I’ve never been into a Hollister shop before. I know some of you will be regular shoppers and this whole blog post will be old news to you but for me, my visit to the Cambridge store was an adventure in terms of marketing and retail display. I’d never even seen the exterior of a Hollister store so it was the Californian beach hut façade that first lured me into the cavernous store.
I was intrigued by how dark it was inside. I fought my way through the palm tree foliage and into the interior of a tropical beach hideaway. The darkly painted wooden shelves and rails displayed the clothes under spotlights, but the product seemed to take a backseat compared to the decor – richly patterned wallpaper, leather armchairs and old industrial light fittings made the interior feel warm and exotic. The darkness and the plantlife combined with the beach sounds and music made me feel relaxed and just like I was in a spa on some tropical island.
The ‘windows’ (projector screens) showed views of a warm blue sea and beach scenes along with the sounds of crashing waves and birdsong. It was possible to believe that you really were surrounded by the ocean because looking out of the ‘window’ ahead was the sea and to the left and right you saw the corresponding coastline – a very well thought-out design to trick the imagination. Perhaps it was to make customers feel like they are on holiday because we all know we’re more likely to shop and spend more on holiday than we are at home. Kind of sneaky but it worked – because I’d only gone into the shop to investigate the intriguing décor yet I soon found myself looking at the products and feeling like I wanted to stay in the shop all day.
There were so many elements of the shop design that I wanted to take with me for my own home décor, such as the old industrial lighting illuminating the denim section, the mini metal clipboards displaying product information and definitely the cosy armchairs with snuggly rugs. In terms of decorating, I am quickly becoming obsessed by dark patterned wallpaper and I’d love to have a false sea-view window in the bathroom – or even go the whole hog with coastal landscape wallpaper covering an entire wall.
If you’ve visited a Hollister store before you’ll know all about it but if you’ve never stepped inside one, please do check it out – not necessarily for the products (though I can’t stop you shopping while you’re there!) – but for the design inspiration and for the relaxing, holiday-esque feeling it evokes.