In some ways, a store is just a room. Four walls and a roof. And as I write this, a scant four days away from opening, I can tell you that what will become Oiselle’s Flagship Store still doesn’t look like much more than a room with a cherry picker in it. Am I stressed? Hellz yes. Do I believe? I do. It will all come together.
Between now and Thursday, I believe a magical transformation will happen. And when we crack open the doors to host our grand opening party, a jewel box awaits. The room will become a place. It will be an experience. It will embody everything that we know and love about Oiselle in a physical environment that you can see, touch and smell.
Store drawing from the early stages.
The dream of this happening started long ago, as a young brand consultant, when I advised large corporations to adopt a philosophy of brand “touchpoints” with physical spaces being one of them. I believed in their power to transform buying things into actually feeling something. And purchase or not, we want every visitor at our store to feel welcome, and hopefully inspired!
Yep, our first store is in Seattle. Two miles from our headquarters, and one mile from my house. And it's in a shopping center that I believe has done the best job I've ever witnessed of avoiding the dismal trappings of the shopping mall. As any old timer in Seattle will tell you, University Village was where they used to shop at LaMonts and Ernst and the QFC when it used to be on the West side of the mall. Today, love it or snark it (as some rail against the influx of high-renters), U Village has become an enviable destination. If the mood is right, it’s like retail Disneyland, within a park like setting, completely outdoors, with winding paths, numerous fountains, and a great mix of both large retailers and unique, Seattle only shops like Molly Moon’s Ice Cream and our two neighbors: Ravenna Gardens and Fran’s Chocolate.
The process of bringing store to life has taken more than a year and has been eye opening. The best decision we made was hiring retail ace Katie Woodruff to run this part of our business. From the initial drawings, to permitting and builders and architects and all the tiny details - Katie has been fearless and detailed and driven. We could not have done it without her, or without the numerous other members of the O Family, inside and out, who - when we said "store" they said "let's go!"
Taken this morning: Hero Wall featuring our muse and pro runner, Lauren Fleshman.
To them and all of you, thank you for believing. I'll be at the store a lot this summer, so please come by and introduce yourself. I hope to see you there!