Premium nursery retailer Mamas & Papas is gearing up for its first international expansion, following the launch of a £2m Four IV-designed flagship outlet in London last week.
Company founder Luisa Scacchetti confirms that the Regent Street store will act as a blueprint and test bed for launches in major overseas cities. The retailer is also working to an aggressive expansion programme within the UK, with stores in Stockton, Liverpool and Preston opening between July and November.
‘We have travelled around to Tokyo, New York, Dubai and other places to see if they have stores like this there, but there’s nothing like it,’ says Scacchetti. ‘But the location must be right; we have a perfect location here [in Regent Street].’
The 930m2, two-floor ‘international flagship’ store features the first dedicated Mamas & Papas restaurant, called Cibo – Italian for ‘food’.
Four IV has developed the interior design, lighting, packaging and branding. The consultancy also collaborated with Scacchetti on the 2500-strong product range, which has been expanded to include gifts, hampers and body lotions.
‘It was a difficult space to work with because it is full of load-bearing columns, more than 30 in total. Where possible, we have disguised these with units,’ says Four IV director Chris Dewar-Dixon. ‘There were also tight restrictions on the facia branding at the front of the store, which we have had to set back one metre from the street-front.’
Another challenge was the installation of the lift between floors, according to Dewar-Dixon. As there is no basement level to the building, there is no room for a lift well; instead, a lifting platform is used, with drawings painted on the walls of the shaft to appeal to children. This system will now be installed in all forthcoming Mamas & Papas stores.
Products in the shop are departmentalised, with gifts and boutique-style clothing presented in the main entrance area off Regent Street and travel systems towards the rear entrance. The buggy area has a more clinical and technical feel, with plasma screens.
A central staircase acts as a visual centrepiece to the interiors, with illuminated acrylic blocks running up each side, subtly suggesting children’s playing blocks, according to Dewar-Dixon.
Although Mamas & Papas is positioned as a premium brand, with high-quality packaging and product materials, a balanced pricing scheme is critical, says Scacchetti. ‘Price points are crucial: there should always be something that everyone can afford,’ she says.
Four IV has an ongoing relationship with Mamas & Papas, working with the
company for the past five years (DW 30 September 2004).
The retailer continues to search for sites and is in negotiations to establish a presence in Bluewater shopping centre in Kent.
MAMAS & PAPAs
• £2m flagship Regent Street store designed by Four IV
• Looking to first international expansion
• Company founded in West Yorkshire by Luisa Scacchetti 25 years ago