6.11.2005

Make yourself at home

So there's this awesome shoe store in Wicker Park called Niche. Mens and womens shoes, really expensive and hipper than the hippest hipster you ever met. I'm guessing the average pair of heels is $200.

A place like this could really play up the prestige. They could have super-hot staff, exclusive openings, and no sale rack. But Niche is in Wicker Park, a neighborhood that is dealing with both gentrification, and its backlash. Residents are funky, down-to-earth and angry at Starbucks. So Niche must walk the fine line between cutting-edge fashion and snobbery.

To play down the snob factor, Niche has a couple cool things. First, a giant sale rack. This makes it slightly more accessible to everyone. Second, a collection of really eclectic and well-worn furniture accompanied by framed photos of people's kids. This really starts to feel like home. And third, an unbelievable bathroom, complete with exposed brick, an Oriental rug, lots of mirrors and a magazine rack.

This bathroom says lots of things. It says "You could live here." It says "You can take your time here. Have a seat, read a magazine." It says "If you hung out here, it's like you would have this really cool loft-style apartment in this sweet neighborhood." It's a lifestyle bathroom.

Have you EVER seen a bathroom nicer than your own in a retail establishment? Usually it's either a) a one-room gender-nonspecific gray closet with a mop in the corner and thirty rolls of industrial-grade toilet paper, or b) a row of stalls with water on the floor and no place to put your purse. Or c) no bathroom, sorry folks.

At Niche, I seriously wanted to move in. This small detail is really consistent with the store's message: super hip, yet totally comfortable. Nice job, guys.

1 comment:

gone said...

Great post. This is what I was talking about. A blog idea I wished I came up with. Kudos.