Minneapolis’ former warehouse district, The North Loop, has been reimagined – and is currently experiencing an ascension from a hip, urban neighborhood destination for shopping and dining to a complete lifestyle center.
Reinvigorated by this new energy, The North Loop offers boutique hotels, spas and luxury retailing as well as entertainment. For men’s fashion apparel and sophisticated home furnishings, the “go-to” is MartinPatrick3. Inside this highly curated and eclectic 22,000-square-foot shopping experience space is The Loupe by JB Hudson Jewelers.
Offering fine jewelry and watches, The Loupe is resetting consumer expectations by keying into the desires of today’s modern luxury shopper. That means offering trend-right brands and one-of-a-kind collections in a setting that surprises and delights customers with trunk shows, brand pop-ups and designer meet and greets.
At first blush, locating The Loupe within MartinPatrick3 seems unexpected. MartinPatrick3 is essentially a men’s luxury lifestyle store. But Kiki Pohlad, creative director at the jeweler, said the neighborhood and the rapidly evolving North Loop made for a compelling case for the shop-within-a-shop concept.
“The North Loop is experiencing rapid growth with new restaurants, bars and boutique hotels,” Pohlad explained. “It is dynamic and we’re seeing a lot of professionals coming into the neighborhood, and finding homes in this area. As a luxury shopping destination, Minneapolis is up and coming, and The North Loop plays a significant role in this transition.”
In regard to the impetus behind launching The Loupe and partnering with MartinPatrick3, Pohlad said it was an opportunity to introduce fresh and unique brands and merchandising to Minneapolis. Pohlad, based in New York, teamed up with Dee Hewitt, a luxury jewelry merchandiser based in Los Angeles, to bring energies and trends of the East Coast and West Coast (respectively) to infuse an aesthetic and merchandising sensibility to this vibrant local market.
Pohlad said the store-within-a-store features “products displayed in a new and unexpected way in the context of a men’s retail store. We strive to contribute to the larger ‘story’ of MartinPatrick3, by carrying uniquely curated jewelry and watches for both men and women.”
The Loupe serves as a platform for Pohlad to flex her creativity and curate products and brands that resonate with today’s urban and modern luxury consumer. This niche-within-a-niche approach creates a shopping experience that transcends the transactional and offers a meaningful experience for customers. The result has been a positive response from customers.
Some of the brands offered include Fernando Jorge, Silvia Furmanovich, Hoorsenbuhs, Nikos Koulis, Kimberly McDonald and Shamballa, among others, as well as JB Hudson certified pre-owned watches. The brand list (and price points) for The Loupe’s offerings include the aspirational as well as the accessible.
“While we do have designer products that are a bit of a higher price point, we really work hard to ensure that there are some price points for everybody that comes through,” Pohlad said. “This creates a dynamic offering to encourage everyone to explore The Loupe.”
Pohlad said the brand and merchandising approach resonates well with the local market. “Our clients have their traditional jewelry and now are looking to shift their look to more reflect their actual lifestyle. And it’s a bit more refined,” she said. “Our client has an elevated casual look. They really understand the product and want to bridge fashion with a fine jewelry aesthetic.”
Merchandising for this type of customer is hard to pull off. Brands and products must exude a timeless elegance, but remain fresh and relevant. The approach and presentation can’t be loud and splashy. But The Loupe succeeds, which is why customers keep coming back.
And with adjacencies that include world-class hotels, The Loupe is now seeing an influx of tourists in since it opened. “These are sophisticated clients who are comfortable buying designer fine fashion jewelry, instead of something traditional,” Pohlad said.
Laura Guth, sales manager at The Loupe, said “one thing that we’ve done quite a bit is really changed out our product assortment. In mirroring what MartinPatrick3 does, we are providing a sense of discovery for the shopper. There’s always something new to see, there’s always something different.”
In regard to the genesis of The Loupe, the process was “creative and wholly organic.” For merchandising inspiration, Pohlad draws on her college years and related coursework.
“I studied art history and studio art, with a focus on ceramic sculptures, and a little bit of bench working experience in jewelry,” Pohlad said. Subsequently, she also cut her teeth with CAD jewelry design. However, Pohlad says, “it was art history that really gave me a broad visual language and helped me critically look and understand different designs in their various contexts. This is about understanding references to styles, periods, cultures, etc. So that part of the process has been particularly engaging. Fundamentally, understanding the technical way that things are designed and made has given me an appreciation for the materials and processes that go into the work of all the designers that we carry.”
“And from a professional perspective, I worked for a New York–based jewelry designer Mish Tworkowski who creates one-of-a-kind pieces in a beautiful studio in the heart of Noho, which offers clients an elevated and personalized luxury experience.”
“All of this has come together here at The Loupe, and it informs the well-rounded collections we offer,” Pohlad said.