— By Alex Tostado —
Yankee Candle debuts its new store concept, “World Home Fragrance,” to create a personalized fragrance experience.
In summer 2019, The Yankee Candle Co. Inc. and FRCH Nelson sat down to discuss how to enhance the way consumers apply fragrance in their homes.
Judy Jasper, director of retail activation for The Yankee Candle Co. Inc., and Mari Miura, senior interior designer of FRCH Nelson, worked closely to roll out a new theme for the retailer, World Home Fragrance, at Natick Mall near Boston on Black Friday. World Home Fragrance occupies 900 square feet, slightly smaller than Yankee Candle’s typical 1,200-square-foot footprints. The concept was designed for shoppers to create settings in their homes using candle scents to set moods around themes of relaxation, entertaining, gathering or celebration.
By making the retail space feel like a residential space, Jasper says the planning team was able to reframe the way people feel about the more than 50-year-old Yankee Candle brand and showcase not only the company’s signature branded products, but its other candle brands, Woodwick and Chesapeake Bay.
Products are stored within window bays, artfully segmenting the shopping experience and creating moments to highlight featured scents or seasonal stories.
Additionally, for the first time, Yankee Candle incorporated a large customization table in the heart of the store. The design promotes a central gathering space with sample-size testers.
Residential design cues such as furniture-like fixtures, decorative lighting, and even a bar cart display create a warm, homey feel. The fixtures are modular in nature, double as storage for excess merchandise and can be clustered together or broken apart depending on the need.
Jasper says the concept was borne out of surveys from consumers, many of whom liked the product, but didn’t quite know how and when to use candles and home fragrance. Yankee Candle saw it as an opportunity to build on its strengths and attract a different kind of shopper at the same time.
“The concept was intended to reframe the way shoppers feel about our brand and bring us to the next generation,” explains Jasper.
With World Home Fragrance, consumers can create custom scents, including warmers, ultrasonic diffusers, car fresheners, sprays and plug-ins, then personalize them even further with a personal message or photo on the label. World Home Fragrance also has a gift-wrapping station for customers.
FRCH NELSON completed the architecture, interior design, and shared concepts for graphics for the store, along with upfront consumer research through its brand strategy team.
The team began talking over the summer with the plan to open by Black Friday. The most difficult part was conceptualizing World Home Fragrance, designing the space and launching the store — all in less than 6 months.
“When you’re working on a prototype like this, there is a lot to figure out,” says Miura. After delving into the consumer research, FRCH NELSON went into the product merchandizing and fixture design. “From the very beginning to the very end, it was a smooth and collaborative process.”
Jasper emphasized the importance of rolling out the concept by Black Friday in order to engage as many people in person as possible while traffic was in the mall. Jasper says Yankee Candle chose FRCH NELSON due to the company’s track record working with other iconic American brands and retailers, such as Harley Davidson, Macy’s, American Girl, Dick’s Sporting Goods, Tiffany & Co. and Saks Fifth Avenue.
“FRCH’s portfolio of retail projects that are highly experiential in nature was attractive to us,” says Jasper.
For Jasper and Yankee Candle, it is still too soon to commit to a World Home Fragrance expansion.
Yankee Candle is still testing and evaluating the success of the World Home Fragrance concept and plans to assess its position after the first quarter. Jasper remains optimistic that consumers will give her good news.
“Hopefully shoppers will tell us they are delighted.”
— This article originally appeared as the cover story of the March 2020 issue of Retail & Restaurant Facility Business. Please email the editor, Katie Lee, at email@example.com.