A Conversation With Jake Rosenberg

Based in New York and originally from Toronto, Jake Rosenberg spends most of his time everywhere else. As Co-Founder and Creative Director of global media brand Coveteur, Jake Rosenberg is making quite the name for himself. 

It was while working under photographer Chris Nicholls that Rosenberg met his now business partner, Stephanie Mark. In 2011 they launched Coveteur as a passion project and the site crashed on day 1. It has since grown to be the leading destination for a luxurious, behind the scenes look at all things fashion, lifestyle, and culture: “He’s one half of the duo shaking up lifestyle media by producing lucrative native advertising campaigns for luxury brands including Chanel and Dior.” We had a conversation with Rosenberg himself about how Coveteur came about and what it’s like traveling 25 days out of the month.

Helen: So are you a photographer first?

Rosenberg: Overall, I would say I’m a cofounder of Coveteur first, and then I split the creative director and photographer role.

H: How did you start?

R: It really was a passion project right from the beginning. I was 23 years old, living in Toronto, and assisting photographers in the industry here. I had just graduated from Industrial design at the Ontario College of Art and Design so I was extremely excited about branding and experience design and just creating something new and innovative. And that’s when I met my business partner Stephanie Mark. We worked together on a project and the next day, this kind of just happened. We got together, we decided to start something new and we built a brand, created some content and we published it. The first day the site was live, it crashed and we like “omg, whats going on?!” Shortly after that we decided that this is what we’re going to do full time. Six months after we started the site, we started to get new clients and then pretty much right from there we just kept on going. Six years later, we have an office in Toronto and in New York, great staff, a lot of great clientele, and we published a book in October.

The book is Coveteur: Private Spaces, Personal Style. It features 43 people from around the world in their homes covering their styles, their interiors, etc. It’s a very iconic imagery of Coveteur.

H: What kind of content do you create?

R: We offer luxury lifestyle content across the board, predominantly women’s focused. And it covers fashion, beauty, health and wellness, travel.

H: When did your career start taking off?

R: I like to think that I’m still building my career and this is the first amazing project that I’m getting to build and work on but creating Coveteur has definitely led me to work with so many inspiring people and brands that I never expected to work with. So being able to spend time with people like Oprah and Cindy Crawford and having them allow me to photograph them and work with them in such close proximity, I would say has definitely helped my career.

H: What kind of projects do you do? Lifestyle media seems like a huge umbrella.

R: Predominantly as a company, I oversee the creative direction of the company so the full vision of the company, kind of making sure that everything stays in line with our creative vision and then I spend most of my time working on the native content for the site. So working in collaboration with brands like Chanel or Gucci or Saks to put together a piece of content in a series that really speak to our audience. And help serve their brand and their product

H: What is your favourite project that you’ve worked on?

R: Any project with Chanel has been spectacular but I think in terms of the company as a whole, I think working on the book. The book I really took time. Being able to publish and work on, so intimately, a coffee table book, published by one of my favourite art publishers I think was a very big moment for me and spending time with all the people that worked on the book. The book has 703 images, about 241 pages. It’s beautiful, it’s exactly how I wanted it to turn out. That project for me was very exciting and I’m very proud of how it turned out.

H: Where do you draw inspiration from for your projects?

R: From all over. Because I did study industrial design, I do pull a lot of inspiration from brands or designers or product that I interact with on a daily basis- and also Instagram. I mean Instagram is such a great tool for finding new and exciting people and things.

H: It says here that you travel 25 days out of the month. What’s that like?

R: It’s exciting and challenging at the same time. I get opportunities to go places and see people and have experiences that most people in the world don’t get to do so I would say I’m always excited about my next trip. But at the same time, it is a very big challenge to be on multiple time zones a month, sometimes a week. Generally I live out of a suitcase. I’ve gotten really good at doing that, I’ve done that for a long time so it’s fine. I think it’s also a really big challenge to work with the staff in the office when I’m on the road for so long. It just means that everyone has to work a little bit harder or stay a little more connected because sometimes I’ll be on a 12 hour difference time zone shooting in Thailand. So ill be done my day there and then they’d just be getting up. So that means we all just have to get in that extra time whenever I can but fore the most part, its amazing. I’ve literally spent countess hours, miles traveling the world and I love it.

