Tag Archives: retail

A is for Aesop

I’ve been a fan and committed user of Aesop for a while now (has it been ten years??). I love the stores, I love the staff, I love the packaging and oh yes, love the products too.

A few months ago I purchased some of their body balm in Myer in Melbourne and got it wrapped in this great bag. Printed on the bag is an A-Z of London. It tells you where to get jellied eels, find a classic old butcher, buy a nice bunch of flowers, as well as the usual bars and bistros.  And given Aesop has impeccable stores and products, I will take this little bag with me on my next trip to London inside the sleeve of my note-book to spark ideas on places to see.

What I love the most about this bag, and what has made me hang onto it all this time, is that while I have no idea if Aesop is on facebook, or has a twitter profile, they have taken their “conversation” with customers to the good old printing press (the original source of mass-communication) and printed some useful, fun and inspirational info on their bags. On lovely, scratchy brown paper. It’s on their website, but I like that this is tactile and was given to me when I bought something from them. A fair exchange.

and the other side of the bag is quite nice too…

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beautiful moths

When I was a kid the local shopping centre was Westfield Figtree (And yes – I actualy lived in a suburb called Figtree – the original settlers named it after the many…erm, fig trees).  It was a bit dingy, had 70s brown glazed tiles, and no shops that a cool 12 year old wanted to hang out at.  

Now Westfield has expanded into a global empire. They owned the shopping complex at the base of the World Trade Centre. I felt a bit of pride when I saw them on Michigan Avenue in Chicago. But now with Westfield London, I’ve got to say, wow Westfield, you’ve come a long way baby!

The ad though left me feeling a bit squeamish.  What is the general consumer mood right now?   We are in the middle of an economic crisis, and there is a growing awareness that we simply cannot support our current consumption – economically and environmentally.  The ad felt a bit ‘let them eat cake’ – slighlty out of step and maybe even a little doomed.  I cannot fault the production or the underlying positioning – it is breathtakingly gorgeous – but the timing seems exceptionally bad.  

Keen to hear any thoughts from people who are reading in London as to how this centre is being received.

later: just found link here with some quite frank views on the development

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Second-hand Rose wearin’ second hand [designer] clothes

This week has been super-crazy-mad.  I’m just getting round to giving my inbox a good clean, file and polish.

Only just getting to read my Springwise newsletter – they send out a nice, short and punchy weekly update on new biz ideas that others have spotted for them. Here is my spotting claim to fame. (They are connected to Trendwatching.com.)

Through them I just read about this. What a cracking idea. Filippa K now sells customers second hand clothes. Not only does it promote the idea of re-using things it also is a great testament to the quality of their product.  Smashing!

I have a set of these little cups from Filippa K…impossible to hold if filled with hot tea, but quite nice to look at holding my make-up bits and bobs.

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save the village

I lived on the Erskineville / Newtown border for about 12 months and I loved the schizophrenic nature of the bustling King Street if I turned left, or the village atmosphere of Erskineville if I turned right.  Erskineville had our deli, a great Thai, a fantastic florist, and several places to have a beer. 

There is a building on the corner of Gowrie and Erskineville Road called the Hive.  I prefer to call it the building from Xanadu – I’m not sure what the building ever was, but it has that great “the-future-is-here” feel about it.  It was going to be renovated into offices, but Woolworth’s of all people wants the site. And they want it BAD!

Their efforts to nab the site for a local supermarket was stopped primarily by the efforts of locals who were co-ordinated though this group. The Woolies development application was blocked by Sydney Council, but I got an email from village friends saying that they have lodged an appeal.  Only last night I asked mm why he thought they were so vicious on wanting to get that site. And only an hour ago I had a HUGE derrrrr moment. They need it because we are changing.

The old fashioned shop our Mum’s did once a fortnight is dead. Long live the top up shop!  People are now shopping more frequently and the types of shops that are experiencing growth are the smaller, local specialists – the delis, the butchers, the fruit shops, the IGAs and the Foodworks. They are just easier to run in and grab your bits for dinner that night, than your big, unwieldy supermarket, with their huge carparks and long queues. So Woolies and Coles are after our neighbourhoods.  They want us to come to them instead of the little mixed buisnesses on the corner. They want to get local. 

But do locals in places like Erskineville want them?  They have successfully blocked them so far, and I hope the appeal fails.  But expect more and more attacks on our neighbourhoods by Woolies and Coles.  We are changing and they don’t like it. 

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