Garnet Hill, a lifestyle brand selling home and apparel products based in New Hampshire, is shaking up the traditional brick-and-mortar shopping experience. After opening a seasonal shop in the Hamptons last summer, Garnet Hill decided to take its product on the road in a mobile boutique this summer.
“It’s a showroom, boutique and marketing platform all in one,” explains Claire Spofford, president of Garnet Hill.
The mobile boutique is a shipping container that was "upcycled" to resemble a natural home environment. It was designed by HGTV's "Container Home" personality Drake Boroja. It’s 880 square feet with a kitchen, bedroom, bathroom, closet and rooftop deck — all with shoppable products that visitors can get shipped to them in two days for free.
“We can’t carry a ton of inventory in it, but what we want to do is give a sense of what the Garnet Hill brand is all about — the lifestyle, aesthetic and quality,” says Spofford.
Garnet Hill got its start selling English flannel sheets that the company founders discovered in Europe over 40 years ago. Spofford explains that the brand now sells more products with natural fibers, like cashmere, that people buy because of the way they feel. Before the store in the Hamptons and the mobile boutique, shoppers weren’t able to experience this because items were only sold online or from a catalog.
“We thought that was sort of ironic and wanted to elevate the profile of the brand in the marketing place, and give potential customers the opportunity to engage with the brand — touch, feel and experience Garnet Hill’s aesthetic,” says Spofford.
The mobile boutique is currently in Exeter, New Hampshire until August 24, before heading to the South Street Seaport in New York City in September.
“We're going to use the mobile boutique to enter markets and get feedback from our customers," notes Spofford. "We can talk to our customers or potential customers in real time and get important feedback, and learn from them a little bit more about what they think we should be doing next.”
Garnet Hill hopes to open more stores in the future. The feedback and mobility of the boutique gives the brand the option to try out different locations before it decides on a permanent physical location.
“The brand has been a little quiet," Spofford says. "It hasn’t had a huge profile, so we want to let more people in on the secret of how great our stuff is. It’s about raising our profile and letting more people know about us."
A Content Hub
Along with the blankets, clothing and décor sold in the mobile boutique, Garnet Hill hosts events and has a blog called Threads. Consumers can find blog posts like “Six easy pieces to anchor any wardrobe” or “Stylist tip: the secret to perfectly plump decorative pillows” that show off Garnet Hill’s products and educate shoppers.
“It’s bringing together some of the other pieces of the lifestyle brand we're trying to create with the boutique,” explains Spofford. “It’s the broadcast platform for what’s going on with us.”
Threads and the mobile boutique are great brand platforms that give consumers fun and engaging experiences while they're shopping with Garnet Hill.
Lastly, here's a behind-the-scenes look at how the mobile boutique was built, courtesy of Garnet Hill:
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