Baby Steps

Millennials are parents now? You betcha. And U.K. childrens’s brand Mamas & Papas is tapping in, aiming to capture these young parents’ love of practical and chic with the launch of its One Four Four boutique in London.

By Erin M. Loewe


Even before their children are old enough for their first pair of baby UGGS, Millennials are more concerned than ever about the image their children present to the world. In 2015, U.S. retailers raked in more than $29.7 billion from sales of children’s apparel, according to Euromonitor Intl. The same market research firm also shows the United Kingdom keeping pace, with the retail value of baby care products projected to rise from $7.28 billion in 2014 to $7.67 billion by 2017.

To that end, London-based baby and children’s brand Mamas & Papas recently unveiled a new boutique concept called One Four Four. Opened in July 2016, the 1,830-sq.-ft. shop is nestled on 144 Northcote Rd. in a retail area dubbed London’s “nappy valley” for its proximity to upwardly mobile young families. Mamas & Papas wanted to branch out to affluent Millennial families and offer a streamlined experience where parents could build relationships with the brand and other parents at the same time.

Mamas & Papas partnered with London-based design firm Dalziel & Pow for the boutique concept after completing an earlier flagship concept in London’s White City Shopping Center, which opened last March.

Jo Randall, graphic design project leader at Dalziel & Pow, says Mamas & Papas has done well curating products for One Four Four. “As a company, they have come a long way from product design,” she explains. “With clothing, they are trying to appeal to the more upscale demographic. The home range is quite neutral and contemporary, and it’s meant to complement things you already have. The whole store feels quite different.”

Besides a more streamlined offering of furniture, clothing and accessories, One Four Four focuses on wellness and community by offering free fitness classes and nutrition talks in its furnished basement, a flexible hangout space. There is also an area for personal shopping.

“The basement was designed so employees could move the prams out of the way and open it into a yoga space,” says Lottie Riviera, interior designer at Dalziel & Pow. “We also put dimmable lights in the basement and curtains on the walls to soften it.”

The exterior of the store itself is painted a soft yellow and features a polka-dot awning to stand out from the other colorful shops on Northcote Road. “It’s a beacon in a way,” Randall says. “We pushed [the brand’s] comfort levels beyond what they thought would work. Now, we can see how it looks and how we might incorporate it in future schemes.”

Inside, reclaimed wood floors and whitewashed brick walls serve as a neutral backdrop for fixtures painted in pale pinks, blues, yellows and greens. Track lighting and vintage pendants help the store feel current. Winding through to the back, there is an area with body care products and a digitally equipped table to make ordering items outside of the edited collection a breeze.

To further streamline the shopping experience, One Four Four is organized into “worlds,” like Baby Fashion and Baby Home. Riviera adds that there also is a bespoke cart featuring Cowshed and Neal’s Yard Remedies skincare products for expectant mothers and babies. “Mamas & Papas wanted to collaborate with other brands and launch some new higher-end products for its customers,” she notes.

Because of the limited in-store selection, there is only space for one nursery setup. Dalziel & Pow offered a clever solution by displaying miniatures to showcase additional nursery items.

In the back, a painted tree mural commissioned from British artist Hannah Rampley flanks the cashwrap, while a vintage directional arrow ensures customers won’t miss the studio area downstairs.

Randall says the design team pared down the signage to fit with the smaller store footprint. “In bigger stores, we communicate about the product a lot more,” she says. “We took a step back and made sure it was more simple. For example, we had bespoke embroidered fabric banners made to hang near the cots and other areas to better fit with the boutique feel.”

Zoe Woolls, head of design for Mamas & Papas, says it’s too early to plan on expanding the One Four Four concept, as it’s still in its infancy. But that doesn’t mean the company is not thrilled with its first boutique. “One Four Four is fantastic,” she says. “The customers are really loving it so far. We have so much to give in a smaller space.”

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project file

One Four Four
London


RETAILER
Mamas & Papas

CONTRACT DESIGN FIRM
Dalziel & Pow

GENERAL CONTRACTOR
Ground Construction Ltd.

STORE FIXTURES
AMS Intl., Woodstoneuk

LIGHTING
Ansorg GmbH

FLOORING
Ground Construction Ltd.

SIGNAGE/GRAPHICS
Sapphire Signs, Leach

FURNITURE
& Tradition (personal shopping)

FABRIC
Kvadrat

PAINT
Farrow & Ball

TECHNOLOGY
ScentAir


Information in the project file is provided by the retailer and/or design firm.

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