My love hate relationship with Dover Street Market NYC started with my first visit the summer of last year (August 2015), and then again in February 2016. Now that we've officially moved to New York, I can't wait to check out what they have in store for all the coming seasons.
Ok, so this is me doing market research for my dream fashion real estate project, so I came in with a relatively observant and hopefully objective perspective. A few things I noticed...
Not a lot of people are actually making purchases, despite their uniquely and delightfully curated merchandise, and even more inspiring and expensively decorated displays. I personally think it is because:
- The layout/flow of the whole building: It is a narrow rectangular building with an elevator built in the middle, so from where you first enter the door to the center elevator is literally less than 4 steps and you are either forced to turn left or right, with a friendly (but still stranger nonetheless) store associate in between, and this is one of the most awkward entrance I've ever had to make at any store. Then you meander up the stairs/elevator (I recommend taking the stairs, much faster and more relaxing, you will know what I mean) to visit all 7 floors;
- Designer selection vs. price point: They stock a bunch of great designers, both established and getting noticed, and everything they have is either a wow in creativity or wow in quality. However, I believe that because most people haven't heard of the newer brands, they will be less likely to make purchases the first time. If they have heard of the brand, they may highly doubt the price markup here at the store vs. the potential discount online (at whichever platform their resourceful self can find), so there's hesitant to purchase here as well. Of course I'm ruling out people who are nonelastic to price;
- Stuffiness of the store: Again, it comes down to the combination of the store layout design and the generally high price point (small percentage intro products) that the whole walk through the store experience seem a little stiff/stuffy with store associates walking around in the small space with. They are great, but generally there's just this sense of uncomfortableness flowing through the store. And I'm sure the store associate feels the same too.
Ok, but now from a subjective perspective purely out of my heart - I love this place! Certainly it's a little bit stuffier than I like. I should remind myself to dress up a little more next time to fit in quietly. I love perusing all their interior designs - I personally even think I love seeing their creative displays slightly more than their well-curated products. I think, basically if you're a tourist (which I always feel like being a tourist no matter where I go) you will likely stand out really quickly. Not a big deal, but I highly recommend getting over the uncomfortable feel, because a visit to this store is certainly worth it! In conclusion, I will definitely visit again and again to see if they've updated their interior decor. Also, can't wait to visit their other locations in London, Tokyo, and Beijing!
Ps. If you like these kind of concept stores as well, then you must visit Seoul! They are literally the pioneer in all these mix-concept stores. Will need to do a few posts on them later then.