Retailer returns to its roots
“We’re just taking these leaps in terms of retail,” says Nic Briand, co-founder of Lover, which has this week opened its second Sydney flagship at Westfield Bondi Junction.
It marks the beginning of a rollout of new stores for Lover, with the high end womenswear label to open two more by the end of 2015, and Melbourne definitely on the agenda.
Lover has come full circle since its humble beginnings at Sydney’s Bondi Markets 13 years ago: “It’s almost like a homecoming,” Briand says of the latest location.
He told Inside Retail PREMIUM that following on from the success of the first store at Sydney’s Strand Arcade, which opened two years ago, he and partner, Susien Chong, created a wish list of their top 10 store locations.
The list included sites in every state nationally, with Melbourne at the top, and globally New York, LA, and London.
As serendipity would have it, Bondi Junction sat close to the top of that list, and two weeks later Lover was approached by Westfield.
Briand says that in a perfect world, to have a store in every state would be ideal, but concedes that “you a) do not give up level three at Westfield Bondi Junction; and b) you do not give up a corner spot”.
“To be offered a hero location is a feather in the cap for our brand. Susien and I are not on the red carpet, so to have the opportunity for someone to come to us with it, we are very proud of that.”
Lover has grown organically since its days as a market stall, and has a lucrative wholesale business, stocked in 80 locations globally.
Bricks and mortar is still the strongest for the brand.
“When you’re looking at the pricepoint we have I think people want that experience, they want to touch and feel,” he said.
The Bondi Junction store is 57sqm, and has been designed in partnership with renowned retail architect Kelvin Ho and Akin Creative, who is also responsible for Lover’s Strand Arcade store.
The design was inspired by the Art Gallery of NSW, with the use of travertine marble, recessed lighting, and a large art wall updated every two to three months, opening to reveal warm wooden fitting rooms.
“You get this sense of understated luxury and calmness from the outside of the store,” says Briand.
Lover’s designs have attracted international attention and have worn by the likes of Miranda Kerr, Beyonce, Alexa Chung, Rosie Huntington Whiteley, and Julia Restoin Roitfeld.
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