Inspirational Owners: March 2008
Store Adore is a personalized web-based guide to the best boutique shopping around the country and online. The site provides an online forum for passionate shoppers to both share their own shopping insights and find expert information on the trendiest boutiques and specialty stores in the United States and online. Meredith Barnett and Cristina Miller of Store Adore share their thoughts about shopping, passionate consumers and Lovemarks.
Meredith Barnett and Cristina Miller of Store Adore share their thoughts about shopping, passionate consumers and Lovemarks.
Lovemarks: Why do you think so many people feel passionate about Store Adore?
Store Adore: Store Adore is a home for boutique shopping online. It offers the best of both worlds in terms of editorial and user-generated content. On the editorial side, it offers editorially written profiles of over 2,000 stores in New York, DC, Boston, Los Angeles, and online, with more stores and cities being added every day. Our writers visit every store featured on our site and write detailed, lively accounts of each one so our users know they can trust the information we provide them as it has been vetted by experience editors. We also offer exclusive deals from our featured stores, which is a huge draw. On the user-generated side, users can create their own shopper profiles on our site, review stores, message one another, and make customized shopping maps.
LM: What do you think people are looking for in a retail experience?
SA: Shoppers are tired of seeing clones of themselves walking down the street. They are tired of the same old big box and chain stores, and are looking for ways to stand out from the crowd. They are constantly searching for unique ways to express their individuality. Passionate shoppers also view shopping as an experience, and love to talk shop(ping) with their friends - to brag about a new store they just visited or a new site they recently discovered.
LM: How does Store Adore relate the idea of attaining High Love and High Respect to the way its business works from day to day?
SA: Cristina and I and all of our associates are passionate shoppers. We are our target customer and we write for her. I think you are in a better place business-wise if you can relate to the people you are targeting. We also love our store owners - the independent boutique owners who are following their passions as we follow ours.
Along the same lines, we respect our users as the savvy consumers that they are. In many ways, they have a lot more information about shopping than we ever could, which is why we offer them a platform to express their own opinions about shopping. Shoppers respect that we are serious about what we are doing, yet we don’t take ourselves too seriously.
LM: Do you have any examples of how Store Adore uses Mystery?
SA: Shopping is an endlessly fascinating experience to so many people - the thrill of the hunt, the discovery of a new place, the color, the light, the layout, the people. Store Adore feeds that mystique by providing a framework for it. Reading our detailed profiles of Store Adore’s featured stores is like taking a guided tour through them. If you are planning a shopping trip, you can go on our site, make a custom map of the stores you want to visit, and build a sense of excitement before your adventure begins.
LM: Can you recall any encounters you’ve had where a customer gave you a new insight to the rationale of both your business and your marketing?
SA: A friend of ours was on the subway a few weeks ago and overheard a conversation between two women. One of them was showing off a ring she just purchased, and she told the other one that she found it on this great new site called Store Adore. The women were talking about Store Adore and how they were going to create their own shopper profiles on the site, tell all their friends about the site, and use the site whenever they went shopping. Hearing this story was an amazing “aha” moment for us. Not only was all of our hard work starting to pay off (we didn’t even know these people!) but we realized our site was actually helping people by doing them a service that they appreciated and valued.
LM: Name two companies that you Love or Respect
SA: The Markoff Group - We were blessed to meet Natalie Markoff right when she was starting off on her own after helping build brands like Vosges chocolate and Liz Lange. She is completely electric, and one of the best things to happen to our business.
Lolli by Reincarnation - From the store concept and design, to the merchandise, to owner Shon, whose passion for her work is contagious, Lolli by Reincarnation is the quintessential Store Adore store. It’s also an iconic insider-y downtown Manhattan spot. A Lovemark in the making.
LM: Name 5 of your Lovemarks.
SA: Physique 57: My new addiction. It’s a workout that combines ballet, Pilates, weight training and cardiovascular work. It’s exhilarating, fun, somewhat exclusive and makes you feel at once beautiful and strong.
Topshop: This British retailer is the only chain store that I worship - and it’s the only place in England that I can afford!
Freddo: The best ice-cream in Argentina. Gelato-like and totally indulgent, with flavors like banana split and dulce de leche crunch. Minimalist store designs and free delivery by bicycle messenger!
Pinkberry: I clearly have a cold dairy addiction! Pinkberry frozen yogurt is the best ever. (I like the plain flavor with carob chips and strawberries.) There’s something about waiting in that line that makes you want it even more.
Gucci: Though I’m not a Gucci regular shopper (someday!) but owning a few Gucci accessories allows an aspirational shopper like me to feel like a part of a lifestyle that’s at once edgy, glamorous and classic.