The Rose & Loon store celebrates the stories of the makers and their goods. Here, RLI speaks with Lisa Crain, Vice President and General Manager of the Rosedale Center which houses the brand about its impact on the centre and what this new concept brings to the table.

Goods made by hand have a story before you ever carry them home, and the Rose & Loon concept highlights the hands and hear ts of the makers behind the goods on display in store. They lift up the women and men who craft, design, cook, sew, mix and do so much to fill the store with their passion and products.

Rose & Loon believe the “maker movement” is here to stay, and works with its collective brands to give them not just a place to sell their wares but a place to share their stories with pride and purpose. The company has curated a collection that supports its makers through collaborations, resources and partnerships. The concept is dedicated to growing the makers’ brands as they work to build their own businesses.

“JLL wanted to capitalise on the change in the retail world and we were looking for smaller, local brands that were handmade as it was becoming extremely popular with our shoppers,” says Lisa Crain, Vice President and General Manager of the Rosedale Center, which is home to the Rose & Loon concept store. “A lot of these brands were featured in pop-up stores at other retail locations, but we wanted to make it more permanent.”

The Rosedale Center, located in a perfect position between Saint Paul and Minneapolis has recently undergone a $100M renovation which has elevated the shopping and dining experience at the centre, and this presented the perfect opportunity to bring in the high-end, quality product-based Rose & Loon store that can be recognised at a local level with handmade, sought after products.

“Since opening last September, we have found that there really is a demand for these types of products within Rosedale, and I think also within the Twin cities of Minneapolis and Saint Paul,” says Crain. “We are beginning to see other malls repeat this idea for maybe a weekend, so the demand is huge and I think you can see it all over the Midwest.”

Launching ‘a first’ of something is always tricky, and this proved to be the case when opening Rose & Loon, as around 90 individual makers came to the company before launch interested in displaying their products, so it was definitely a case of judging what they thought people would want rather than knowing what they would want.

What has proven unique is that some occupants’ sell-out of things immediately and staff are constantly replenishing certain sections of the store in comparison with others, allowing Rose & Loon employees to understand what customers truly want in store.

The target customer for Rose & Loon is what Crain calls the ‘Emerald City’ segment, a group who are in their late thirties, an average family of two who are affluent. On top of this it has been noticed in store that there are other customer types who are intrigued by the concept, most notably an older generation and millennials.

As a burgeoning concept in today’s retail world, social media has been pivotal in marketing the brand, and they utilise platforms such as Instagram, they have their own website and have major influencers promoting the concept. “We are forever videotaping the products coming in and we conduct major demonstrations inside the store which are simultaneously put online, we are very much involved with social media,” says Crain.

So what does Crain consider to be the key drivers behind Rose & Loon’s initial success? “It’s the makers and the unique products that you can’t find in other locations and having them in one managed, curated space versus a huge vacant space or an exhibition where you go to individual craft stalls. This is all underneath one roof, and it’s managed with a store manager and employees, so everyone is very intimate with all the products,” explains Crain.

The ethos of this new and exciting retail concept is that it is goods made by hand that have a story behind them; this is what will stand the brand apart from its competitors as it moves forward with its plans to spread the Rose & Loon word. “I think we have been very successful in our brick and-mortar store, but now we need to take a look at different ways to bring it outside the store, either through carts and kiosks so that more people can see it as they come through the mall, or going out into the community and doing events, we really want to spread the message of what Rose & Loon is, the stories behind handcrafted materials,” concludes Crain.