The Creative Shop Keeper, Lucy Johnston

Words by Sonia Sly

"Faced with the most complex of market places, the modern shopkeeper must demonstrate creative ingenuity and the bold imaginative use of modern budgets." - Lucy Johnston, author.

The world of retail is vastly different to what it was ten years ago and the growth of E-commerce shows no sign of slowing down. E-Commerce worldwide stats for 2017 reported 1.66 billion people purchased online goods with e-retail revenues projected to reach 4.48 trillion US dollars by 2021.

Yes, consumer habits have shifted - online shopping is convenient in a time-poor environment and shop keepers in brick and mortar retail have to think more critically and creatively about how to generate foot traffic and keep customers coming back for more.

 The Creative Shopkeeper features 60 independent retail spaces from around the world. Image supplied.

The Creative Shopkeeper features 60 independent retail spaces from around the world. Image supplied.

So if you're thinking about launching a brand or business, or you currently own a retail space then you know it requires originality and a strong concept to get people through your doors. And if you haven't thought about how you're going to do that you should get your hands on a copy of The Creative Shop Keeper by Lucy Johnston.

The Creative Shop Keeper is timely, and addresses the changing consumer landscape, examining unique retail stores around the world from London to Germany, Japan to New York, the Netherlands to Australia. Comprising of 60 independent retail concepts, it also includes Wellington boutique The Service Depot - the only New Zealand store to be featured in the book.

With its matte pages, typewriter font and array of beautiful imagery, The Creative Shop Keeper is not only a perfect coffee table read, but it is also informative and takes the reader through an array of stunning environments spanning object to art, hospitality to fashion and more.

 Full of colour - inside the pages of The Creative Shopkeeper. Image supplied.

Full of colour - inside the pages of The Creative Shopkeeper. Image supplied.

Johnston breaks the series of photographs and store profiles into chapters investigating the psychology of shopping and the exchange between shopkeeper and consumer. She examines the importance of choice, surprise and discovery; the desire to engage with the ‘maker’ in an environment of abundance; setting the scene with a sense of story and journey through a retail space, and an emphasis on a desire for meaningful purchases that derive more fully through a customer’s engagement with the history or story behind a product - triggering an emotional response that elevates the experience.

The retail stores featured in the book have been selected for their ability to present their products with a unique vision that invites customers into an immersive experience, whether it be a pop-up flower stall in Tokyo, to clothing boutiques that present their wares like an art gallery installation, or, in the case of Peddlar’s Creamery in L.A - customers and staff pedal a stationary bike that powers the churn of the ice cream mixer - part of the store’s vision to incorporate sustainability and leave a smaller footprint on the environment.

Beautifully presented, The Creative Shop Keeper is as much for retailers as for those who love art, culture and design and will engage your imagination, making you think about the last purchase you made and why you continue to return to your favourite stores and cafes.

The Creative Shop Keeper is published by Thames and Hudson and retails for US$38 and is available on Amazon.