This is STORY shopping trip in NYC - a magazine spin on retail

Category: Product Reviews     Photography    
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Point of view of a Magazine // Changes like a Gallery // Sells things like a Store

STORY is a 2,000 foot retail space tucked away on 10th Avenue in bustling New York City on the West Side. I visited last week on a branding field trip and was excited to see their concept come to life. STORY changes the “theme” or “story” of their store every four to eight weeks. I don’t just mean they change the campaign or marketing hook, they literally rip the space apart from floor to ceiling and come up with a STORY that takes over the entire space. The concept is take on the point of view of a magazine, while weaving in various brands’ products to align with one common theme.

View their website here: http://thisisstory.com/

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I have to say I didn’t know what to expect visiting the store, but I did some research online before I went to get an understanding of the concept and also learn some information about the creator. This month’s story is “Home for the Holidays” and the store has fantastic merchandise for everyone on your shopping list. The store feels like you are visiting someone’s home when you walk in; a fire place is burning with some beautiful, glittery decorations. There is a smell of pine needles to remind you of the holidays without being too overpowering. There are soft lights to create a warm and inviting glow. Everywhere you turn there is some trinket or book or ornament that you pick up and think “that is absolute perfect for (fill in the blank of a person you have on your shopping list this year)”.

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STORY was created by Rachel Shechtman, a fourth generation entrepreneur who loves finding the next big thing as much as sharing it with others. In 2003 Rachel launched Cube Ventures, a retail and marketing consultancy whose clients included: Lincoln, TOMS, Kraft Foods, GILT, GAP, and AOL. In December 2011, she launched STORY, a 2000 sq. ft retail concept in Chelsea; STORY is a space that has the point of view of a magazine, changes like a gallery and sells things like a store. STORY received Fashion Group Internationals 2014 Rising Star Award for Best Retail Concept and recently was no. 4 in Time Out's top 15 NY shops list. STORY's new model has generated extensive press, and Rachel was named one of Fast Company's 100 Most Creative People in Business and Fortune Magazine's 40 under 40.

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From the outside you may not know much about the store or the concept. It is like a hidden treasure in Manhattan, but if you know about it, or you visit once, you are sure to go home and tell your friends about it. As you walk through the entrance way you can tell a lot of time was invested in all the details. From the fixtures, to the smells, to the curation of each section. The gifts are fun, quirky, nostalgic, classic, spirited and more. You’re likely to find something for everyone on your list and gifts that they will open and wonder “where did you find something like this?!”

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The group that I went with on this shopping trip was equally impressed with STORY. We all spent time in our various sections browsing the items, picking them up, reading packaging and obviously shopping as well. I walked out with a brown bag filled with great finds that I know will make so many happy on Christmas day. There are sections for men, women, babies, food fans, pet lovers, retro gifts, clothing and more.

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For men they had some fun gifts related to shaving, funny books, grooming kits, cell phone accessories, golf coaster, manly scented candles, clothing and sports items.

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For the women they had so many great items and I had to keep telling myself to only shop for others on this trip, but it was challenging. Each section is put together so thoughtfully and well that it almost lends itself to you wanting to purchase multiple items in any given area of the store. The merchandising in STORY is top notch. From gloves to small purses, Coco Chanel leather bound books, coffee table books, picture frames and home decor – it all looks so beautiful when out on display.

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This month STORY teamed up with Target on some items and you can clearly see that come through in some of the areas. I loved this focal point in the back of the store which is set up to look like a cozy bedroom. I can almost see this being an upscale lodge home with the decor and colors – and they use the bed as another area to merchandise on. It felt warm, home-like and I loved the dark and light color combinations with pops of gold and silver.

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Of course some of our favorite gift items were funny ones, like this XL oversized flask. This is actually usable but it might be a bit hard to conceal this under your winter coat.

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What makes STORY work so well is that even though there are so many items out, in what seems like a scattered fashion, it all flows so nicely. It is pleasing to your eye as you navigate throughout the store and you never really feel overwhelmed. The store draws you in to check out every possible inch of the retail space so that you don’t miss anything.

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Even though many people come in and out of this store, you never feel like people are on top of you. They make very good use of the space and it never feels like you are being rushed. Their employees are also called “Story Tellers” and throughout our time in the store you could hear them explaining the theme of the month and any other fun details they felt like sharing with their guests. Customers seemed very intrigued and interested to learn more.

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I recommend if you are ever in NYC visiting or if you live in the tri-state area to look up STORY and take a trip to visit. You can view their website at any time to read up on what the new story is and check it out. Overall it was such a great experience and much more than I expected from a retail store. They are onto something very good here!

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All photos copyright to Adrienne Delli Santi & www.JerseyGirlTalk.com

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