Studiomade design brand experience for new retail venture

Sep 2020 · Design Strategy

The Cove was born out of lockdown. We’ve all witnessed the slow demise of the highstreet as internet convenience has whitewashed the windows of our shops one by one, obscuring generations of retailers from view. 

If anything, lockdown has shown how important the High Street should be to local communities, particularly to small aspiring brands and businesses. Phil Reid, founder of Studiomade – a digital-brand agency based close to Tower Bridge in London, and florist Amy Lethbridge wanted to bring a personal touch back to the Royal Tunbridge Wells high street. The new venture creates an environment reflective of their surroundings and underpinned by the simple idea of celebrating independent UK makers and creators who share a passion for their product. 

A premium retail and hospitality experience, The Cove pairs a flagship physical store with an informative, design-led e-commerce destination. Providing a luxury, seasonal floristry service, The Cove supplements this with stocking a curated product-list that alternates throughout the year – with one key principle: 

“We support aspiring product designers and distillers, championing the growing local demand for high quality, small-batch created goods. Stocking a purposefully slim-line of products, these are not found in traditional supermarkets or outlets.”

Including but not limited to gin, rum, vodka, sparkling wine, chocolate, coffee, pottery and of course flowers, Amy and Phil have created a unique retail destination. The concept places flowers as the principle of the entire customer experience. 

Studiomade has a strong history for brand storytelling and as part of this project wanted to craft a narrative that would encourage and celebrate the positive role that the High Street should be playing in our lives. The Studiomade team believe that smart brands reflect their surroundings and work with a local, cultural and modern verbal and visual vocabulary. Phil Reid mentions “We wanted the brand experience to echo the timeless architectural elements of the physical Grade Two listed building, whilst providing an environment from a brand perspective that felt truly different. Creating emotional connections with customers can be difficult to master but the stories and passion behind each and every product are what is so key to The Cove.” 

In the Royal Tunbridge Wells store these stories can be shared by The Cove team, spreading the individual origin about each product. By sharing their real value and point of difference, people have the opportunity to discover something new that they would never normally consider.

“The Cove brand had to translate across all platforms. So rather than entirely focussing on the digital we could communicate through unique environmental designs and sensory experiences surrounded by intriguing products.”

A sophisticated brand approach is designed to allow people time to make their own discoveries, the website and the store providing environments where consumers can take their time with nothing shouting at them on where to go and what to do. 

We wanted the makers and creators of these beautiful products to take centre stage and so their stories were really important. At a time where brand authenticity and human connection have never been so important, The Cove seeks to bring that personal touch back to retail and hospitality.

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