Riordon Design recently had the pleasure of branding a retail venture in the greater Toronto area – Zahara's Boutique.


A few years ago our firm worked with owners Hugo and Tracy Powell on the branding of their personal residence, Chelster Hall, a remarkable estate property on Lake Ontario. More recently, the entrepreneurial couple saw a unique opportunity in the retail sector to open a fashion boutique for noted designs such as Bryn Walker of California and the jewelry collections of SNÖ. Fresh, comfortable, affordable, sophisticated – these were the anchor words from which the brand was developed.


The owners had the vision to create an inspirational retail experience for women to look and feel good about themselves. The outcome is top drawer. The store has a very warm, inviting appeal, exemplifying the brand mantra, "Natural Sophistication". Designed into the architectural plan of the store – and intending to be the last thing a customer sees upon exiting – is the prominent message, "Know that you are beautiful".


Riordon Design was engaged in the process from the early planning stages of the project, working closely with the client and their retail contractor/designer to provide brand support throughout the process.


As is our usual practice, a creative brief was established to guide the direction for logo development, the tagline and primary messaging for advertising and promotion. Outcomes from this initial work informed application of signage, marketing collateral, website design and programming, business cards, gift cards, product tags, retail bags and other in-store branding.


Location, location, location – this very strategic venture offers the convenience of free parking and proximity between WholeFoods and Starbucks – great exposure and a unique retail experience for the intended demographic. The initial success of the store has been quite impressive, especially given the start up took on the usual sluggish summer season. In fact, they are currently beating anticipated daily sales by four times the targeted goals.


THE INSIDE STORY: Having the privilege of being invited into the process by the Powells early in the development of this new retail venture, revealed their business smarts for recognizing the importance of developing a strong brand at the very foundation of a startup. The brand defined the personality of the vision and its expression from the store environment design, to every touch point of the promised experience.