Q&A with Dylan’s Candy Bar Founder Dylan Lauren 
John Bricker in Retail, Retail

Photo courtesy of Gensler

This past month Dylan’s Candy Bar Founder and CEO, Dylan Lauren, celebrated the opening of her newest store in sunny Miami Beach, Florida. Over the past three years the Gensler New York office retail and branding groups worked with Dylan on a renovation of the iconic candy brand’s Manhattan store, the design of the store at the Original Farmers Market in Los Angeles, and the new Miami location. For this momentous occasion, Creative Director John Bricker sat down with Dylan to talk collaboration, inspiration, the customer experience, and what’s next for the fabulously fun candy and lifestyle brand.

J: On March 7 we celebrated the newest store addition in Miami, and it marks the third space we have had the opportunity to collaborate together on. What was your vision behind the design of this store?

D: Location was the driving factor. Miami has always been on our list of places to open a Dylan’s Candy Bar, because it’s an international destination with year-round foot traffic. The high volume of annual visitors, combined with the lively Miami culture, was a perfect match for our newest location.

J: Miami is full of life, color and fun, much like the Dylan’s Candy Bar brand. How do you feel that the culture of the city is reflected in the design of the newest store?

D: I ultimately wanted the store to bring together the various components of the existing Dylan’s Candy Bar stores, but also to go for a look and feel that was a little bit hipper, brighter, and sunnier, to capture the true culture of Miami. Looking at the final product, I feel we certainly achieved that! The daylight that sweeps across the store opens up the space and adds another layer of cheerfulness, especially with the high ceilings and vibrant outdoor café area. Although we had a few limitations with the local neighborhood associations, we were still able to bring our brand to life in a compelling way, specifically through the use of colorful café chairs and branded tabletops.

Photo courtesy of Gensler

J: Each Dylan’s store features the addition of a unique feature. Are there any Miami store design features that you are particularly excited about? Which features will be something special for your customers to experience while shopping in the space?

D: The Miami store has the tallest lollipop tree ever featured in a Dylan’s Candy Bar location. This is the initial “wow” customers experience upon entering the space. Even those who have visited our other stores, and seen the lollipop trees, will experience something new as they are in the presence of an oversized canopy of color. The entryway includes cool candy clusters, which provide customers with a fun and playful photo opportunity. Additionally, the store has a mezzanine level, which enables visitors to have a bird’s-eye view of the entire space, and provides the ultimate space for people watching—an activity that’s especially fun in a city like Miami.

J: Dylan’s Candy Bar has a loyal customer base, one always on the lookout for what’s next. Can you tell us a bit about the future of the brand and how you and Gensler will continue to partner on exciting new projects?

D: It’s all about location, location, location! In terms of the Miami store, I couldn’t have asked for a better one. Typically, when searching for a new location, we look for a major cosmopolitan city and an available corner retail space that will allow for us to build a branded façade. The cities I’ve looked into recently include Chicago, San Francisco, and Toronto, and we are even checking out another location in L.A., given the success thus far of the Farmers Market location. Although it’s often a struggle to find the perfect fit, it’s worth the wait to find a city that meets all of our needs (like Miami). I’m thrilled with our new store and the way in which the team at Gensler designed and branded it to fit with the vibrant and energetic Miami culture.

Photo courtesy of Gensler

J: What is your favorite movie, and how does that play a part in the design of Dylan’s Candy Bar stores?

D: My favorite movie is Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory! This classic movie inspired the vision of Dylan’s Candy Bar and continues to inform the stores and brand aesthetic. I first saw it when I was 6 years old, and still enjoy it no matter how many times I watch it. I think we achieved what we were striving for with our designs, as customers are always saying that experiencing the whimsical design and color in our stores is like walking into a Willy Wonka world.

John Bricker is a principal in Gensler’s New York office and a leader of the firm’s global Brand Design practice. With Gensler for more than 30 years, John’s holistic approach to the design process encompasses brand development, retail environments, branded workplaces, showrooms, exhibition design, identity, print, and environmental communications. Contact him at john_bricker@gensler.com.
Article originally appeared on architecture and design (http://www.gensleron.com/).
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