Remember the song “Video Killed the Radio Star?” About the notion that radio would die since video — especially music video — had become the norm? Never happened. In fact, radio’s only grown now that anyone can start their own podcast.
The same might be true of retailing, or at least I hope so. We’re seeing previously online-only shops like Serena & Lilly coming to a brick and mortar outpost near you. Today, it opened its 13th physical shop (and first in the Mid-Atlantic region) off Bethesda Row — and I was able to preview it last week.
We’re a lucky group here in the DMV, as we’ve also seen another online favorite, Ballard Designs, open at Tysons Corner Center in 2016 (I wrote about that here.) Both outlets are a go-to for designers, whether it’s to complete a room or to craft an entire design scheme, and they’ve made it so much easier to customize pieces so you don’t feel like your living room is the same as the one down the street.
To that end, Serena & Lily is continuing the trend we’ve seen in so many home stores recently where much of its 3,000 square feet is actually a design studio, where you can work with an associate to choose furnishings, rugs, wallpaper, lighting and bedding that are on display, but you order them in your own pattern or color.
There are also shelves of accessories, pillows, lamps and design books on hand that you can purchase and take home with you:
And the best part? The store is devoted to supporting local artists with a rotating gallery. New collections will be displayed as others sell. As of today’s opening, the store included works by Baltimore painter Wendy Doak; DC artist Lanie Mann; DC watercolorist and acrylic painter Erica Nordberg; and Charlottesville abstract artist Sarah Trundle. The artwork anchors each of the shop’s vignettes:
Due to covid, the store is not completely open; you have to make an appointment online. Kelly reports that they sent an e-blast to local customers for early appointments over this past weekend, and three days of slots were filled within 45 minutes. This system of personalized service works so well, Kelly says, that they may just keep it even when the virus worries are past — which won’t be for a good while anyway. Those who are nervous about in-person appointments can also schedule one via Zoom.
Customers can also order cash-and-carry items for curbside pickup, or stop outside to pick up swatches and samples that an associate can bring out to you. The outside lounge makes a lovely waiting room!