Sep 26, 2019 | By Jane Boddy
Mar 28, 2018
By Sandy Chu
WGSN recently caught up with Thailand’s leading mall operator The Mall Group to learn more about their storytelling concept store, Another Story (AS). We spoke with their Retail Development Director Maryse Kraatz who shared her insights on how the retail initiative came to be and how their ideation happens.
What inspired The Mall Group as a mall developer to create a concept store?
AS (Another Story) was born from an encounter between myself and one of the owners of The Mall Group, Chairwoman Khun Supalack Umphuj. Originally from France, I’ve been living in Asia for the past 20 years and am currently the curator of AS.
The Mall Group is a well-known landlord and department store retailer, but it had yet to bring another type of retail – a highly curated lifestyle concept store to the market that could bridge the gap between young emerging Thai designers and international ones, where all categories could be mixed. The only set limit was price affordability.
The aim was to serve both the new generation of Thai customers and the global travellers. By bringing a new experience, we want to drive higher retail engagement by being a storyteller. Another Story flagship has since created smaller narrative pop-ups by focusing on one brand or one category, such as “Another Kids Story”, “Another Resort Story” or “Another Men Story”.
AS is now an experimental store that can also act as a small laboratory for The Mall Group.
In 2018 where will you draw inspiration for your rotating concepts?
The beauty of Another Story is its small size and therefore its flexibility. We do not plan ahead much, and I have the freedom to create any theme, pop-up or experience as well as collaborations with brands.
For 2018 there will be a mix of Asian designers, including Thai ones, of course, and European designers. We will continue to experimentally create stories exploring different categories, such as fashion, gadgets, wine, bread, stationary, lifestyle, tableware and the medium of photography.
As a storytelling brand we will also utilise workshops to showcase craftsmanship and engage customers.
What kind of brands do you think are interesting for Thailand in 2018?
All kinds of brands that celebrate craftsmanship and ateliers are already popular. Now, affordable luxury brands are gaining traction in the country. Previously, only high-end, luxury brands and local, cheap brands were available.
Scandinavian design is also very popular here. Thai customers have the capacity to comprehend and mix many different styles, such as minimalist Japanese, sleek Scandinavian, trendy French, and make it their own.
Who is the Bangkok shopper?
A shopper who would love to take shopping to another level. Bangkok is the place where shopping take place from dusk till dawn! From street shopping to high-end luxury, the price range offers everything you can dream of.
What are the best times of the year to visit the shop?
For our store, we change our themes and central displays every month and a half, meaning we have new arrivals all the time. Some products are only available when specific themes are run, and this encourages shoppers to visit regularly throughout the year.
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