H: So you don’t have a typical day?

R: I don’t have a typical day no. I have a typical day in the office and then I have a non-typical day when I’m on the road.

H: Are you doing work most of the time or do you kind of get to explore where you are?

R: Generally it’s work. I mean any kind of free day when I’m abroad is usually a resting day. Travelling that much is hard on you mentally and physically so when I do happen to have a free day, I try to rest. And because of the nature of my job I like to think that it’s kind of all mixed together. So depending on the project, I was just in Thailand or Aston or wherever, they all kind of overlap in terms of work and exploring kind of thing. And I think because of what we do at Coveteur,  a lot of the time we go to a new city and meet local people and they always kind of end up showing us their little world which is think is such a great insight into that city from a local’s perspective

H: Where have you been so far?

R: The furthest I’ve been is China, and Russia probably. I was in Dubai twice in 10 days. For the book alone, we went to London, paris , LA, Moscow, Antwerp, Dubai, New York- a lot of places. And then Thailand.

H: What was your favourite place to travel?

R: I think Barcelona has been one of my favourite places to travel. I spent about a week or almost 10 days in Barcelona. I just had an amazing time. I loved the city, the culture, the people, the energy. So that’s probably one of my favourite places to travel. Also I think Toronto. I don’t get to come here so much anymore but Toronto’s where I’m from. I love coming home. I love visiting Canada. I think Toronto is still one of my favourite cities, out of every place I’ve ever been. And then I think St. Barth’s. I was recently there and it just reminded me how special it really is. It’s such a small unique island that I’ve grown to love. I feel like it has such a unique community there that has a very exclusive aspect to it but it’s just beautiful and I love it there

H: Do you have any destination hotspot recommendations? (restaurants, places to go)

R: Actually you know what, Brazil is one of my favourite places in the world. I went to Rio. I would recommend everyone to go to Rio at least one time. I mean it’s like an urban centre built into the jungle on the coast, and it is just so lively and energetic and it is fun every single day. Once you’re in Rio, if you just take a little trip down to Florianapolis- or people call it Floripa. That’s probably my all time favourite island on the planet so far. I think I was there over Christmas and New Year’s so it was more of a vacation. Half the island is posh and I think it has like 42 beaches on the island. It is a spectacular place to visit and just relax and have fun.

H: What’s one place that surprised you?

R: I think Dubai surprised me. I had no preexisting expectations for Dubai but I had a great time. I was there twice, once for the Chanel cruise show and then I went back ten days later and I was a guest of one of the royal families. I had a great time. It was definitely different from anywhere else I’ve been. The people I met there and the experiences I had were all great.

H: Do you find it tiring ever?

R: It’s challenging. If you’re changing time zones as much as I do, it becomes tiring.

H: Is it hard to balance work and time off or just time for yourself?

R: I think as as a co-founder, I think that’s the biggest challenge to have that work life balance. I’m just so passionate and dedicated to what I do. I get to have fun with it, although it does get to be a challenge when it comes to taking time off for myself. I think anytime I do, it’s when I really need to. That only allows me to recharge and come back even stronger. But I’m always excited for it.

H: Do you have any favourite spots in Toronto?

R: My backyard with my family haha. A good friend of mine, Janet Zuccarini has a couple restaurants here- she’s got Gusto 101, Cafe Nervosa, and Pai- all of those restaurants I would recommend. I would always recommend just going down to the waterfront, going to Trinity Bellwoods in the summer, just hang out and listen to music and all that kind of stuff is really fun. Go to a baseball game, go to the islands, check that out. But usually when I come home, it’s family time.

