For all the talk of storytelling, we don’t often hear much about store-ytelling. On 10th avenue and 19th street in Manhattan, in West Chelsea, you ought to experience Story! It’s a truly innovative retail concept (thanks @MarkHurst for showing to me). Story is a store that is devised as a living story. With a temporary theme, a daily happening, a full, sensory experience and a curated set of goods around that theme, Story is a magical concept. Magical in large part because you cannot resist the urge to explore and purchase. Rachel Shechtman of Cube Ventures (formerly of Gilt, Tom’s Shoes, Bliss Spa, AOL) is the brainchild behind this store.
Images tell a better “Story”
Here are some photographs of the current Story setup: “Making Things“.
A veritable laboratory with 3D Printers provided by General Electric Garages, where you can create from 2D [pre-configured] drawings the Empire State Building or an elegant octopus in plastic in 3D.
Every day, there are unique activities to attend. These can be a conversation with a specialist, an author or a demonstration.
Even the window is interactive, with a purpose built decoration that follows pedestrians as they walk by. Here it is from the inside. In front you can see the 3D printers laboratory.
Lessons for brand marketers
Rachel Shechtman and her team have created a veritably unique shopping experience. There is myriad delight, discovery and surprise baked into the Story concept. The ephemeral “pop up” nature of the store creates self-imposed scarcity. The items that are on display for purchases are carefully curated around the theme, making them the best you can find, if and when you are entranced by the theme. At the end of the “theme,” all the items disappear from the shelves. As evidenced by the packed house every day, Story, which has only been since the end of last year, has created buzz and a following. As a discoverer (myself), I felt a need to share it! And, as a customer, I now want to stay abreast of what is going on at Story, otherwise I might miss out on my next trip to Manhattan!
The embodiment of the 5E’s
Without missing a beat, Story contains the essential kernels of the 5E’s of the new marketing: engagement (with the interactive objects and machines), exchange (and education with the resident experts), emotion (surprise), experience (immersion in a unique, interactive moment) and essence (tapping into the instinctive artisan within each of us). As written on @ThisisStory’s twitter bio: “The point of view of a Magazine. Changes like a Gallery. Sells things like a Store.” Says it all.
Next up …
The address is STORY is located at 144 10th Avenue (at 19th Street) in New York City. If you are in town, do go experience it! But, make sure that you check on the calendar to see what is on and when it is open. The current experience lasts until October 28, 2012. Then the store needs to take a week off to metamorphisize into the next iteration. The next theme? GIFTS, just in time for the holiday season. Past themes have included Love or, so a propos, a Startup Store. It seems that the idea of an eCommerce follow-on have not yet materialized. Perhaps, because eCommerce would make the scarcity value harder to maintain?
Anyway, let me know if you go visit (or have already done so)!