3 x Brands bringing the factory to the front-line of retail

Consumers are looking for different things when it comes to retail: some want a perfect Instagram moment; others a product education; or maybe a unique experience; and then there are those who just want a great drink. What unifies them all is a desire to connect with a brand.  

In the past, brands would sell their goods through a factory shop – a surefire way to show consumers what they’re all about. But as brands grow, this connection inevitably gets lost. We look at three brands embracing the spirit of the factory shop and bringing it to the front-line of their retail experience.

1. Starbucks - Reserve Roastery  

Starbucks famously started with a small coffee shop in Pike Place Market in Seattle. Now a multinational corporation, communicating what they are about at the heart can be a challenge - especially with the unwavering assault of small indie coffee shops in our towns and cities.  

So instead, through their Reserve Roastery concept, Starbucks are communicating that they can still craft an exceptional coffee, but on a massive scale – as demonstrated by their most recent opening in Shanghai.

The 30,000 sq. ft. Roastery allows you to track your morning espresso from cup back to plantation, all under one roof; feeding their consumer’s insatiable desire for an experience, as well as giving them a glimpse behind the scenes of their favourite coffee brand.

Starbucks are planning to open another six Reserve concepts, bringing the factory shop style Roastery to every major global market.

2. Shinola – Factory Through Design  

We love the story of Shinola, a brand uniquely and proudly from Detroit, who rebuilt themselves from vintage shoe polish specialists into a luxury goods manufacturer.   

As businesses reach a certain scale, the ability to sell through ‘factory shops’ becomes unsustainable. Whilst this is not an issue for a lot of brands, those like Shinola - where the appeal is just as much about the materials, the process and the makers as it is the product - must look for ways to close the distance between ‘factory’ and ‘shop’. 

Shinola confidently show us how it’s done: through look and feel, layout, visual presentation, materials and site choice. On the surface they’re an over the counter, meet the maker style experience akin to an old outfitter. But underneath, a thoroughly modern retail experience.

3. OurVodka – Global Brand, Local Set-Up  

Our third example is from OurVodka, who retain their ‘factory shop’ set-up on a global scale by setting up unique distilleries under the OurVodka umbrella.  

Each OurVodka city (OurVodka Berlin and OurVodka London, for example) are small and agile enough to produce, bottle, sell and entertain through their own distilleries.


With brands like Starbucks and Shinola working hard to retain their connection with consumers, the appeal of OurVodka’s open distilleries is huge. Not only can consumers experience the product at it’s purest form, they can speak and learn from the very people who have made it.

This issue of SEEN has been compiled by LOVE’s Creative Director – 3D & Interiors, Russell Ashdown. If you’d like to say hello or ask any questions, then get in touch russellashdown@lovecreative.com.