Sunday, October 01, 2023


Kathiawar - Bold, sensuous & feminine

By N Jayalakshmi | May 11, 2022

The latest outlet of Hyderabad based cosmetics and lingerie MBO brand Kathiawar Stores, designed by Bangalore based STUDIO J, is all about elevating the whole aesthetic and sensory experience of the store, while being in line with business objectives. Jenny Andrews, Founder - STUDIO J, shares details of the interesting project.

A visual narrative that evokes intimacy and warmth, while setting the tone for a bold and stylish individualistic statement - that’s the new Kathiawar store for you, designed by STUDIO J.

Hyderabad based cosmetics and lingerie MBO brand Kathiawar Stores, which is over 90 years old and is a well known name in Charminar city,  has a loyal clientele and a wide and unique range of product lines, catering to  both individuals and businesses. When the retail brand went in for a new store at Gachiboli in Hyderabad, the idea was very clear - to make a bold presence that cuts through a cluttered space dominated by big brand names, while retaining its distinct identity.

Bangalore based retail design firm STUDIO J, which designed the new 6000 sq feet store, created a visual strategy that was thought through end to end, taking into account all the client requirements. 

Speaking about it, Jenny Andrews, Founder - STUDIO J, says, “The new Kathiawar store is a sumptuous visual treat; and as a design project it was a creatively fulfilling journey. It was particularly satisfying because here was a client who gave us complete creative freedom and also shared some invaluable business insights, which were well integrated into the design strategy. So whether it was to do with the store’s clientele, the merchandise or the sales strategies, the inputs were all taken into account while planning all aspects of the store design - layout, zoning, colour schemes, VM, fixture design, etc.  The end objective of the whole design exercise was very clear from the word go - to elevate the visual identity and customer experience of the store.”

Jenny and her team thus went at it with a focused approach, blending business objectives with aesthetics and creating a space that offers a rich sensory experience to the customer.

One of the key aspects that the team considered while mapping the design strategy for the store was the location itself.  Speaking about the location and the potential customers, Jenny explains, “Being located in the Special Economy Zone which includes the IT hub, the store came with some distinct advantages in terms of the potential customer base. Our job was to create a store identity that was bold enough to attract walk-ins.”

Thus beginning with the facade, the space wore elements that were bold enough to draw attention and subtle and feminine enough to be sensuous and appealing. The colour palette chosen was a combination of gold and  black, with cherry red added to complement it.

The store layout and zoning also followed a  carefully thought out strategy. As Jenny explains, “Having the cosmetics section on the ground floor was a deliberate strategy to add the right amount of allure and glamour. This also meant creating a floating  effect, that enhanced the visual edge. With multiple brands occupying the space, it was also important to have an organized system for brand visibility and  placement. Clear guidelines were set down for brand partners with well defined space allocation.”

One of the highlights of the store is the visual communication in the form of graphics on the wall along the stair case. Quirky and informative, these convey a distinct personality and resonate with the modern woman’s sensibilities.

In the lingerie section on the first floor, one of the key challenges was the presence of all major lingerie brands clubbed together. This was again addressed through proper planning and space allocation.

A dash of pink creates a charmingly dramatic effect here, with a subtle build-up to it that starts in the staircase. Patterns of black and white on the floor further break the monotony of the greys. The trial room is another experiential highlight, evoking a warm and homely feel.  As Jenny explains, the idea was to create a personalised space with the right sensuous feel .

The VM, another hard-to-miss feature in the store, is an extension of the design approach that combines bold presence with intricate craftsmanship. It includes hand crafted, larger than life installations, which are not only artistic, but also very clearly sales driven, designed for staff picks, recommendations and highlight of new arrivals and trending designs.

Speaking about the lighting in the store, Jenny says, “Plus Lights did a fabulous job. The linear lights stand out on the facade and offer very good visibility.”

Overall, the store is a smooth amalgamation of  various elements, all converging to create a distinct experience. 

The crucial testimony regarding the store design  of course comes from the client himself. As Devang Doshi of Kathiawar Stores, says,  “Kathiawar is an established name in Hyderabad with a strong presence. When we opened a new store in the IT hub of the city,  it was very important for us to reiterate the brand standing while adding a contemporary touch in terms of the look and feel. So the focus was on making the store well designed, organized and clutter free, especially because we have a wide variety of products and brands. Essentially, we wanted to make sure the store met international standards and I must say STUDIO J did full justice to the expectations. It was a very pleasant experience working with the design team. Particularly impressive was the turnaround time. Despite the post Covid challenges, the team took only two months to complete the store project, which is very rare.”

Further talking about the response to the store design, he adds, “The response has been very good, both in terms of business and in terms of appreciation of the store design, look and feel. Our old customers are also pleasantly surprised by the new store.”



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