H: Where would you like to be in 10 years? Do you still want to be traveling?

R: I think I’d always like to be traveling. There’s so many places in the world I’d like to see that I have yet to see. I am excited for the next five to ten years of Coveteur and the growth and opportunity that lays ahead. I think we’ll keep growing and exploring new opportunities and new avenues for business that will bring our brand to the next level.

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A Conversation with Harjit Bhandal and Jaz Saini of YouTwoTV

International YouTube sensations Harjit Bhandal and Jaz Saini of the hit YouTwoTV channel recently won the 2017 iHeartRadio MMVAs “FAN FAVE MUCH CREATOR” award. Born February 8th, 2016, their channel has garnered over 120 million views and 550,000 subscribers from all around the world. Using a camera and their own creativity, they’ve managed to build consistent viewership in India, Canada, the U.S., and the U.K. They also finish each others’ sentences. We sat down with them to discuss their success on the Youtube scene.

Helen Jacob: How did you get into YouTube?

Harjit: We both had channels before this. She made skits and so did I, here and there.

Jaz: He made short films but more like music videos.

H: I felt like I had the equipment now so might as well use it and take advantage. And I also felt like I wanted to be a Youtuber when all these Youtubers came out. You know, I think I’m kind of funny sometimes.

HJ: Take me through the process of making a video.

J:  First it’s scripting.

H: I sit in my room hours upon hours just writing. Usually we write like 10 scripts and end up throwing them all away. Then, right before we film we come up with a new idea and we pull from that instead. It happens every time.

J: Yeah, scripting takes us the longest. Then it takes us 8 hours to film and 3 hours to edit.

H: Then when we put it together, we split the work in half. So she comes in at the beginning and puts all the clips together and in order. Then I come in and colour correct and put in the sounds and music and all that stuff.

HJ: Whats your favourite part?

J: I think the acting part.

H: Yeah, the acting.

J: Because we get to do whatever we want and make the characters whoever we want that day. They can be really stupid or really silly. In the last video, I played the mom and he played the dad and that was really out of our comfort zone.

HJ: Were you afraid of putting yourself out there?

J: I think I was at first.

H: I wasn’t at all.

J: At the end of our vlogs we say stay true to you and stop caring. I think that’s drilled into my brain now and I just stopped caring what other people thought.

HJ: How do you explain YouTube to your parents (as a career)?

H: You don’t haha. They’re starting to understand now though, now that more opportunities are coming. At the end of the day your parents want you to be successful and if you tell them, I’m going to do this thing on the internet and make Youtube videos, they’re not going to understand because they don’t know what that is. I feel like at this point though, they’re starting to see us becoming successful on that platform. So now they understand. Whereas before they were saying, “go back to school.”

J: Yeah before, his mom would sometimes tell him to get a full time job and we’re like.. this is our full time job. We’re actually making more than what we would make at a “full time job”.

HJ: Did you ever think you were going to get here?

J: Oh man no way, if you told us last year we were going to be nominated for an MMVA, I would have no idea

HJ: You only started last year, too.

J: Yeah we started last year. It’s been a year and a couple months.

HJ: How did you guys grow your channel?

H: I think the main thing was just putting ourselves out there; being consistent and not skipping days. Right from the get go, we said we were going to release a video every week, and we did that. We haven’t skipped a single week since. I feel like that was the main thing and then obviously promoting it, Tweeting it, Instagramming it, all that stuff is important too.

J: I feel like a lot of it was a fluke too.

H: –No we worked hard!

J: Yeah we worked really hard but in the sense that I guess people saw our videos and started sharing it. I think our content is shareable. I think that helps a lot- having shareable content.

HJ: Who was your main support system?

H: I feel like the biggest support system was us.

J: Yeah, each other. At one point, my cousins were telling me to get a full time job, saying that this was not a dream for us. Our friends were supportive but at the end of the day, we supported each other. We had each other to say we can do this or we got this.

