The Staging of Retail Desire

Lately, I’ve been struck by some of the retail shops in my neighborhood of the West Village, and how insanely popular they’ve become. Here’s just a couple examples:

First, there’s Magnolia’s Bakery – a legendary destination where you consistently find 15-30 people waiting outside in line just to get inside. The following YouTube video portrays the scene on even more dramatic proportions. What are they lining up for you might wonder?

Cupcakes! Yes, those little frosted white or chocolate cake…has people travelling from all corners of NYC, and the world, to get their hands on one of these treats. Personally, I still don’t get it. No matter how good it tastes…it’s still just a cupcake. But you can’t argue with the revolution that Magnolia has kickstarted – with several other competing Cupcake shops sprouting up around town. I wonder if the crowds have something to do with it? Since its reached critical mass…its become a ritual where standing in line, inhaling those “fresh from the oven” fumes, is half the fun…and worth the price of admission.

1370838-1043967-thumbnail.jpgThen, there’s the Marc Jacobs Accessory store, just a couple blocks away from Magnolia’s. Opened less than a year ago, this store specializes in items from $2-$100 – coinpurses, canvas totes, belts, t-shirts, wellies, etc…At all hours of the day and night (open till 10pm), this small 500 square store is in total pandemonium. People are shoving and pushing to get their hands on the merchandise. You can’t help but walk by and think its a firesale where everything is marked down and priced to go. Perhaps that’s part of the allure of a Marc Jacobs designed “anything” for under $100. How well is this working for them? The store has begun the highest grossing Marc Jacobs in NYC, if not the world – averaging $6,000 in sales – per hour (according to one insider source) or according to a recently published article $25,000 per square foot. Not too shabby by either count.

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