A team of Teavana and Starbucks partners (employees) have created a special experience for tea connoisseurs in two Seattle-area locations.
“We selected one of our Teavana stores and completely transformed the customers experience,” said Dan Karches, director, Marketing and Category for Teavana. “A tight partnership between tea, design and merchandise partners was the only way we were able to develop this unique concept that makes meaningful changes to how customers will experience our Teavana brand.”
Color-corrected LED lights create a spotlight on 75 varieties of tea in vibrant pink, yellow and traditional grey tones at the store, which reopened on November 10 in Westfield Southcenter in Tukwila. A second location with a similar design opened November 16 at Bellevue Square, a high-end shopping center in Bellevue.
Crossing the Threshold
Anthony Perez, director, Americas Concepts and Pacific Northwest Store Design for Starbucks and Teavana, and a team of designers altered the store layout and put tea front and center.
“We know that it takes about three seconds for a customer to decide to come into the store or not,” said Perez. “Our goal was for the intention of the store to be immediately and clearly understood, that this is a vibrant and exciting new store absolutely all about tea.”
Teavana partners are on hand to answer questions or provide assistance to customers with tea blending, sampling and merchandise demonstrations.
“We wanted to turn the original store experience inside out, so it’s more invitational,” said Perez. “You can experience the store through a self-guided tour or learn about tea alongside one of our tea experts.”
Interacting with Tea
The Southcenter store features a matcha green tea wall, a hot tea demonstration section and a self-serve wet bar with six flavors of signature fresh-brewed iced tea. Customers can order iced tea by the glass or fill a glass growler to enjoy at home. In addition, pure teas as well as epicurean tea blends are available in loose leaf and pre-packed sachets.
A 23-foot-long concrete table known as the “make table” runs nearly the length of the Teavana location. It’s the store’s centerpiece where people can come together to taste and blend tea.
“We’ve created an experience that is like going behind the bar with your favorite bartender or spending time in a restaurant kitchen with your favorite chef,” said Jason Adams, Teavana category manager. “This community table provides an interactive space where you can gain a greater understanding of tea and customize a signature blend.”
The Southcenter and Bellevue locations will be the only Teavana stores to offer 14 microlot or small-batch teas.
“These teas are the best of the best, hand plucked from backyard gardens and small farms,” said Adams. “We are excited to offer them exclusively at these two newly designed stores.”
Ben Nelson, Starbucks director, Creative and Merchandise Design, ensured the look and feel of the merchandise appropriately complemented the store’s contemporary design. At Southcenter and Bellevue, one will find tea pots, tins, cups and other merchandise not available at any other Teavana store.
“I thought about our existing customers as well as those who are new to tea when I assembled our collection,” said Nelson.
Moving away from bundled gift packs allows for customization and personalized gift options.
“We pushed for a mix of high-design, fashion and fun,” he said. “We tried to straddle that mix of what a museum art design store might carry, while also staying fun and youthful with colors and patterns.”