HJ: What’s the best and worst part of working together?

J: I think the best part is that we’re both workaholics- we’re both working  24/7. So if I was doing this by myself, it would really hard to balance a boyfriend and a career. I think that’s the best part, we  get to spend every day together even when we’re working.

H: Yeah we know other people on Youtube that do music and stuff like that and they can’t find the time for their significant other. But we’re together all the time. Although, me and Jaz- there’s two versions of us. There’s Harjit and Jaz: YouTwoTV, and there’s Harjit and Jaz: boyfriend and girlfriend. So it’s two different things, but we’ll try to make time for both.

HJ: What’s the Canadian youtube community like?

H: Not that big

J: Yeah there’s  handful of Youtubers in Canada…but I think our community’s the best community.

H: Always. Canada, always. But I feel like it’s getting bigger with upcoming Youtubers.

HJ: Do you think being in Canada was an obstacle, seeing as the big YouTube scene is in Los Angeles?

J: Not really. I mean it does limit our opportunities. I find that when we go to LA, we have a lot more opportunities.

H:…But to come up, I feel like it hasn’t stopped us in any way. Although, to grow I think it’s holding us back. The goal is LA. Hopefully we’re moving there next year.

HJ: What other Youtubers inspire you?

J: A bunch of people.

H: Hotdamnirock

J: –who doesn’t do youtube anymore

H: He stopped making videos, he used to make them back in the day. I felt like his content was really out of the box, but really relatable at the same time and I feel like we’re inspired by that.

J: Then Casey Neistat, and  Liza Koshy.

HJ: Have you collaborated with other Youtubers?

J: Yeah we’ve collaborated with a couple- Matt sentoro who is also Canadian, micky singh, Dannie riel, the Brampton boys, a bunch of people. That’s the best part as creators, its not a competition. Everyone’s super friendly with each other.

HJ: How do you deal with hate?

J: Harjit’s so good at it, I’m still learning. I get so frustrated when I get comments and I always want to reply! But Harjit’s like, ‘No.’ So now whenever we see a hate comment, what we do is we’ll reply to 10 nice comments.

HJ: What is your goal for the future?

H: We want to grow in other areas. We want to have our own tv show that we script and act in, and we want to go on a worldwide tour. But I think we’ll always stay creating content on Youtube as well. Because that’s where our fans are, that’s where our platform is.

J: Everything would be based off Youtube. So our tour would consist of comedy skits on stage and we envision our tv show to be like a sitcom tv show based on the content and characters on YouTwoTV.

HJ: Is there anything else you want to say to everyone reading this?

H: Watch our videos, like and subscribe. Be good and kind to people.

J: Stay true to you. That’s what we tell everyone if they’re having a bad day or not doing well. I just tell them to stay true to you, and stop caring about what other people think.

Check out their Facebook, and Harjit Bhandal,  Jaz Saini‘s Instagram and continue following our arts & culture coverage on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram.

Toben Food’s Take on Family Style Catering

Brother and sister duo Toben and Elana Kochman are co-owners of Toben Food by Design, an international culinary experience. Executive chef Toben Kochman graduated from Cordon Bleu School of Culinary Arts in Paris and stayed to work at Apicius, a two star Michelin restaurant. He came back to Toronto and worked under Susur Lee as his sous chef at Lee. Then he and his sister Elana combined efforts and Toben Food by Design was born over ten years ago.

“It’s kind of a global cuisine inspired by parts of Asia, to more classical French to Italian to right here within our landscape in Ontario,” says Elana. “It’s really kind of this fusion of international cuisine coupled with the freshest, most seasonal available ingredients that we can get our hands on.”


The team finds itself often asked about its family style wedding catering. Essentially a shared meal, it evokes the nostalgia of Sunday night family dinners or holiday meals spent passing around the mashed potatoes and roast chicken. Except in this case, everyone’s passing around Grilled Whole Sicilian Branzino (recipe at the end of this post) and Fingering Potato Salad, which include lobster, grilled corn, bacon lardons, scallions, and chives.

