Living Design

A statement store, Nickel & Suede’s flagship opens

Setting the pace for Nickel & Suede’s retail presence, the new flagship store is a space that feels special yet accessible. The store opened this past weekend, and was a significant collaboration with our fabrication team, with nearly every element taking shape in the Hufft shop.

The goal of the store, which is directly connected to Nickel & Suede’s new headquarters, was to design a retail experience that feels parallel to the brand, according to co-founders Kilee and Soren Nickels. “We wanted this space to highlight the jewelry, be unique, and emphasize our imagery and values with upscaled taste,” said Kilee. “A space that is simple yet elevating – just like our earrings.”

The store is parceled into “mini” zones between the retail floor, dressing room, lounge and checkout, but the openness keeps visibility a priority, even with a vast amount of product. “Functionally, we wanted to help customers navigate their preferences among a wide variety of choices,” Soren said.

Nickel & Suede has always celebrated color, texture and unique shapes through their product lines, directly represented in the flagship store. The wood tones are welcoming and natural, and an homage to the brand’s original wood earring card. A floor-to-ceiling velvet curtain separates the sales floor from back-of-house, and grounds the neutral materials with a backdrop of color. A suspended slat installation, fabricated by our shop, defines the sales floor, breaking up the industrial black ceiling. The retail zone is further defined by a long display counter and checkout, both topped with a unique and feminine pink marble sourced from Italy.

“The pink marble is definitely a showstopper,” Kilee said. “It has life to it.”

Merchandise displays and special design features are some of the thoughtfully-designed components of the store. Our shop worked closely with Nickel & Suede to think through displaying and storing product in a way that maintains the refined retail experience, but still functions well for the store team.

“The Nickel & Suede team likes to be directly involved in the fabrication process, and it’s fun to share the actual work it takes to make things with people who also make things – jewelry in this case,” said Hufft shop manager Scott Beattie. “Having one-on-one time with the clients directly in our workshop as the project is taking shape makes the end product that much more special.”

Peg board wall displays can be easily adapted for new product displays. Upright jewelry stands showcase the earrings in a clean way and make each pair feel special. Large circular mirrors float on top of the rolling casework units, and custom wooden trays take place of a traditional shopping basket.

It was important the store also incorporate subtle brand moments. The Nickel & Suede logo takes shapes in multiple places, including the custom breeze blocks, a “point of interest for customers,” said Soren. “I love how we were able to integrate our trademark logo without actually putting our name on a big sign.”

The refined brand details continue in the brass elements found throughout varying pieces, including the Nickel & Suede logo mark on the corner of peg board displays. An understated but important element, the brass applications represent the dainty earring hooks. “I learned to never underestimate the actual physical labor it takes to polish a bunch of small brass parts by hand,” Scott joked.

There’s no question Nickel & Suede’s flagship store is an appropriate reflection of the brand. It also lays the groundwork for the retail presence to grow. “Our first store was a little experiment – it was what we could throw together in three weeks,” Kilee shared. “We planned this new store to be repeatable.”

Soren echoed that same sentiment. “So much design went into all the store elements that we can repeat any layout.”

Since their beginning in a basement five years ago, Nickel & Suede’s unique product line and approachable perspective to style has been a major force in the brand’s growth. We can’t wait to see what’s next and are honored to be along for the ride.

View more photos here.