Inspired by Joules

That’s it. I am now swearing allegiance to Joules. Mr H and I nipped in to their Harrogate shop on Saturday for a quick mooch and left utterly smitten, inspired and a few pounds lighter (cash sadly, not weight). I’ve long since admired Mr Boden’s approach to marketing and I love his brand and his clothes. But I’m afraid Joules have recently stolen my heart with their quirky details and engaging branding.

Isn’t their bag just delicious? And look at the detail! I bought a beautiful coral coloured dress (£35 – bargain!) which came with its own postcard label inside the dress and postcard label. For no reason other than the fact it made me feel good and more in love with the Joules brand.

It was the same story with the tailored shorts I bought. A chip fork inside the shorts with another cardboard one on the label. It’s quirks like that which make my heart sing and want to buy even more. They help me engage with the brand and make me feel good about buying. And surely that’s what any good retailer should be doing?

I didn’t look at the quality of finish (although I’d have noticed if it had been poor), the washing instructions (honestly – are you surprised?) or the price quite honestly. I loved how they looked, how they felt and how the store as a whole made me feel. I wonder how many small business retail brands put that much thought and effort into that when they’re creating a brand?

The store was equally welcoming, quirky and heart-singingly gorgeous. In fact Mr H, who rarely comments on these things and usually can’t wait to leave a shop, was noticing the colour of the stairs (black paint with white ballustrades), the lampshades (looked to be handmade in a range of vintage fabrics) and the posters framed like art on the walls.

This attention to detail and focus on drawing the shopper in doesn’t stop at the retail store. Joules have made such an effort to integrate the brand experience across all channels – print, web, social media as well as the store. This doesn’t always happen.

Isn’t that “must have” logo great? And I love the “holiday essentials” icon that’s scattered throughout the catalogue too. It’s things like that which slow down the pace at which I flick through a catalogue.

This attention to detail, creativity and stunning design won’t have just happened. And it won’t have been cheap. So it might leave small retailers wondering how they can ever compete. I think what’s key is that you keep your eyes and your mind open. When I’m inspired I think as much about why something inspires me, what makes it work as much as how I feel about it.

So how about you? Great design, powerful branding won’t appeal to everyone. Does the Joules brand “speak” to you like it speaks to me? Does it make your heart sing and your spirits lift? Or does it have you running for the hills?

Photography: Fiona Humberstone for Flourish

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