Concept stores reimagine what a store can be, boost brands, delight customers and challenge the online

Concept stores reimagine what a store can be, boost brands, delight customers and challenge the online

Milano Home gives the microphone to Marilena Potere and Victoria Roberts, founders of Tattoo Island - The Family Business and Giorgio Francisco, owner of the historic Gassante store. Two entrepreneurial companies that have been able to respond to market changes by investing in a formula that promotes brands, boosts the offering and involves the consumer

Redefine marketing strategies by focusing on an attractive and pleasing setting where the customer can enjoy a multifunctional shopping experience. The concept store is a space designed to suit the shopper and is all about the welcome, variety and diversity of the merchandise on offer. A formula that raises the quality and visibility of brands and also aims to retain customers through a series of events of different types and nature promoted in-store.      


If the aim is to increase the number of visitors and the length of time they spend in the store in order to increase the likelihood of making a purchase, the range of solutions proposed must be accompanied by a modern business vision aimed at enhancing the role of the customer, involving him and making him a participant in a project that goes far beyond the mere restyling of the display.


This cultural approach is also spreading in Italy, where there is no shortage of enlightened retailers who, with a wealth of experience and ideas accumulated over the years, have picked up the signals by focusing on change.

From lamps to picture frames to leather bags. Tattoo Island - The Family Business offers a multi-sensory experience and honours the home environment


Stepping into Tattoo Island - The Family Business is like stepping into a world where time has stood still and every whim and desire has found its place. Located in the heart of Lodi, in Corso Umberto 32, this concept store offers a unique experience that combines business and creativity, the pursuit of the new and the pampering of the customer.


Imagine having your beard trimmed or getting the latest haircut while sipping a glass of bubbly and listening to the strains of a violin in the background. Buy a designer lamp, a picture frame, fall in love with the style of a retro or modern chair or armchair, a table or one of the many vases that adorn the store. The world of accessories and household items features in every corner of the store. A vision that aims to improve décor, offering advice and suggestions to please anyone who cares about their home. Just as you can be seduced by the charm of a leather handbag, a watch or a designer lamp, why not end the day with a tattoo? At one time, doing all these activities took time, a willingness to travel and careful planning. Today, thanks to Tattoo Island - The Family Business, you can do it all in just one place.


Marilena Potere, together with her son Alessandro Pennella and Victoria Roberts, has created an unusual place. Marilena and Victoria, both with solid careers in fashion - with experience at Iceberg, Frankie Morello, Fiorucci and Max Mara - have brought their experience and know-how to the table, along with Alessandro, an internationally renowned tattoo artist.


An experiment that broke the mould. Tattoo Island - The Family Business is a dynamic and diverse universe where every object has its place. A clear identity that combines the present and the past, also home to the Carteni BMW car dealership, which greets visitors at the entrance with a vintage scooter.


You have to tell the story behind each object, the time and passion that went into making it



Was opening in a small area more of a challenge or an opportunity?


Victoria and Marilena tell us that they have felt a positive energy since the opening on 17 September. "The initial response, which may have been the result of sheer curiosity, was followed by a steady stream of visits that soon became a loyal and consistent clientele. For a store like ours, the problem could be the community's initial mistrust of such an innovative and different concept store.



What makes your store stand out?


"Every corner of the store is designed to surprise and engage. It is a welcoming store, with values such as good taste and the careful selection of each item, with a range of products to suit all price levels," the founders point out. "Today it is crucial that there is an emotional connection, we need to tell the story behind each object, the time and passion that went into its creation.


Tattoo Island - The Family Business is not just a place to shop, it is a focal point for themed events that strengthen the bond with the general public, local and from further afield. "These regular events are becoming increasingly successful. You can admire a range of timepieces while sipping a good glass of wine in an environment full of art and unique objects, after a haircut from our LUXURY BARBER, Bruno Scumace, a master of beards and hair, assisted by GIUMA, who takes care of the customer's image with unparalleled precision and professionalism.


