Too old for Topshop, too young for Jaeger: That was the lament of Liz Houghton, Lisa Agar-Rea and Jane Rawlings, the trio of thirtysomething Brits who launched Mint Velvet.
“There was a gap in the market,” says Houghton, managing director. “As customers ourselves, there was nothing that reflected our lifestyles and attitudes in quality fabrications at affordable prices.”
They also found a void in shopping environments that spoke to their desire for something relaxed, yet glamorous. “When we looked at stores on high street we realized that everything for women of that age either lacked personality or were too conventional,” says Jill Higgins, associate director, Kinnersley Kent Design (London), which designed the store. “So we wanted to make something really relaxed and even domestic.”
Debuting last year in Chichester and Windsor, two of England’s affluent retail markets, Mint Velvet’s freestanding stores balance modern fixtures and the brand’s signature colors of gray and mint green with vintage display cabinets and refined woods. The fitting rooms house a mix of furniture, velvet curtains and individually selected brass hooks.
The brand’s mint-colored, cursive “MV” logo is inscribed on tables, signage and cash desks. Signature lighting and handwritten messages add a personal touch. Fashion quotes are displayed as vinyls on walls near picture frames containing seasonal fashion photography.
“The Mint Velvet brand is about inner confidence,” Higgins says. “It’s about knowing how to put things together to achieve a look that is cool and understated yet still glamorous.”