Nestled among the AMEX, Westpac and Macquarie Banks in Sydney’s very own financial district lies Shirt Bar, a shirt store with a difference. Unlike its neighbouring competitors, it is a hybrid concept that brings together the best of coffee, whisky and shirts in a bid to seduce the corporate shopper.
The space has an informal and quirky feel: the walls are lined with antique Singer sewing machines, local street art and chalkboards. This creates an environment in which Old-World charm meets a contemporary urban edge. The playful design and relaxed atmosphere prompt the passerby to pop in as well as encouraging the existing customers to stay for longer.
Whisky and shirts have the potential to make a compelling combination, allowing reluctant male shoppers to browse shirts with a single-malt in hand. However, Shirt Bar has not necessarily made the most of this hybrid concept: the shirt and bar offerings remain quite detached. In fact, the layout of the store draws a physical line between the two sections, limiting the extent to which they can enhance one another.
Yet Shirt Bar seems to be successful as a bar. Its playful set-up makes it a popular coffee haunt and post-work hangout for business people in the surrounding area. But is it enough for a hybrid concept just to be interesting?
Customer Insight: It seems that beverage-loving Sydneysiders are more enamored with Shirt Bar as a novel coffee spot than a shirt store.
Brand takeaway: Hybrid stores can be great fun, but to be truly effective they need to ensure that both sides of the business feed off one another, not just live next door to one another.