Our aim is to provide a luxurious experience for every client, turning a simple haircut or shave into a moment of pure pleasure.


A place where time stands still. And where every wish is fulfilled



Tattooing, led by internationally renowned tattoo artist Alessandro Pennella, is another feature. Alessandro, who has travelled the world for many years, has selected a team of 10 top tattoo artists, each specialising in a different style of tattoo to suit every need.


"Our team was chosen for its technical excellence and ability to create unique, custom-made pieces," says Alessandro. "Tattooing is an intimate and personal act that reflects the identity of the wearer, and we strive to make each piece a masterpiece."


Tattoo Island - The Family Business is an oasis of excellence, offering a multi-sensory experience that revolutionises the concept of shopping, taking the customer on a journey of beauty, art and socialising.

Gassante, a home store that doubles as a wine merchant


From household products to room fragrances, from lighting to dinnerware. And then there is a wine merchants that Giorgio Francisco has created inside Gassante, a historic store in Rivarolo Canavese, in the province of Turin. Raise a glass of wine amidst the cutlery, lamps, crockery and furnishings.


Shopping and wine tasting coexist in harmony in this corner of Piedmont, where a third-generation store that has always been able to interpret the needs of its customers and anticipate their wishes is now the bearer of a philosophy that revolves around concepts such as home and hospitality, expanding its horizons to include a real wine cellar in the store.



What kind of store is Gassante?


"Well, I would call it a constantly evolving store. Gassante offers ideas for all kinds of home and outdoor needs, it's a concept store, even if I don't like that definition. Today, if a store wants to play a leading role, it must be able to satisfy customer demand, but this alone is no longer enough. The point of sale must be able to capture the widest possible segment of the general public, and the only way to do this is through the quality of the service offered in an environment that is open to new product categories that at first glance may seem completely removed from the usual display habitat.” 


The wine merchants' idea was well received. A good glass of wine symbolises friendship, conviviality and culture



How did the idea of reserving an area of the store for wine come about?


"We had an area reserved for wedding lists, a segment that is an important business channel for all furniture, home and gift stores. That world is now shrinking, the signs of this were evident a few years ago.”



Why did you choose a wine merchants?


“A good glass of wine has always symbolised friendship, conviviality and culture. So, I thought why not create a space dedicated primarily to a passion of mine. Created in collaboration with a few producers, the cellar now holds several thousand bottles. We also organise themed events and are always happy to welcome the most prestigious wineries to showcase their excellence.


Where once the store stood on clearly defined pillars, today the view is wide open


"The customers liked it, the idea was very well received. The wine merchants were not the only variation on the theme, ours was a change in several stages. Where once the store stood on clearly defined pillars, today the view is wide open and encompasses a range of items that in the past would have been difficult, if not impossible, to imagine in a traditional store like ours. I am thinking, for example, of room fragrances and perfumes for men and women.”



Are you afraid of online?


"Online is an insidious pitfall for a physical store, you have to be aware of the expansion of this service which, while offering a number of advantages, can never offer some of the benefits and opportunities that a modern store can.



How do you retain customers?


"Focus, product quality, courtesy and range. I am looking for items that will intrigue, excite and be among the most sought after by the shopper. We cater to a medium-high target group, our customers demand excellence and I must be able to satisfy that. Anyone who enters the store must be certain that they will find what they want, or a new idea that will win them over, the result of shrewd vision and foresight. We operate in a small area, so it is essential that we offer a wide range of high quality products.



What about supplier relationships?


"In recent years, the relationship with companies has changed: today, the store gives them a space to project their image in a beautiful, fragrant and harmonious environment, so that there is a reciprocity of interest and a communion of purpose. In the past, this was not the case, the point of sale was limited to the impositions of the companies."



Have exhibitions retained their central role in the economy of the industry?


"They remain the preferred place to monitor the market and assess new trends. At Milan Home, I noticed an interesting buzz, a sign of vitality and a new interest on the part of companies and operators at a trade fair that combines an exhibition with themed events."