(file this under stuff kind of related to gardening)
I love this store. Love it. Anthropologie. It is so beautifully merchandised, with beautiful merchandise, groovy merchandise, the hip stuff, bitchin music (Be Good Tanyas doing Prince’s When the Doves Cry), and displays that leave me with my inner child partyin’ down. What is it about this place that stirs my soul? That so appeals to me and makes me want to touch everything in the store (yes, I am a tactile junkie and a cowgirl junkie). There is a very strong thread of the natural world running through the fabric of Anthropologie’s displays. It’s the flora that rocked me. In every form: chopped wood, paper flowers, cotton bolls, you name it.
The definition of Anthropolog-y with a Y is the social science that studies the origins and social relationships of human beings. In keeping with our material world (sadly), it is our stuff that often tells who we are. Anthropolog-IE got that right and nailed it in merchandise display. I fell for it hook, line and sinker. And keep going back for more.
So, the other day, when I was in the store and found myself face to face with a larger than life ostrich made of paper, I decided I had to talk to someone about how all this coolness came to be.I did not chat up the ostrich.
He’s made out of newspaper without the news. Nobody seemed to miss the words.
I had a nice long chat with Lisa Arnold, the Display Manager, the gal in charge of all this creativity. The store teams are actually divided up into sales and visual teams. This allows for great execution of duties and ideas, particularly when they pull in talented designers like Lisa. Display concepts are developed in the main office, with merchandise buyers and display artists working together to brainstorm the concepts. They are encouraged to put their own local riffs on the displays they create. Lisa and her team receive photos of the prototypes, step by step instructions and go from there. All this is created in the workshop/basement of the store. Yes, they get paid to create.
Anthropologie is in fact, a very hip Cabinet of Curiosities.
Here’s more reading about their Director of Design/Executive@ Strange Closets.