We are so often told that the days of bricks and mortar homewares retail are numbered or that it’s impossible to succeed as a boutique shop these days. So when Sydney’s The Vignette Room recently celebrated two cracking years in business, I had to ask them to share their secrets! One half of the mother-daughter duo behind it, Jennifer Brown, lets us in our their learnings and what makes them stand out from the crowd.
How fast two years go by! It feels like only yesterday that we opened the doors to The Vignette Room, with the aim of giving our customers an inspirational and immersive shopping experience in a beautifully styled homewares haven. We’ve learned a lot (note to selves: retail is hard!), but our time spent on the front line, listening to our customers’ feedback and experiencing the store environment every day, gives us a unique perspective and drives us to keep improving and evolving.
Our second anniversary seemed a good time to gather our thoughts, celebrate our successes and take an exciting new step. So here are a few reflections … and the launch of a fabulous service that we’ve been dying to offer since day one.
There’s nothing quite like instant gratification
It’s hard to beat that incredible rush when you find The One – you know, the perfect product you’ve tracked down after picking up all the others in the store. And that confidence you feel in knowing you’ve explored all options before reaching the right decision.
We believe this is still a wonderful advantage the in-store experience has over online ordering. No waiting, no uncertainty, and no disappointment when you receive something that’s not quite right. Just you and your gorgeous new possession, right there in your hand.
We’re pleased with how our store and online presence work together. We love the fact that we can post the unboxing of new stock on Instagram, which can lead customers to view its details on our website, then inspire them to come in, feel it for themselves and walk out with their purchase. Magic!
Personal connections make all the difference
That touch-and-feel element of the shopping experience is something we are proud to offer, and we love guiding our customers through the process. We’ve learned that confidence is important – the confidence of our customers in us, that we have hand-picked every product and styled it with love. And the confidence we can instil in our customers as we help them to find the perfect product or styling solution.
The most effective way we can provide assistance is in person. We delight in being able to advise both regulars, based on our personal knowledge of their shopping history, and newcomers, based on the stories they share with us. The most valuable feedback we receive is still the immediate sort, from customers as they shop.
Taking our store to the next level
Our exciting new offering was born from the insights we’ve gained thanks to this unique access to customers. The question we have been asked most over the past two years is ‘Do you have an interior styling service?’. Now the time is right, we’re thrilled to introduce that very thing.
As part of our more comprehensive interior styling and sourcing service, interior designer Cassie McCulloch has joined The Vignette Room and is available for paid in-store and in-home consultations. She can help with any aspect of interior styling, from a full planning service to finding items of furniture to establishing colour schemes, right down to finessing those finishing touches.
It’s been a big decision for this mum-and-daughter team to bring in another person, but Cassie’s like a member of the family who shares our passion and our aesthetic. Mum (Tracey Kennedy) and I will continue to offer our free in-store advice – and nothing can part us from the joy of engaging with our customers as they engage with our products! With this new service, we look forward to giving our customers an extra level of value and a great boost of confidence in making their style decisions.
–Jennifer Brown and Tracey Kennedy are co-owners of Sydney homewares store The Vignette Room. Visit them at 42 Gurner Street Paddington NSW or online at www.thevignetteroom.com.au