Despite being an online publication, we’ve always had a soft spot for good old fashioned bricks and mortar retail. Creative, independent retailers give a city so much character, and transform streets and neighbourhoods into buzzing creative communities.
But bricks and mortar is a tough business right now. Even the big players are struggling to reconcile rising rents with the ever decreasing footfalls in major shopping hubs. So… is there a way to do thing differently?
A new concept store in Melbourne is testing that idea! Furniture and homewares store In Good Company and local fashion brand Banded Together have joined forces, leasing a retail showroom together in Melbourne’s Armadale. By sharing their costs, and amplifying one another’s brands, these two businesses demonstrate the benefits of a new, collaborative approach to retail.
We chatted to one half of the space – Dana Burrows of luxury silkwear brand Banded Together – about how it all came together.
Hi Dana ! Congratulations on opening your beautiful new store. How did this partnership come about?
It was so serendipitous! I was searching for a studio space to showcase my range and work from, and wanted this space, but I couldn’t lease it alone. It’s about five times the size I needed, so I gave up on it and kept looking. In between inspections I caught up with John and Lou of in In Good Company, and they mentioned they were about to lease it. We all immediately saw the opportunity to cohabit and create a retail space that celebrated design and quality craftsmanship across a few disciplines.
Can you tell us about the design of the space?
The trick was to do more with less, as the form and geometry of the existing building itself is the hero. Natural light is in abundance and the interconnecting bays are defined by radial brick arches that create a gentle rhythm to the internal spaces.
A simple black and white palette was adopted for both stores, allowing the furniture and fashion with their various colours, forms and fabrics to shine.
Detailing followed this lead, and is consequently restrained and simple – folded steel pipes forming hanging rails for Banded Together subtly reference furniture details found within In Good Company’s portfolio of products.
True to the ethos of the shared environment, the fit out is a collaboration between my husband (Graham Burrows of JCB architects) and John Bastiras of In Good Company.
Were there any key references or inspirations you drew on when creating the concept for the store?
There are so many in Europe. Multidisciplinary stores like Merci in Paris, Sanayi 313 in Istanbul, 10 Corso Como in Milan are all spaces that celebrate their own take on local design and heritage, and work back with some of the world’s best brands. Whilst these stores definitely inspired us, we’ve developed our own response, with local design holding its own amongst key international brands.
On a daily basis customers tell us that the space reminds them of a store they discovered in Europe – many of them referencing Berlin with its respect for quality and clean design.
How is this retail experience different to the one Banded Together customers are used to?
Whilst we are all more comfortable operating in a virtual world (Banded Together began as an online retailer) our ultimate aim is to connect with our customers, and the store provides a physical space to do this. The beauty of the collaboration with In Good Company means that design and fashion focused customers can connect with both brands in a relaxed and beautiful environment. The interconnecting spaces lend themselves to conversation that extends beyond a single discipline.