Harrods and the Call of Luxury Retail
Harrods, established in 1849 in London and the epitome of luxury retail, the finest jewel in London’s crown of distinguished department stores and a destination for the rich and famous. World renowned for the finest of goods and produce and of course, luxury home fragrance.
Being the ever ambitious owner of a home fragrance company Harrods seems like a natural place to retail Wallace & Co products. I found myself aimlessly walking around its gilded halls, observing the best of merchandisers hone their craft, consulting & selling to wealthy buyers on jewel encrusted mirrors, platinum plated phones and million-dollar handbags, I stood in awe at the sheer opulence of the offering and the poetic, elegant sales technique being masterfully unraveled in front of my eyes. A queue 20 strong to get into the Louis Vuitton pop up, wow, no recession here I thought to myself.
The mystical waft of fine fragrance oils, perfumes, colognes and attars adds to the experiential journey of being in Harrods, this feels like the epicenter of luxury retail. I returned to my senses and found the dedicated home fragrance section, 5000 sq. ft of prime retail space packed with every conceivable luxury candle, reed diffuser and room spray elegantly laid out, sparkling, shining and begging to be sprayed, sniffed and tested.
In every corner and on every shelf sat kaleidoscopic collections of, porcelain, ceramic, reed sticks, gold plated bottles, opaque polished glass and eye-catching artistic boxes. If I thought Wallace & Co had a lot to do prior was in no doubt of the challenge that laid ahead to compete with some of these genuinely world class brands, from Baobab, Jo Malone, Fornasetti and Ormond Jayne, these brands & products were truly stunning.
I took a breath and envisaged seeing a Wallace & Co kiosk right there in the centre. How would it look? How would we set up? Most importantly why would somebody buy our products over the more than luxury goods on offer. DESIGN!
This one word brings me back to what Wallace & Co does best, our intricate hand drawn illustrations, the attention to detail on our vessels, the nod to art and colourways, yes I thought, I can see our collection of imperial ( XL )porcelain vessels on display here, our oils are some of the finest in the industry, our design is up there and our brand although new has a long and interesting history, of course we can! Confidently, I left Harrods and began to think of the approach, the timeline, the stock, the pitch and then the magic moment we walk through those doors again, and see our logo, our name and products on display.
If it were as easy as calling a buyer you find in the yellow pages and on Monday we would be in there would be no romance to the chase, no, it will be one of our biggest challenges to actually work with Harrods. The brands that we see in these department stores have been on long arduous journeys and the retail presence in high end department stores is the end result of a lot of hard work and tenacity.
Brand behavior, brand positioning, the actual products, the people, systems and processes behind the scenes, the ethics and values of your company, your management team, all factors and more are key elements in the process so as much as our design is good and our fragrances leading, there is a lot of work ahead for us to be considered worthy of a spot in what is regarded as the crucible of opulent retail.
Ambition, optimism and blind faith will get you somewhere that’s for sure but details, organization and the ability to precisely execute at the highest level is what differentiates the elite from the middle pack. We at Wallace & Co will be working very hard to work at this level, to innovate and delight, so please do stay tuned, stay subscribed and watch us try as hard as we can.
Founder & CEO