Crabtree & Evelyn

Prototype store, Natick MA

Crabtree & Evelyn, started in the early 1970s in Harvard Square, had grown to over 200 stores. Although it was a unique retail concept at its inception, by the time the Natick store was scheduled to open, there were six similar concepts in the mall, and Crabtree & Evelyn’s image had become tired. Working with Toth Brand Imaging, we embarked on a project to revamp the stores, using the Natick store as a prototype. The gist of the exploration was to excavate the heritage of the brand and embed it in a new, modern form, paying close attention to current lifestyle trends.

The primary historical influence on the Crabtree product line was the self sufficient household, characterized by the still room and the domestic garden. The19th century apothecary—best characterized by Floris, Trumpers, and Penhaligon—was the primary historical influence on the store interior.

Based on that model, the store interiors were simplified. The envelope was neutralized to emphasize product. The visual scale, created by so many different products of similar size, tended to make the first impression of the stores overwhelming. To address this challenge we merchandised the store by room type. This also helped organize the products. Shadow boxes filled with “scenes” from home acted as signage, a quick visual cue to what was merchandised in that area of the store.