Get in here, beautiful! Our brand new store design brings the feel of an indoor market to your mall. With personalization on our extra-special printers and more DIY fun, our new stores are Aerie like you’ve never seen it before. Crabtree Valley Mall in Raleigh, NC is home to the first all-new Aerie, and there are more new designs coming soon! We talked to the brains behind our amazing new store design—Senior Director of Aerie Visual Lauren Cabral and Senior Director of New Store Design and Fixtures Michael Smith—to get the story behind our new design and her ideas for future Aerie homes. Read on for more!
Yes, our new stores come with an Insta-ready wall!
How would you describe Aerie’s new market store design?
Our overall concept is based off of an indoor market…it’s BRIGHT, comfortable, open and welcoming.
All stores are designed to showcase product and should at the very least provide a pleasant and convenient shopping experience. However, in my opinion, the best stores designs are an embodiment of the brand, reflecting the aesthetic and attitude of the product while engaging the customer at an emotional level. We want our Aerie girl to feel at home in the store. It should be her oasis at the mall – a place to hangout, relax and shop with friends. After all, the space was designed for her.
What is your favorite part about our new stores?
I need to pick the top 3— it’s too hard to pick just one.
- The storefront! Our experience bar in the window brings a fresh & fun approach to the leaseline that we hope our customers will LOVE!
- The fitting rooms! They are designed to feel like a really cool mid-century modern apartment. It’s very cozy in there. ☺
- DIY and personalization! We’re excited to bring seasonal concepts to life in a new way through custom printing on the Anajet printer and our DIY market table.
If I have to pick one, I think it’s the fitting room area. I hope that we have provided a place that, while still integrated into the sales area, feels like a sanctuary. We combined the architecture with visuals to create a more relaxed space where our customer can interact with her friends and the sales associates. It’s a space where she is encouraged to try new things.
What do you hope to bring to Aerie stores in the future?
Creating new, exciting DIY opportunities and events are at the top of the list! Oh, and can’t WAIT to ADD more Aerie stores!!
I’ll wait for our Aerie Girl to tell me. The nicest thing I heard about the new design was from a sales associate in our Crabtree store. She overheard a customer say that she wanted her first place to look just like the store.
What advice would you give to someone who is interested in visual design?
: Good design is all about problem solving; it needs to be beautiful and functional. Attention to detail is super important too—working through a project to understanding symmetry, color and contrast are all key—but must be carefully curated to avoid clutter and overload. Lastly, be prepared to be wrong; you never know till you try!
: Inspiration is everywhere; never stop looking, never stop learning, and don’t be afraid to ask questions. If you see something you like, make a note or take a picture. You don’t know where the next great idea is going to come from – and you never know when something that you saw 10 years ago is going to inspire the perfect fixture.
Also, it’s not just about going to a good design school. Sometimes it’s about real work experience and learning from the people you meet along the way. I spent 5 years in design school but never felt like a real designer until my first season as a Christmas extra in a large department store. I was surrounded by incredibly talented people who had limited budgets and a deadline. Best experience ever….