Kathmandu is a renowned outdoor brand, who for over 30 years, has designed gear to take on the rugged landscapes of New Zealand and to outfit the adventurous spirit of their people. Founded in Christchurch, NZ and now selling their product across three continents.
Kathmandu knew their retail strategy revolved around getting customers into store – and that store experience needed to be elevated, to match the evolution in their product and marketing campaigns. A design partner was needed to bring a new approach, expand the audience without alienating existing customers and provide a vehicle to tell their amazing brand and product stories.
Spending time outdoors is always a tactile experience. Bringing this to the retail floor with “Authenticity” was the design challenge. How could we tell stories of product innovation? How do we increase the perceived value of the products? How do we present a large and growing range whilst making it easy to understand for the customer? The stories existed within the brand – our role was to provide a platform for them to be told.
From the outset our vision was focussed on an evolution. By talking less about price, more about innovation, technology and the stories behind the development of their products. This would no doubt align with the brands #worldready campaign that launched briefly before the new sites went live, offering customers and Summit Club Members a shopping experience that made sense.
Sustainability is not something Kathmandu does, its woven through every aspect of the business and the physical retail sites are a core component. Having delivered a Green Star Rated store in Melbourne and numerous distribution facilities representing 6 Star global best practice, the decision was made to establish a new set of guidelines to be implemented across the new design. This was focussed on improving all aspects of the new store build. From waste management to material specification, whilst focusing on Carbon Neutrality across select future sites.
Coming back to Authenticity, it was critical that our material selection was not only environmentally but commercially sustainable. Chalk based paint to natural timbers, even recyclable aluminium slats finished with incredible realistic timber film and smart fixture design that allowed for optimised freight and logistics.
Further to materials, the use of the iconic Kathmandu Green was carefully considered and introduced in subtle ways through the fixture and joinery design, whilst being boldly illuminated on the shopfront. The two marquee sites in Auckland and Christchurch use this illuminated line in different ways – from diagonally segmenting the transparent slatted forms, whilst in the high street version – framing the shopfront and anchoring its presence.
Product presentation across apparel and accessories requires a flexible and dynamic fixture suite. Our team set out to create an identity that was ownable whilst universal enough to sit across categories, functional enough to flex with capacity, seasonality and marketing requirements. The unique two-tone design was developed as a response to the “Peak Yoke” integrated into the product range. Largely unchanged from the original concept, thorough prototyping and testing was undertaken to ensure the pilot stores we’re well and truly resolved.
By Dan Eagles
Director at Prospace Australia
Dan has over 20 years experience articulating brands within a physical space. With expertise across design and development, marketing, visual merchandising and retail operations, Dan’s client side experience is a unique and valuable asset to our clients.
Dan is an innovation specialist with an innate understanding of the design process, project management practices and construction. Dan’s focus is ensuring that we deliver unparalleled experiences in every field of design.