Rag & Bone has given its Boston flagship a complete facelift.
The Newbury Street store, which opened in 2012, has been reimagined to create a more innovative and relaxed shopping environment. The 2,065-square-foot space, at 111 Newbury Street, features four floors.
“It’s one of our favorite stores. We’ve had it a long time,” said Marcus Wainwright, founder and chief brand officer of Rag & Bone. “We’re going through all of our stores and looking at the layout and the relevance of the visual merchandising and how we can play into the way the customer is shopping now, and we felt it needed a refresh and a fresh set of eyes on it.”
Wainwright acknowledged there’s a huge college crowd that shops Newbury Street, but noted, “I don’t know if there’s over-indexing of the college crowd. I don’t know if it’s an anomaly in terms of the numbers. It’s a beautiful store and an iconic street.”
The brand’s in-house team of craftsmen at the company’s Brooklyn Fabrication Shop assembled custom brass rails and furniture by utilizing a brazing process. The Brooklyn Fabrication Shop, in Sunset Park, is a 10,000-square-foot workshop “with every piece of machinery you can possibly imagine, fabricating furniture, fixtures, rails,” said Wainwright.
“We make it all ourselves. We have had it for many years,” he said. He noted the company doesn’t make every piece of furniture for every store, but does make most of the furniture. Some is vintage furniture and found furniture. “We have master carpenters, welders and metal fabricators. We’ve had that for quite a long time. It’s an amazing resource, and we get to customize all of our furniture. Nothing is from a store, or off the rack, as it were,” he said.
In terms of design, the women’s fitting rooms in the Boston store were newly constructed with military-inspired adjustable canvas curtains. Reclaimed wood was repurposed for a set of clean, modular display surfaces in the women’s accessories area and men’s floor on the lower level. The men’s lounge walls are illuminated by small sconces, with a brass chandelier reaching through all four floors, pooling ambient light. Two video screens have been added to the store, one on each of the women’s and men’s floors to display original brand content. Rag & Bone makes video content every month, so the videos change frequently.
The Newbury store houses the men’s and women’s ready-to-wear, denim, footwear, and accessories collections, in addition to fragrances.
The company has simplified shopping for denim with a denim menu rail on the entrance floor, allowing customers to experience the world of Rag & Bone women’s denim. Leg shape, detailing, wash and rise are all clearly laid out along the custom denim table. For spring 2019, Rag & Bone introduced a new fit architecture in women’s denim group by rise: low-mid, high and super high to help pinpoint the preferred fit.
In addition, the Boston store’s lounge area has been expanded. The men’s lounge is enhanced by updated lighting and a double-sided fixture that serves as lounge bench and a shelving unit. A vintage-inspired refrigerator in the men’s lounge houses a selection of beverages for shoppers. The women’s lounge makes use of large-scale bay windows found in the back of the store with the addition of a custom velvet bench that was finished to match the original architectural moldings and trim. Next to the women’s lounge, handbags and footwear are more prominently displayed.
He said most of the Rag & Bone stores have lounge concepts. For example, London has a gaming lounge, TriBeCa in New York has TV and records, and Miami has candy and fridges.
He said the Boston store serves “as a model for future stores and stores that are that size.”
“We have multiple different stores and multiple different sizes. We don’t really have a one-size-fits-all mentality,” he said. “We try and taper the design and layout to the store itself and the building it’s in. There are elements that we’d roll out to most stores, like the way the denim is displayed. It’s really interesting to see the way people shop these days and they don’t shop the way they used to shop,” he said, citing the whole new fit architecture based on rise and the denim menu on the wall explaining every single fit and showing all the fabrics.
“These stores are like little jigsaw puzzles. You have to work with the stores that you’re in. Our approach to stores these days is to make them as modular as possible. Rather than putting in hardcore fixtures that you can never change and become out-of-date in a couple of years, we try to make all the stores modular, so if we want to, we can completely refresh them and make them feel like it’s a new store, just by moving around the furniture. Less is bolted to the wall and less is heavy-duty furniture you can’t do much with. So the customer can always come in and expect a fresh experience,” said Wainwright.
Wainwright said the plan is to open a few more stores in the next year. “We definitely paused for a bit with the world changing so fast. We didn’t want to be saddled with a bunch of stores. We took a break and focused on our e-comm. Not that that’s well underway, the stores are performing really well. We’re really getting the hang of retail.”
Rag & Bone has 42 freestanding stores globally.