street.
It’s the first time the new look and feel has been seen outside of Asia with the company having spent the past few months opening revamped stores in Hong Kong, Shanghai and Singapore. The Regent Street unveiling will be followed by a space refresh programme globally.
The new concept “draws inspiration from natural elements,” using oak wood combined with coated metals and concrete to “complement the brand’s new direction.”
The company has worked hard to ensure that, while the new store concept is a global one, the concept is also kept as local as possible. In London, for instance, street artist Fanakapan has created a one-off mural of the Kipling brand talisman, its instantly identifiable monkey, “capturing the essence of the City and Kipling’s new direction.”
The company said the new store design is meant to “engage with customers through immersive experience, offering a personalisation corner.” Here, customers can add their own personal style to the bags through a range of keyrings, and personalised embroidery. There’s also be a map of London where customers “can pin recommendations of the city’s best-kept secrets” bringing UGC into the physical store realm.
Important to the new approach is the brand’s new logo and slogan (Kipling Live Light) and an update to its monkey character that can be found as a charm on all its bags. This has now been redesigned as a robotic-but-still-cute monkey. Additionally, the brand is adding new materials, more travel items and themed collections such as the upcoming music theme.
“Customers today want to experience something and when they make the effort to come to our stores, there has to be a reason why, more than just offering them a product that they like or that complements their lifestyle,” said Global President Vera Breuer.
And customers seem to have responded positively so far. For instance, EMEA VP & GM Olivier Gay told us that the map feature has already been unveiled in the trio of revamped Asian stores and has “gone really well”.
The personalisation options available for the product itself, allowing customers to shape their purchases more uniquely to their individual tastes, also seem to be proving popular. And Kipling gave a hint of what personalisation could achieve around a week before the Regent Street store opened as it unveiled its new offices in the VF Axtell Soho with artists on hand to personalise bags for visitors.
It’s all part of a new energy at the brand since the arrival of Breuer and Gay, who were among the new senior appointments to the brand back in 2017 when the decision was taken to widen its appeal beyond its core female customer base and offer a more “inclusive” gender-neutral edge.
It’s a move that makes good commercial sense, as does its work to offer a more internationally-focused aesthetic. The brand’s sales are now fairly evenly divided between EMEA, the Americas and Asia and Chinese domestic and travelling shoppers are the biggest consumer group.
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