At the moment, their most popular dish is the Southern Barbecue Braised Beef Brisket smothered in a Memphis style red wine molasses barbecue sauce. Elana recalls her favourite dish, the Watermelon Salad , which combines ingredients like sheep’s milk feta, black beans, corn, and mint. “It’s the most refreshing thing ever!”

The most interesting dish? A house made apple chip, first poached and marinated in star anise and allspice, then oven dried and topped with smoked chicken sausage, red wine braised cabbage, and mustard, all house made. Hours of process and assembly packed into a bite sized hors d’oeuvre.

To keep it fresh and local, family style menus depend on the season. If a client is interested in this style, Toben will pull out their short list of salads, mains, and sides to choose from. Clients are usually asked to choose two salads to start, two mains (protein, usually a meat and a fish, although there are vegetarian options available), and two or three sides. Dessert can also be served family style on the table but after sitting for so long, more people choose to have a dessert table.

Guests are essentially sampling double what they would in a family style setting as opposed to a plated meal. “Even though you’re not doing the sides and mains for 100 percent of the guest count each, you still need to prepare 75 percent of each dish.”  While guests are eating a 4oz portions of the brisket rather than an 8oz portions, and a smaller 3.5oz piece of fish, everyone will still want to try everything.

Kids also have their own menu of flatbreads, chicken fingers, little cones with french fries, and mini crudité cups, all served family style as well. This way, everyone can join in on the fun!

GRILLED WHOLE SICILLIAN BRANZINO

Makes 4 servings

INGREDIENTS

  • 4 whole Branzino fish (sometimes referred to as European Sea Bass), scales and innards removed
  • 4 cups fennel, shaved on a mandolin
  • ½ cup fennel fronds, rough chopped
  • 1 whole lemon, zested and juiced
  • 2 whole lemons, sliced into ½ cm thick rounds
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1½ tbsp salt
  • ½ tsp black pepper
  • 3 whole oranges, peeled and sliced into segments
  • 3 whole grapefruit, peeled and sliced into segments

METHOD

  • In a small mixing bowl combine the lemon juice, half of the olive oil, a pinch of salt and pepper and mix with a fork and set aside.
  • Preheat a clean grill to medium-high. Combine the remainder of the olive oil, lemon zest, salt and pepper and rub generously all over the interior and exterior of the cleaned fish.
  • Assemble the sliced lemon rounds on the interior of the fish.
  • Gently lay the seasoned fish on the preheated grill and cook for 5-7 minutes per side with the lid closed if using a BBQ. Gently flip the fish over and continue to cook on the other side.
  • While the fish is cooking combine the shaved fennel, orange segments, grapefruit segments, lemon juice and olive oil mixture from step 1 and gently toss to combine.

To serve, carefully remove the whole fish from the grill and transfer to a platter and assemble the shaved fennel and citrus segment salad alongside. Garnish with a sprinkling of the rough chopped fennel fronds and serve immediately.

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VizEat: A Revolutionary Dining Experience

Ever find yourself searching online for the “most authentic” places to eat when traveling to a new place? What if you could have the most authentic dining experience? VizEat allows you to pick any country and search for the best food experiences.

Conceptually similar to Airbnb, users choose a city, then select an experience that best suits their style and taste — or something completely different for an experience out of their comfort zones. It could be a cheese and wine tasting in Paris or enjoying a feast on a rooftop in Istanbul.

Source: VizEat

As a host, you can sign up as a passionate home cook or amateur chef. After sharing your food story, the menu you want to create, and some other details, you’re on your way to cooking for travellers coming from all over the world! Love throwing dinner parties? This is a great way to share your love of food and cooking with people who are interested, while making some extra income.

