Since he started at Joseph Cheaney in 2009, managing director William Church has been on a mission to open one store a year. Its seventh opened last month on Henrietta Street in Covent Garden.
When did the shop open and how is it doing?
It opened on 17 February. And in that time you really find out who your customers are. You build up a picture of who is shopping at the store and you get to see the pattern of trade, which builds as time goes on. There have been mostly tourists, people coming in and out of Covent Garden. Footfall was good over the first weekend.
What makes this shop different from the other London locations?
We’re calling it a statement store. Because we make what we sell, we want to show that in our shopfit. That’s why we have a lot of references to the factory and manufacturing in there, including tooling patterns, the shoe display, the leather backings. We’re based in a red-brick Victorian shoe factory in Northhamptonshire and we do the whole thing from start to finish there. Our shops are like the story of Cheaney unravelling. We also offer a hand-polished mirror shine to customers, for which we don’t charge. The polishing bench at the front of the store offers a little bit of theatre and colour too.
Why did you decide to have Checkland Kindleysides design the store? What challenges did they face, if any?
We used them to design our Jermyn Street store. The challenge for us there was to profile our brands a little differently from the other brands on the street. The brief for CK on Jermyn Street was to get our manufacturing background into the shop in a contemporary way, and we were clear that we wanted the same statement. We won designs on Jermyn Street, and so it was natural to go back to Checkland Kindleysides. We would hope we can win some awards with this one, too.
What is your favourite part of this store?
I would have to say the peg-board base sitting on a drawing board to display shoes. I like the shapes of the tools cut out with the leather underlay because it’s quite different and I haven’t seen it anywhere else. Before you make a shoe, making the tool is an art in itself. I think that’s nice messaging. In the dark blue area at the back, with contemporary furniture, there is a replica of an oil painting of Joseph Cheaney from 1886. He’s there keeping an eye on things. The painting connects to the founder and the firm’s long history within a modern retail environment.
15 cheaney henrietta st overiew from the inky blue “lounge” to the front of the store
Where will you open next?
We have nothing in the pipeline. I think you have to wait for the right location to come about. You have to be patient.
Address: 26 Henrietta Street, London WC2E 8NA