Paul Smith opened its Leeds store in November 2007 - its most northerly store, situated in the achingly cool Victoria Quarter. It seemed like an obvious move for the brand: Leeds was booming and the appetite for designer fashion at that time was insatiable, with other high profile fashion retailers like Vivienne Westwood and Louis Vuitton firmly established on the scene.
Our research showed that the people of Leeds simply didn't know the Paul Smith brand story - a working class guy born in Nottingham who built one of the world's most desirable brands. So, we started to think about how we could quickly and effectively tell this story and in turn, increase footfall in the store and increase sales.
We decided it was about 'quick wins' - easy to implement tactical ideas aimed at raising awareness and getting results without a huge marketing spend. For us, it was about engaging with the city whilst keeping customer relationships going with regular dialogue.
Our first thought was to bring the iconic Paul Smith Mini to Leeds - it's at the heart of the brand story and is the perfect way to get the attention of the people and draw them into the store. The Mini finally arrived for Leeds Shopping Week in November 2009. Supported by events and social media, it proved to be a huge success. It delivered the massive impact we had hoped.
The second suggestion was to make the store more obviously Paul Smith. The branding was minimal, in line with their high-end fashion image, but we suggested a few minor adjustments to the windows that now make it very hard for people to miss the store. Unmistakably Paul Smith.
The Leeds store is now firmly established in the city and is trading above expectations in the current difficult market conditions. Sales are on track to exceed the previous year and they've experienced increased footfall during the promotional activity, well above previous event levels.