Vizeat started in France in 2014, and then launched mid-February in Canada by Cristina Carpio- Canadian Food and Beverage Expert, TV Host, Going Global TV and Restaurant Operator/Brand Strategist/Entrepreneur. Highly invested in the Canadian Food and Beverage scene, Carpio’s goal is to “provide opportunities to fellow Canadians who love to cook as well as help attract tourists to our beautiful cities here in Canada.”

By downloading the app, anyone can access over 22,000 hosts in 100 countries.

 VizEat is bringing together people who share a love of food. According to Carpio, they “have from local celebrity chefs to master chefs to home cooks, dining platform provides opportunities to anyone who has a passion for cooking. We also have food tour companies, wine tour companies, and other food and beverage related businesses providing authentic experiences.” All menus are available with host profile so users will know exactly what they are booking.

In New Brunswick, they have a caviar education and tasting experience, In Toronto, Chef Scott Savoie, pioneer of food tours in Toronto offers a great package, in which he takes users to St. Lawrence Market, shops for ingredients with guests and tours the local city market. He and the diners then go back to the dinner location for a cooking class and to prepare the meal together. He also does Ontario wine pairings with dinner and cocktails to start the evening!

Source: Vizeat

VizEat offers various experiences such as a homemade meal. Experience lunch, brunch, dinner, aperitif, picnic, or tea time with your host in their home while sharing stories and cultures. This is also a great way to get advice and tips from a local about the city. You can also sign up for a cooking class. In these sessions, you can learn how to prepare authentic dishes with help from your host in a 2-3 hour culinary experience. You can also do a food tour. Your host will take you on a tour of their favourite foodie hotspots. This may include local markets, artisanal stalls and gourmet shops. You can taste local specialties and get to know the shopkeepers. Experiences also vary from cheap eats to a culinary Italian feast by MasterChef finalist Vince Spitale.

Carpio states “VizEat is all about cultural immersion and immersing yourself with locals and providing authentic experiences. This platform shows people that dining experiences are not only found in restaurants and hotels, resorts. VizEat experiences are only held in authentic locations and NEVER in restaurants. Cultural immersion is the future of dining and travel.”

An experience on its own, VizEat is a great way to meet people, and an out-of-the-box alternative to simply reserving a spot at the local restaurant.

Masterchef Canada Season 3 finalist Vince Spitale

BURDIFILEK X NOVELLA Q&A

International design visionaries Diego Burdi and Paul Filek of design studio BURDIFILEK have been at the centre of luxury retail, with nearly 25 years of experience transforming retail spaces such as Holt Renfrew to a series of Neiman Marcus stores across the US. These design partners have won over 150 internationally recognized awards for creating shopping experiences all over the world from New York to Korea. 

It is true that social media and online shopping have changed the way retail works, but we asked Burdi and Filek about how retail space design has evolved in the last two decades and their take on what designers need to consider when creating retail spaces. 


Helen: How did Burdifilek get started?

Diego: We met as design students. We stayed in touch after graduation and eventually started Burdifilek.

Describe your personal design aesthetic.

D: Classic modern with an unexpected, almost eccentric twist.

Paul: Minimal, modern, pared back.

Can you break down your design process?

D: Our design process starts with understanding the real problem at hand and identifying the opportunities within the project from a global point of view.
P: Our studio designs holistically as a team, which means the designers aren’t broken into specialized groups by sector. We find clients benefit most from the shared learnings across our studio.

How do you balance personal aesthetic with clients?

D: We design spaces to reflect the quality, sensibility, and performance of a brand and its product. Since no two brands are the same, I strongly believe a good designer appreciates every form of design and understands how to bring the appropriate design language to their clients. Our clientele is drawn to this design approach and sensibility in our work, so while my personal visual aesthetic does not extend into my client’s point of view, the principles of careful consideration and editing that underscores my personal aesthetic does resonate throughout the work.

