TORONTO — For the last decade, Byron and Dexter Peart of Want Les Essentiels have crisscrossed the globe unearthing well-designed products with a purpose. Indeed, what once began with tasteful, functional bags for the tech-savvy traveler begot the kind of sleek, minimalist fashions and accessories found at the retailer’s first U.S. flagship, which opened in New York’s West Village in October 2015.
But six years ago these identical twin brothers raised in Ottawa, Ontario, began to envision something bigger for their Want brand and its customers.
That is when the duo conceived of Want Apothecary, which opened its first U.S. location this month in New York’s NoMad Hotel with a concept inspired by the look and feel of a 19th-century apothecary.
“Both brands have unique stories, but they’re like kids that come from the same parents,” said Dexter Peart, 44, the older sibling by 59 seconds. “At its core Want Les Essentiels is a mono-story about a brand that offers a ‘solutions’ environment to our customers. Want Apothecary, on the other hand, brings a multiplicity of fashion, beauty and lifestyle products to our followers and does so in a space that feels more curated.”
That approach alchemy has already succeeded in Canada, where the concept now operates stores in Montreal, Vancouver and Toronto — a city that will see a second Want Apothecary store open in the next few weeks.
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Like its Canadian predecessors, Want Apothecary’s new U.S. outpost showcases a carefully chosen array of architectural leather bags and fashions for men and women from brands like Acne, Jil Sander, Fleur du Mal and others. The NoMad location also features “the largest footwear presentation for men and women in any of our stores,” according to Byron Peart. “We’ve given this center stage here which is something we’re very excited about.”
Its apothecary counter features beauty products and home fragrances from Byredo, Grown Alchemist, Susanne Kaufmann, and other brands that embody Want’s pared-down aesthetic.
The store’s interior, which was designed by Maria Rosa di Ioia, features stately chandeliers, herringbone floors, custom oak tables and other touches that create a modern-day homage to the classic apothecary.
But what really ties it all together, according to the Pearts, is the feeling of venturing into a space where busy people from all walks feel they can get away from it all.
“We wanted people to feel like they just stepped into this great, revelatory experience whether they come in from the hotel or our entrance on Broadway,” Byron said.
Indeed, in the midst of today’s frenetic, saturated market “we have to figure out what we want to engage with in our daily lives,” said Dexter, who, along with his brother is evaluating more openings on the West Coast and in London.
“If hotels guests need a bow tie, cuff links or extra socks they can find them here, so this hotel element does present a specialty aspect that differs from our other locations. But Want Apothecary is not a department store,” Dexter stressed. “It’s the kind of vibrant neighborhood shop meant to enhance people’s lives. That’s why this New York launch just made sense. It truly presented us with an interesting opportunity to develop a local, residential, high-touch experience and translate it to a larger market.”