The last time we talked with Visual Director, Jose he was busy Lilly-fying The Breakers store. Now we’re catching him in the aftermath of the SouthPark store launch. We sat down with him (because he’s been standing for the last 4 weeks!!) for a quick Q & A session about our fabulous new home in Charlotte, NC. Here’s what he had to say!
1.When starting a new store design, how do you find inspiration? Where do you start? What’s your approach?
Well, it’s a team effort, that’s for sure. First I sit down with Jane Schoenborn (Design Director) and the Print Team to come up with creative and innovative store ideas. Let’s just say we are equipped with tons of coffee, sweets and for us dieters, water….LOL. We then dig into the history and culture of the city we’re moving to and pull themes, inspiration swipes and ideas together and see where we can carry out those themes inside the store. For SouthPark, we wanted to design a store that oozes Fun, Color and Lilly. When I think of Charlotte, I think southern belle, southern hospitality, pretty flowers and PINK. Oh did I mention something sparkly?! Ok glitter everything! (That’s more of the Janie infusion!) Those were the key words that popped into our heads when we started designing the store. Once we have the themes and ideas solidified we move on to what we call the “Glamification” process… it’s definitely the most fun! We take our inspiration and go crazy inside the store with paint, props, furniture.. And of course anything PINK. Our approach has always been to paint the town Pink…Kidding, not really….ok seriously, our approach is to celebrate the city’s fun, beauty and culture in a Lilly way. In Charlotte, we didn’t have to Lillify a lot since you gals are such Lilly Lovers already- we just needed to put a little bit more blush on your cheeks and add a little glitter in your step.
2. What are your 3 favorite features in the SouthPark store?
Really I can only pick three? (we knew he’d struggle with this one!) Hmm… Well let’s start with the windows! The windows are absolutely my number one! We’re constantly swimming in a fishbowl of fun at the SouthPark store. What do I mean by fishbowl? We’re surrounded by floor to ceiling storefront windows (we’re on a corner) and it’s fantastic. (probably because it allows us to enjoy all the excellent people watching!) We’re literally able to share our colorful fun with shoppers before they even enter the store.
My number 2 obsession has to be the Dogwood flowers. I LOVE Dogwood flowers! So this flower is the North Carolina state flower, and it totally inspired the front rooms of the SouthPark store. Paige and Ashley painted the walls with these flowers in pink, green and turquoise. We added a 3-D effect (no 3D glasses required) of GLITTERED dogwoods…let’s just say when you are sitting on the sofa, you will be surrounded by glitter and sparkle and no Lilly girl can resist that!
Okay I’m going to play my interior design card here for number three. My third favorite feature of the SouthPark store are the RUGS! OMG. Seriously? I love them! Not only are they gorgeous and colorful but they totally tie the store together and they remind me of Lilly’s home in Palm Beach. Lilly always knew best how to partner printed couches with printed rugs, colorful chairs and eclectic accessories. She was so daring with her color and pattern choices and yet each room always looked amazing. I like to think the SouthPark store has a lot of truly authentic “Lilly” themes within it.
3. Where do you shop to outfit a store? Does the horse have a name?
Honestly, our stores are a mish mash of found items and purchased items. This helps keep each store authentic and eclectic. Obviously we have to purchase the fixtures, tables, chairs etc. But accents like the dogwood flowers, the horse and the horse shoes were all flea market finds! We love exploring local vintage shops and flea markets. It’s truly amazing the treasures you can find! Sometimes all an old item needs is a little pink paint job and a dusting of glitter and it’s as good as new! Take the horse in our “Carolina Color” fitting room for example, he was a not-so-cute brown vintage find and we coated him in a fresh gold shellac, gave him some winners’ flowers and voila! – meet Peony the Pony – our new store mascot! (named by one of our new SouthPark customers!!)
The fabrics and furniture were hand-picked from our custom Lee Jofa collection to create a very cozy yet fun feeling. You will never want to leave the store, trust me…Between the cushions in fitting rooms, to the printed pillows on the sofa, you will just fall in LOVE with the store (and of course the staff). BTW all the fabric for the cushions, sofas, you name it, can be purchased for your very own home or office…just ask our customer service team for help!
4. How many hidden “Lillys” are in the SouthPark store?
Okay so we decided to get creative here (imagine that) and instead of hiding “Lilly’s” in the SouthPark store we hid CROWNS! This was our little way of paying homage to Charlotte, the “Queen City.” I have no idea how many crowns are actually hiding in the store… it’s possible we got a little carried away! Feel free to stop by and count for yourself anytime. I’d love to know the final count!
5. Now that the store has opened do you get to take a long vacation? What’s next?
Vacation?! I can’t take a vacation just yet… We have to throw the GRAND OPENING PARTY this weekend! Everyone’s coming to celebrate with us right? (in case you’re a Queen City local- come visit us this Saturday & Sunday). I hear the retail team has put together some AMAZING door buster gifts so you better get there early…oh and stay late for the cocktails too! I can’t wait to celebrate and toast with everyone!
On a more serious note…The Charlotte store has been a dream to design and work on. It was so amazing to watch our talented and creative team work so hard to turn all we dreamt up into a reality. I am very honored and privileged to work with such amazing artists everyday!
What’s next? Well stay tuned because we have A LOT of colorful tricks up our sleeves for 2012! Maybe a couple new stores…oops did I just say that? All I know is we are going to be majorly busy Lilly-fying some new cities very soon!