P: I agree – the principles of consideration are shared across my aesthetic, Diego’s aesthetic, and client’s aesthetic. It takes on a different visual expression for each client, but the level of consideration remains constant.

How have retail spaces evolved in the last 2 decades?

D: Retail spaces have evolved because the retail industry itself has evolved. Retailers have become more focused on what they are trying to offer the consumer, creating a more multi-faceted experience from a lifestyle point of view to celebrate their product. We are also more design aware as a society, and since consumers have so many options available to them now, there is a growing appreciation for the physical retail experience as a platform to attract consumers. A confident brand experience is becoming more and more important for the end user.

P: First and foremost, retailers are evolving because they are faced with more competition now than ever before. International competition is a big challenge for local and national brands. The successful retailers have become much more focused on targeting who their client is and they are becoming much clearer on what separates their brand identity and offering from all others. Retailers are all looking for that point of differentiation.

Is there a specific vibe people gravitate to now? Are people more likely to walk into a store that’s Instagram-friendly?

D: People gravitate toward authenticity and originality. We all seek things that speak to us.

P: I don’t think there is a specific vibe, but brands are recognizing the power of mood and atmosphere and embracing a unique point of view that is curated toward a specific customer. Shopping is a necessity, but the physical environment is also part entertainment so we are seeing more cues from the hospitality world intermingling with retail. Ideas around “interactive” and “experiential” come from hospitality.

How do you design a space that caters to a social-driven lifestyle?

Shopping is socially-driven and retail is entertainment. We don’t design spaces specifically to cater to a social-driven lifestyle because life is about being social. We design for life.

Explain society’s need for instantaneity through the lens of design visionaries such as yourselves? Is this aspect difficult to infuse into your design?

Everyone is hungry for newness because there is so much happening at once. As a designer, we are constantly looking for ways to recreate the newness. Our society is bombarded with everyone shouting at 120 decibels. We are looking for new ways to cut through the noise and distill the design in a focused way that leaves a point of memory amidst the noise.

What makes someone walk into a store they don’t necessarily already know about?

P: When the confidence of a brand and product is appealing, then someone will be motivated to walk into the store. There is a curiosity in finding something new that resonates in terms of product quality and experience.

D: When the retailer’s program, offering, and point of view is strong from the lease line. A clear and focused message about their value and brand experience. When the product and environment are cohesive, one frames the other and the offering is focused for the consumer.

According to your expertise, what are some design strategies that retailers can employ to generate more sales?

A more focused program. Trying to be everything to everyone, and this just does not work anymore. In the times we live in now, where everything is available to consumers, a clear and confident point of view is what will make a brand successful.

Mark Lash

What are some common mistakes retailers make when designing their space?

Brands often seek a trendy visual language to sell cool. Piggybacking off the success of another brand’s design is a mistake because consumers are looking for the uniqueness in each retailer. “Monkey see, monkey do” does not work.

Most important physical elements to consider when looking to change a retail space?

D: Do not underestimate the importance of materiality and lighting in retail.

P: I think the most important physical element is to maximize the opportunity of the actual space itself. From the site selection, shop entry, or customer flow through the environment, every new location requires the brand experience to be optimized for each new space. Forcing a pre-set design into a new location removes all consideration for the brand experience.

What do you want people to know about designing a retail space in the current market?
A retail space is a continuation of the brand story, and there must be a strong connection back to that. Look for the differentiating brand factors that will set you apart. A space is a continuation of the story – like another chapter in the storyline – so it needs to be cohesive.

Is there anything else you’d like to add?

Retail is becoming more complex, and brands are hiring various consultants to help navigate the landscape. As a result, there are many new considerations and concerns in the front and back of house that accompany the launch of a shop beyond design. A strong retail program acts as the backbone for design and creates a canvas for the best possible experience. The whole experience must be well prepared and well thought out. The most successful brands do not show up in the mall with stock and leaving the experience up to chance. Every touch point is carefully crafted and considered.

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