In 2011 Sidonie Warren and Kyle Clarke founded design studio B specialising in branding and commercial interior design. Two years later they opened the first Papersmiths store in Bristol with only £500 capital. Five years on and adding 23 employees to their team, the brand has grown its presence in Brighton and recently London Shoreditch and Chelsea. A year of expansion marks also their current partnership with Wolf & Badger in Kings Cross, bringing paper happiness to the cool crowd of Central St Martins students and creative minds of nearby tech giants such as Facebook and Google.
Packed with stationery products made by designers and makers, this store is not just your ordinary shopping destination. It’s a space to hang out and be inspired by. The current retail industry is going through some serious transformation. Customers not necessarily demand more, rather they want to connect with someone (a brand) who understands them well and who shares the same values with them. Blending a shopping and social hub experiences together is probably the best possible strategy to survive the high street downturn we’re living through right now.
Hence, I think that this collaboration is a great example for two reasons:
ONE – both brands can deliver a better experience together. By better I mean stimulating ALL customer senses, allowing them to get immersed into the world they created for them. From visual stimulation through colour blocking and the clean interior vibe, to sound, smell and gastronomic experience. Plus, the space also offers to be a cultural destination, providing education and inspiration through Papersmiths’ books and magazine offerings. This is something which would be harder to execute individually or independently of each other. The whole point of a partnership like this is they both bring something valuable to the table while sharing a common goal and ethos – to embrace independent shopping and deliver a slice of “happiness”.
TWO – both brands widen their audiences and customer bases. Wolf & Badger taps into Papersmiths customer base and vice versa. Joining together attracts customers from both brands, signalling that they are an innovative and creative business always valuing their customer and helping them to solve their problems. In turn, this helps with keeping an ongoing conversation with them and solidifies customer loyalty – an absolute key to longevity and long-term survival of any business. It’s a win-win.
But there is one more benefit to mention and that’s awareness and exposure this collaboration brings to both brands. For a publication like ESTILA this is a great story to cover, plus using it as a case study, and I’m sure there will be more press coverage coming. PR and marketing should be done constantly and this helps a lot to achieve both activities. If you’re in the area, go in and a have a look. Not only you’ll be surrounded by amazing products made by independent brands and creatives but also observe and take in the vibe they created.