Upcycling in Paris 1

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We've dreamed of exploring the re-imagined upcycling concept store Merci since it launched in 2009. But we are continually amazed at how few people acknowledge it as a game-changer in retail. Sure, retailers have been gaining positive press and good juju for partnering with not-for-profit companies across the globe (think Nordstrom's Treasure & Bond in NYC or Oxfam's Charity pop-up shop at Selfridges in London), but it's Merci's transparent, multi-tiered strategy to give back to communities that we feel puts them at the forefront of socially aware consumerism.

Marie-France Cohen, former Bonpoint founder, actively pays-it-forward by giving 100% of Merci's profits of high-end products, designer collaborations, and cafe sales to a charity for underprivileged women and children in Madagascar. This retail revolution intersects food and beverage, price-point, and limited-time sensibilities by forfeiting profit margins in favor of unique lifestyle offerings that resonates across consumer demographics.

The current installation highlighs essential design in Japan. Messaging within the center atrium of the sun-lit loft does not include the references to devastating earthquake or tsunami but, the intent is sharp and clear. Over 200 works are organized around the Japanese concept of 'sugao', translated as 'true face' or 'as it is' (from the word 'su' meaning 'unadorned' and signifying an appreciation of simplicity', and 'gao' meaning face').

Set in a beautiful venue, customers browse from room to room just like in a real house. Skincare by Aesop, office staples from Japanese brand Muji, and limited-edition bracelets using reworked Liberty of London deadstock are all featured on the main floor.

The womens apparel space, located on the second floor, echoes the goal of Merci: offering niche-market, high-priced luxury items alongside a broad range of affordable designer daily items. French favorites like Isabel Marant and Repetto are intermixed with international brands like Marni, Forintini + Baker, and Stella McCartney. A tiny gold medallion denotes special styles or products across all departments that are exclusive to Merci.

We love the creative approach to consumerism with a conscious at Merci. We believe that many businesses can gain insights from the cause-related messaging, LTO offerings, and merchandising savvy.

To view more photos at Merci, including home, furniture, and housewares, go to insight: Merci Part 2

Insight Location

Merci Paris, France