Kingsley Heath is a modern day supply store that captures the spirit of adventure and the joy of growing up in Africa. This is a brand that has made my eyes open wide as to how we, as Africans, can handle African style retailing successfully. They are proud to state, and rightly so, that the majority of their merchandise is produced here in South Africa and I am proud to wear merchandise that is so very real and relevant to me, as a South African.
I have been a fan of the Kingsley Heath concept for a while now and in great anticipation, camera in hand, I attend the opening of Kingsley Heath, Canal Walk on Thursday, 20th May 2010. I have to mention that no camera will ever be able to do this store any justice. You have to smell this store. Scent is the strongest trigger of memory and I remember that smell and the memories the store evoked fondly. It is raw, like earth, leather … something more, summer rain..no..it smells like the bush at sunset? I could go on forever about the smell of this store continuously trying to capture just what fond memory my nose scented … ? “What is it” ?
This is a complete sensory store, all the senses are catered for. Visually, everything you see has been touched by a designers eye and hand. The concrete floor, the shell-chandelier lighting, the wall bays in dark textured wood and the leather cladding inside the magnificent high-door changing rooms. The personal visual details of trophies with African succulents, the frames with the most seductively desirable images, the camp bed holding the merchandise. The merchandise….oh…that beautiful leather jacket my friend Taryn swiped her credit card for *sigh* (I stroke it lovingly every time I see her in that gorgeous jacket). There is also a male and female fragrance, beautifully packaged. The box unfolds like a flower and…..smells like….mmmm
The music at the launch is energetic, colourful and mixed.. The vibe is alive and the staff are bright-eyed and helpful. A store launch done right!
The mood and feeling that I experience in-store is steeped in the African heritage of Kingsley-Heath the great African adventurer, Nguni cattle, a hardy, colourfull Southern African breed, African basketry and so many other beautiful indigenous elements. If I had to predict the future of this brand I say that it will grow fast and stores will start to open up all over the world; doing especially well in UK, Europe and America. It has a strong sense of universal appeal, we all long for that African adventure. The African safari. We all want to escape the urban concrete jungle and feel the baking raw red sand under our feet and hear the cry of the wild. This store evokes the spirit of Africa! viva Afrik du Sud! viva Kingsley Heath!