Walk-in Wardrobes? How about Ship-in Wardrobes?

23 10 2007


New Yorkers whose closets are bursting at the seams have a high-tech solution for storing their off-season or special occasion duds-without having to worry their garments will be out of sight, much less out of mind. Garde Robe is a first-class, full-service wardrobe storage facility that not only provides a place to stow pieces that currently are out of rotation, but digitally photographs each item to be organized in an online Cyber Closet. Customers can browse a catalogue of their belongings at their leisure from anywhere they access the web and arrange for delivery as needed.

Items are stored in an air-conditioned converted loft space, specially designed for proper storage and maintenance of clothing, shoes and accessories. Pieces are available for delivery 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, though advanced notice is required during off hours. Wardrobe storage fees begin at USD 350 per month for clothing, and USD 225 for shoes only. Garde Robe also offers special services, including a first-class seamstress for fittings and alterations, a professional image consultant who can help customers define their style, and a hairdresser and make-up artist to help polish off any look. There’s also a packing service, French hand laundering, and shirts and linens can be hand-pressed upon request. And customers who are doing fine with space, but lacking in organization skills, can opt to have Garde Robe create Cyber Closets for them for USD 150 per hour. Garde Robe markets their services to business travellers, too, who might want to avoid the hustle and bustle of baggage claim during frequent trips to the Big Apple.

Website: http://www.garderobeonline.com/


Women buy cars too, ya’know!

23 10 2007


Although research finds that women are responsible for the bulk of purchasing decisions-one arena that continues to overlook this important target market is auto dealerships. Until now, that is. Enter Clutch-a new offshoot of Canada’s autoONE company, which recently opened in Vancouver.

Customers know from the moment they walk through the dealership doors that they’re not in for the stereotypical car-buying experience. “With its Italian-tiled floor, Paul Kane sofa, modern lighting, and La Marzocco espresso machine, Clutch has more the look and feel of a high end fashion boutique than a car dealership.” Of course, it’s the service that really makes the grade, with approachable sales staff who can respectfully-without the usual high-pressure sales tactics-walk buyers through the inventory of Aston Martins, BMWs, Jaguars, Land Rovers, Mercedes-Benzs, Minis and Porches-or hang back, available if questions should arise, for customers who prefer to browse solo. And forget the usual 10-minute test drive-Clutch customers can take a vehicle for a full day to try it out and see if it fits their lifestyle and needs.

It all makes for rather classy car-shopping, and considering how much this market spends on Manolo Blahniks and other designer fare, turning the auto dealership model on its head to appeal to female shoppers could reap some nice rewards. It won’t be surprising if car dealers in other regions take steps to court them as well. Now might be a good time to consider what other ventures that traditionally have catered to male customers might be due for a makeover!

Website: www.autoone.ca/clutch

DIY Wedding Rings

23 10 2007

Wedding Rings

Few possessions are closer to married consumers’ hearts than their wedding rings, but purchase decisions have traditionally been limited to figuring out whether to buy one ready-made or to ask a jeweller to make a custom one.

Now New York Wedding Ring is offering consumers a third possibility: make it themselves.

Consumers are well-acquainted with the “make or buy” decision from many aspects of their lives, but rarely has jewellery been one of them because of the skill and equipment required. New York Wedding Ring, however, is changing that with private, full-day workshops in which couples can design and craft their engagement or wedding rings. A professional jeweller guides them at each stage of the process as they work with platinum, gold, palladium, or mokume gane; by the end of the day, they will have crafted professional-quality rings through an experience they’ll always remember.

Pricing begins at USD 1,075 for a set of two simple palladium wedding rings crafted in a one-day workshop; more elaborate designs tend to require a second day, and cost an additional USD 850. New York Wedding Ring operates studios in both New York and San Francisco.

Website: http://www.newyorkweddingring.com/

Design Your Own Duvet

1 10 2007

Design Your Own Duvet

There’s nothing like customisation to make consumers feel unique, and the mass-customization trend has brought that feeling to goods as diverse as computers, blue jeans and breakfast cereal. Now American-based Inmod is taking customisation into the inner sanctum of consumers’ home lives with a service that lets them design their own duvets. There are other outlets that offer custom duvets, but most often the only choices to make are the fabric and size, and maybe the colour.  

Customers using the Inmod Design Studio, on the other hand, choose from a growing variety of embroidered patterns as well as colours and fabrics to design their duvet just the way they want it. Fabric choices include silk taffeta, silk dupioni and a linen blend; embroidery options include a wide variety of chic modern, retro, pop-art, geometric and nature-inspired designs, all in the customer’s choice of colours for background and each level of detail.  

Once satisfied with their creation, customers can preview it online in a bedroom environment.  Each embroidered Inmod duvet is hand-made in India, and delivery takes 4 to 6 weeks. One rule of thumb with customization is that it’s hard to offer too much of it from a consumer’s viewpoint. How about taking a segmented approach to the same idea, with custom duvets for kids, teens, newlyweds? What about sheets, towels, drapery, or table linens? Let the customising fun begin!    

Website: http://www.inmod.com/modern-bedding.html

What goes on in Photographer’s Heads?

10 09 2007


For all of us who wonder just what’s going on in our photographer’s heads, check out Altar Narrative, the new documentary wedding photography blog from Roger Overall Photography.

For a busy, busy photographer, Roger does a great job of posting some of his favourite wedding photos and explaining the stories behind them.  It’s a great opportunity to learn more about the individual sytle of one of the countries top photographers!

Restaurant Closes, and opens, and Closes…

6 09 2007


So here’s an idea that we really, really love. A new restaurant recently opened on East 63rd Street, Park Avenue, New York. Within three months, it will close. And reopen. And close. And reopen.

With each season, what was formerly known as Park Avenue Café will be reborn as a new restaurant. Park Avenue Summer, as it’s currently named, is part of the Smith & Wollensky restaurant group and is supremely in tune with the seasons. While most restaurants adapt their menus to accommodate the available foods and prevailing moods of the time of year, Park Avenue takes seasonality to a new heights and will also completely revamp its décor, staff uniforms and place settings. Currently, waitresses wear sundresses, wall panels are yellow, and guests are served Lemon Sole and Peach Sorbet. The restaurant’s interior was created by design agency AvroKO, which took cues from theatre stage sets to help facilitate the transition to Park Avenue Autumn in September.

Park Avenue Summer reminds us of InterContinental’s Hotel Indigo, which features mood elements that change to reflect the seasons. If you’re in hospitality, take a cue from the pioneers and see if you too can radically transform with the seasons, or with a more arbitrary timeline. Do it well, and customers will keep returning to experience your latest twists and turns.