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Emily Wiley 5/28/09 Prada Surrounded by Abercrombie and Fitch and Mikimoto, Prada’s heavy stone buildingmakes a statement on 5th Avenue. Its iconic name draw everyone’s attention, some excited by thepossibilities of what is hidden inside, others intimidated by its iconic reputation. Walking intothe boutique, the window displays create a feeling of superiority, with an ad picture as abackdrop to the mouth watering leather bags that are shown in the window. The main floor issurprisingly open with mirrored columns on the wall, and a mirror backdrop to the shelves liningthe walls. The glass cases display bags, wallets, scarves, and gloves with perfume bottles gracingthe tops of the cases. The glass cases mainly consist in the center of the room, using the threetiered effect to draw the consumer’s eye in. Three mannequins greet you at the entrance, eachwearing a simple white top, a wrap skirt that resembles a wind jacket wrapped around its waist,and thick strapped, high heeled sandals. Prada was created by Mario Prada, Muiccia Prada’s grandfather, in early 20th centuryItaly. The first shop was opened in 1913 in the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II and sold leathergoods, bags, luggage, semi precious stones, crystals, ivory, ceramics, tortoise shell objects,jewels, gold, silver, and walking sticks. In 1919 Prada became the official supplier to the ItalianRoyal Family, which allowed them to use the coat of arms and the knotted rope insignia of theHouse of Savoy into their logo. Mario Prada’s luxury ideal is still incorporated into the boutiques today. On the MainFloor of the 5th avenue boutique, the products displayed are mainly bags, perfume, wallets,scarves, gloves, sunglasses, and shoes, all of which are lit up on mirrored shelves and in the glass
Emily Wiley 5/28/09cases. When you first walk in, the shelves on the walls include mainly large leather and casualbags, and the glass cases hold clutches, scarves, gloves, and some bags. Perfume is stored on topof a glass case in the far right corner when you come in, along with cosmetic cases. Pradaluggage serves as a stand to display merchandise as well. The shoes are held in the back behindthe partition of the staircase and elevator. They consist of leather, patent leather, and a variety ofother fabrics as dress and casual shoes, including heels, sandals and flats. The marble staircase leads downstairs to the men’s only floor, where the same mirroredbackdrop and columns light up the room. The rolling rack holds a variety of men’s casual wearcombined with the same mirrored shelves and racks holding suits, cardigans, wind jackets,polo’s, short-sleeved and long-sleeved button-downs, and casual slacks. Wallets, briefcases,messenger bags and cardigans fill the glass cases while one section of the wall is dedicated tosunglasses. Walk behind the marble staircase, and men’s shoes appear. The shoes are mostlydress shoes of a variety of blacks and browns, the same mirrored shelves hold the shoes, slightlytilting them downward to allow the viewer to inspect the details. Back upstairs 2 stories, on the mezzanine floor, there are Prada’s exotic items, includingshoes and bags embellished with semi precious stones or jewels, along with products made out ofsnakeskin. Some products include both embellishments. This floor is smaller, with the samemirrored shelves, shoe displays, and glass cases. Firm, velour couches are provided for acomfortable place to sit while trying different products on.
Emily Wiley 5/28/09 The next floor is dedicated wholly to the women’s department, where racks attached tothe mirrored shelves hold dozens of casual dresses, pants, button-down shirts, skirts, and jackets,as well as suits, formal dresses and cardigans. Velour pink couches sit facing each other on eitherside of the partition that holds the same staircase and glass elevator, along with mannequinsgracing the sides of the partition wearing elegant scarves, skirts, and tops. The effectiveness of the displays draws the viewer in using the three tiered effect. Themirrors lining every wall, shelf, and glass case allow the consumers to see themselves wearingthe product. There are also mannequins on every floor, modeling Prada clothing regardless ofthe main consistency of products on the floor, whether it is clothing or accessories. The boutiqueis overall very open, and the displays make it easy to see each product. The contemporarylighting also adds to the effect by keeping every product well lit while the mirrors reflect theroom and the light, making each room feel bigger and brighter. Coming into the store, the service was very nice. They did not necessarily greet us, but assoon as we had a question they automatically helped us and were willing to go over the top tomake sure we were comfortable. The lower floor was especially helpful in allowing me to take asmany pictures as I needed, and offering to answer all of the questions that I needed to ask. As thefloors got higher, the service slowly got worse. On the mezzanine floor the sales associate wason the phone the entire time we were there and soon left the room without offering any help atall. On the top floor, I pretended to shop for a specific item, and the sales associate wasinterrupted from our conversation and promptly left the room without a word to us, thencontinued her conversation with another sales associate when she came back, completely
Emily Wiley 5/28/09forgetting that I was a customer in need. The sales associate was also suspicious of why I waswriting, which was understandable, but was impolite when it came to asking if pictures wereallowed, and was not fully focused on the customers. However, the bottom two floors had verygood service. Prada’s target customer is very wealthy, since Prada’s price range varies from $98 to apossible $30,000! It starts at the perfume as being the cheapest product up to the snakeskin bagsand the gowns that expand the price range tremendously. My original vision of the store was onecreated from the boutiques in Dallas where they do not welcome all customers if they do not fitthe image of their ideal customer. In New York, the sales associates were much more welcomingto all customers, which helped to change image in my mind. In Dallas, there are not manycustomers in the Prada boutiques, while in New York the store was very popular and there weremany customers actually buying the products, which is also rare back home. The most unusualdepartment was the mezzanine floor with the snakeskin and the semi precious stones, mainlybecause there was an entire floor dedicated to the most expensive items in the boutique. Thestore’s overall display was the most impressive due to the light, airy atmosphere that strikes thecustomer as they walk in, providing a feeling of luxury while keeping it friendly. The salesassociates were very welcoming on the main floor and were eager to help if it was necessary.This boutique was very unique, due to the mirrored walls and the glass cases. Overall, Pradaprovided a very wealthy atmosphere that engulfed the consumer in the best ways possible.