The tabletop dance was to demonstrate that Timothy Oulton’s high-end furniture was made to be used, Leach explained. She says in formal settings, nobody would dream of lying back on the couch and putting their feet on the coffee table, but at home many people do just that.
Timothy Oulton is sold in New Zealand through designer furniture retailer Dawson & Co, which has just opened its second showroom in Parnell.
Owner Angus Dawson says when he first applied to stock Timothy Oulton products, the label sent its marketing manager to inspect his North Shore store. They then felt the location wasn’t up to scratch, but relented after Dawson kept pushing.
The range is displayed in a separate area at the rear of Dawson & Co’s Parnell store. Customers step through Union Jack drapes into a very different environment to its pared-back concept showroom – the Timothy Oulton space is decked out with opulent chandeliers and two towering stacks of secondhand books.
A genuine decomissioned mine-seeking yellow submarine is hung in one corner of the space. It’s one of seven, says Leach, who says its twin in Amsterdam is displayed in a tank full of fish. When a nearby button is pressed, it plays Yellow Submarine by the Beatles.
Experiential retailing is a big part of Timothy Oulton’s brand identity. The label maintains a mixture of partner stores like Dawson & Co and owned retail stores, and every outlet is scented with a heritage perfume called Santa Maria Novella. Retailers may be interested to read more about the perfume’s flagship store in Florence here.
Each Timothy Oulton store also offers customers a choice between coffee in a mismatched antique cup and saucer, or a glass of Veuve Clicquot champage.
“Everything customers see, touch and smell, we want the whole experience to be instantly recognisable as Timothy Oulton,” Leach says.
She says the brand has found that the concept of ‘hospitality’ helps it connect with customers. It will host a degustation dinner at the Dawson & Co store tomorrow, and regularly flies key customers and staff to its premises in China for elaborate dinner parties.
The goal is to make Timothy Oulton a major global luxury brand which is as recognisable as Louis Vuitton, Chanel and Cartier. Leach has complete confidence in Timothy Oulton’s ability to achieve this: “If he said tomorrow, ‘I’m going to fly to Mars in a Spitfire rocket and open a shop’, we’d all go ‘Great!’ because the creativity is neverending.”