American Marketer


Smythson touts cabinet of curiosities for Madison Avenue opening

March 15, 2016

Illustration of Smython's Madison Avenue boutique Illustration of Smython's Madison Avenue boutique


British leather goods maker Smythson of Bond Street is ushering in a new retail space with an archival exhibit featuring items owned by Sir Winston Churchill, Diana, Princess of Wales and others.

The exhibit, which opened on March 13, welcomes Smythson to its new flagship boutique at 667 Madison Avenue and gives familiar and prospective consumers a glimpse at the brand’s 128-year history. While a new store often results in passersby entering, giving consumers an additional reason for a visit by way of an exhibit can be beneficial.

Wonders of Smythson's world
Smythson’s “The Curious World of Smythson” tells of the brand’s moments over the course of the last 128 years, some of which are quite curious in nature.

The exhibit, exclusive to the new Madison Avenue storefront, includes pieces from throughout Smythson’s history, using iconic individuals as a basis and common link between brand and consumer.

For instance, Smythson has included pieces from the archives of Sir Winston Churchill, Diana, Princess of Wales, actress Vivien Leigh, psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud and others. On the hub created for the exhibit found on Smythson’s Web site, the brand includes images of the pieces, introducing its heritage to a wider audience than just those who visit the new boutique.

Pieces include stationery written on by Ms. Leigh, a notebook with the findings of Dr. Freud and the diary of Savile Row designer Sir Hardy Amies. Among these are archival pieces such as Smythson's first handbag, actress Katharine Hepburn’s address book, a bridge card set and a chauffeur figurine.

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Inside Smythson's Madison Avenue boutique

The Curious World of Smythson is open until March 20.

Through exhibits such as this and its branded communications, Smythson often explores the creative process.

For instance, the brand told tales of the creative process through a fall/winter 2015 campaign with a user-generated content component. The craftsmanship strategy is used often by luxury brands, but by highlighting the work of others the idea of quality artisanship comes across as more authentic (see story).