Robert Ruscio (Principal Designer), Charles-Antoine Montpetit, (Creative Director), Stephanie Stavrow (Project Manager)
SAMRO / St-Laurent, Quebec
Elizabeth Martel for Leeza Studio, Montreal, Quebec
“During good times or bad times, there are always opportunities to be found in the retail landscape.”
In Canada, the low to mid-market fashion shoe category is primary dominated by a single retailer called Spring (a division of Aldo shoes). Holding close to 60% of the market, it becomes a very ambitious challenge to go up against a heavy weight competitor for any retailer, especially with limited funds and resources.
Verona Vibe (aka Verona Shoes) had 8 mall stores within the Montreal greater metropolitan area and planned an aggressive expansion in 2010-11.
Their objective was to re-brand their stores and image in order to both appeal to their desired target demographic and go head-to-head with the top retailer in the low to mid-market fashion shoe category.
The theme was based on adding a sense of fashion, passion and value to the brand. Furthermore, as new lines were to be introduced to the concept, some consideration had to be given to properly showcase and highlight some of today’s hot brands in footwear.
The first distinctive design element was to make Verona Vibe own the color red. Whether it be the flooring, walls, ceiling, or logo - all are red. This makes it is impossible for anyone to walk by the store and feel indifferent or not notice it.
The new storefront, with its simple white framing, places emphasis on the store’s bold red interior and becomes an integral part of the initial introduction of the brand. The entire assortment of product offerings is also visible at a glance upon entering the store.
All of the ‘branded’ items are located on the left side of the store within the white wall unit; all ‘unbranded’ merchandise can be found on the curved shelves (right side) and floor units.
The curved shelves, which appear as simple display elements, are made up of different curved forms. Also, with the shelves being deeper at the bottom and thinner at the top, the widths utilized make it ergonomically comfortable to shop. Additionally, as the product offerings expand and contract from season to season, the continuity of the shelves provides great flexibility in the way merchandise is presented.
The idea of seamlessness was carried out with the cash unit appearing to have the floor curving up into the unit. The floor displays and base for the curved shelves have the same treatment as well. Black and white cut out graphics of cool and hip young individuals are also very visually powerful against the bold red background and help instantly define the store brand as it targets the right demographic.
In the end, the client reports that the results go far beyond his expectations. The national expansion is well underway, with several offers for prime locations in prime shopping centers. In some weeks, certain stores will even surpass sales figures of their goliath competitor - Spring.