Wholesome Cuts Case Study
Earlier this year, we worked with Danyal Sayed and his brothers, a team of entrepreneurial butchers with a passion for ethical, quality meat. Danyal’s dream was to open a store in Williamsburg that sold organic, halal products sourced locally from his own farm.
Although Danyal and his brothers had a clear goal, they weren’t sure how they could tell this unique story to their customers and stand out.
Read on to find out how this unique store came to life in just three short weeks.
Retail is always running at a fast pace, and we are used to this pressure - but as Danyal and his brothers were keen to open the store as soon as possible, we were challenged to start construction just three weeks after our first meeting.
Although the time limitations were tight, the bigger goal - and challenge for our team - was to define what exactly would make Wholesome Cuts thrive in a competitive niche.
As we have discussed recently, retail is going through a tough cycle, but we’ve found that if you're determined to understand what today’s customers are after, revitalizing your physical store is an exciting opportunity to give them something new to love about your brand.
Upon entering a store, consumers want a memorable experience. It’s not just about the products lining the walls, it’s actually the environment around those products that drives the brand. The lighting. The friendly customer service. The temperature. All the aspects that make people feel good to be somewhere.
Customers also demand more information about the products they buy. For Wholesome Cuts, this meant communicating more information about the product's journey while the customer is in the store.
These were two of our underlying aims in the crafting of the Wholesome Cuts vision. Information and experience.
“The main challenge was how to make our business unique. Sergio is a very good architect and a very good designer - he knows what he’s doing. Choosing him for our project was the best decision we’ve made.” - Danyal Sayed
Store Branding Research
The first major step of any retail design project is research.
Before we can establish a budget, and acquaint ourselves with the feel and dimensions of their space, we need to find out, in exact terms, what the company wants to achieve for their brand.
For us, this works best when we develop an open, honest back-and-forth between our team and the client. We want to immerse ourselves in their vision for their new venture.
Coming into a new retail category, we relied on Danyal to broaden our knowledge of his industry.
His background in the study of agriculture and industry, and his specialist knowledge gleamed from his work on ranches around the world, meant that he had a lot of ideas to bring to the table.
Having observed the negative impact that large-scale production can have on the environment, on human health and on animals, he and his brothers founded a small sustainable cattle farm in Catskills, Upstate New York - where all of Wholesome Cuts’ produce is sourced.
Danyal and his brothers knew that the work they were doing on their farm, sharing their love of tasty, locally-grown, ethically-produced meat with the world was filling a hole in the market.
Our job was to articulate this point of difference.
One of our ideas that emerged from the research stage, was that each cut of meat could be traced by the customer in-store.
We know that today’s home-chefs want to see every leg of the journey from farm to plate. What if Wholesome Cuts could employ a unique tracking system that helps customers find out the detailed history of each product? How and where was the animal raised? What was it fed and how it was treated?
These are the exciting questions, and we knew that attention to detail, both in terms of the design of the store, through to the customer service and knowledge of the product, was something hugely important to anyone who is serious about their meat.
Having determined the store's unique feature, our next step was to integrate this idea seamlessly with the overall aesthetic and style of the brand.
Danyal wanted to reverse the traditionally loud, smelly, neon-lit butcher store. As the name implies, he wanted the space to be a wholesome, clean experience for customers: a place that felt like home.
We devised a mood board made up of images of materials, interiors, exteriors, design ideas and colour palettes that we could take inspiration from.
After having defined the space's aesthetic, our focus shifted to the finishes and furnishings that would make the space feel warm, simple and modern.
The design needed to reflect the clean, homely ethos of the brand itself, so we used natural materials such as walnut wood and white quartz for the countertop.
It was important for Danyal, and ourselves, to pay tribute to the tradition that Wholesome Cuts is a part of, and celebrate our shared Italian roots.
For the floor near the back of the store, we used a high-quality white porcelain that resembles carrara marble - a standard material used for counters in traditional Italian butchers.
A selection of leafy green plants occupy the front of the store to welcome customers into the fresh, clean environment. For the finishing touch, we had the idea of commissioning an artist to contribute something beautiful, one-of-a-kind and relevant.
Federico Massa, a.k.a. Iena Cruz, whose vibrant works focus on the connection between animals, the environment and contemporary society created a large graphic feature wall opposite the counter.
Cruz painted a large silhouette of a cow, divided in parts like the anatomical illustrations of the early 20th century. Textured patterns filled each division, complementing the colour scheme of the store.
Overall, the design process took just three short weeks.
At Sergio Mannino, our job is to make sure that the brand and store is going to be profitable and successful. We make this happen through encouraging creativity and quality in the making of each and every individual store.
Danyal, his brothers and the Sergio Mannino team had to learn a lot because it was a first time for all of us in this category: Danyal knew how traditional butchers worked, and we knew how the typical retail store works - but none of us knew right away how to smoothly merge the two to create something truly unique.
Exploring new industries, concepts and niches is our forte. We look everywhere for inspiration because innovation comes from a wide understanding of people and business.
Through creativity and hard work, the project was finished on time and the community response has been phenomenal. “What a wonderful and much needed addition to the neighborhood… The store is impeccably clean and aesthetically pleasing. I can say that this is officially my new butcher of choice.” - Briana D.
“I will do what I can to make sure this shop stays put.” - Josh S.
“So happy this place moved into the neighborhood.” - Jennifer J.
“The shop looks amazing. I would 100% recommend this place.” - Hina S.
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