Walking into an Anthropologie store is like visiting a new and exciting world: no wonder people sometimes use retail therapy as a way of escaping reality. When visiting the flagship store on Regent Street it can feel a bit like an oasis, mainly due to the towering vertical garden, a 160 square-metre leafy wall, playing host to an array of air-cleaning plants. Although extremely chic and impressive, the space does not intimidate but is rather inviting and homey. From the colours, to the textures, the eclectic mixture makes you want to upgrade your entire life, both the content of your wardrobe and your interior design.
The striking setting you find inside the store is thanks to the imagination of their Visual Merchandiser. Its Visual Manager Emma Horsfield role to present Anthropologie’s trinkets in the most attractive manner possible. Each morning Emma and her team spend three hours readying the shop for your visit. You might not notice the work automatically, but next time you go into a store, Anthropologie or another brand that calls Regent Street home, pay attention not only to what they have on offer, but also the creative window displays and the crafty shop floor presentation.
How long have you been at Anthropologie?
Nearly four years. I started in the Regent Street store as an apparel merchandiser, then I went to King’s Road branch as a senior merchandiser before moving to the Guildford store as a visual merchandiser… And then I came back here as Visual Manager.
How would you describe shopping experience here?
The way we set up our store is a journey of discovery and that’s why we have such an eclectic mix of product – we want our customers to feel inspired. We create aspirational concepts for them to take the ideas on board. Our customers want to make their home as beautiful as possible. We have lots of artist collaborations and handmade products.
Is Regent Street a good home for Anthropologie?
I’d say definitely yes, it works really well here. Our other London stores are in Marylebone, King’s Road and Spitalfields. Those areas are a little bit smaller but Regent Street is the perfect place for a flagship store!
Can you explain what you do on a daily basis?
The main thing we do is place new product. We will analyse what product has come in and we will then decide what concept it looks nice in. Then we have the display makers, producing the seasonal displays. Today our main focus was photographing what we’ve done, . So today, like most days, it’s one big project and lots of smaller ones that we work on simultaneously.
Do you get to interact with customers?
As we’re on the shop floor working with product every day we have a lot of knowledge. So definitely, we end up serving quite a few customers... But they always tend to approach me when I’m at the top of a ladder, holding five different things.
Do you enjoy that side of things, the customer-facing element?
Yeah, if people are enjoying the displays and wanting to chat about that, then that helps… They are often surprised and pleased to hear that it is all made on site.
When do you start in the morning?
We always start at 7am, even the visual teams. We have three-hour slots to get as much done as possible, like big moves and project installations.
Where do you make all the props and visualise the concepts?
We make a lot of our fixtures upstairs in our workshop. All stores have one but it’s on a bigger scale here. But yes, all Anthropologie stores have that, in-house visual teams and that is how we are quite different from other brands.
Where do you find your inspiration when creating a new season’s look for the store?
Initial inspiration comes to us from Anthropologie Head Office in the US and then the visual team develop the ideas for our store. We look to exhibitions happening in London, artists that inspire us and current trends. We are also inspired a lot by the natural world, as many of our displays incorporate reimagining flora and fauna - or even creating large scale animals for more impactful displays.
What are your top tips for people looking for design ideas or a new look for their home?
Come and visit our room sets on the top floor! We give great examples of how to pull together interesting pieces from throughout the store to create a personal and unique look. Our furniture is exclusively Made to Order in the UK and featured in our room set layouts, where we inspire our customers to use our products to reflect their own personalities and lifestyles to create a truly individual home.
Does the unique architecture of Regent Street provide any inspiration for your in-store designs for example?
Regent Street is a prestigious shopping area and we have a great international customer coming to experience Anthropologie in an iconic destination.
The height and scale of the Regency style building allows us to house our favourite feature - the living wall! Probably still our most photographed in-store display.
Emma’s wonderful creations and inventive displays can be seen and experienced at Anthropologie’s Regent Street store at 158 Regent Street, W1B 5SW.