'Warm luxury' is the phrase that comes to mind as I make my way inside Polo Avenue. From the welcoming smile on the faces of the staff, to the muted music playing softly in the background and the smell of rich leather which clings to the air, Polo Avenue has all the makings of a luxury store without being overtly intimidating.
The Luxury Store With A Heart
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As I settle in to begin my survey of the store, a staff courteosly asks me if I'd like something to drink.
"Would you like something to drink, or some biscuits perhaps?"
I could definitely get used to this! I think to myself.
Gucci, Versace, Balenciaga and Jimmy Choo are just some of the luxury brands that are stylishly displayed on the shelves of the Polo Avenue store. The best part? Not only are the prices of the items comparable with prices internationally, they also come with their very own certificate of ownership as is obtainable with any flagship store anywhere in the world.
Established 9 short months ago on the 9th of Februray 2014, Polo Avenue strives to cater to the rapidly growing upper middle class. While the Polo Flagship boutique which has been in existence for much longer prides itself as the luxury store of choice for the C-suites: business executives and captains of industry.
"The items in the flagship store are classic and timeless. They never go out of style" Kate Daniels, Head Marketing Communications Polo Limited explains.
"But on the whole, designer produtcts never lose their validity in style, be they in polo Avenue or the Polo flagship boutique. Polo Avenue was established just at the right time to cater to the emerging middle class in Nigeria"
So what's the most patronised brand I want to know.
"For the flagship store definitely the Rolex. Nigerians love Rolexes. After the Rolex comes Cartier. For Polo Avenue though its Gucci and that's simply because we have more variety in Gucci ranging from the foot wear to the bags and even men's footwear"
On the almost staggering amounts of items in the flagship boutiques, Daniels says:
"Every piece in the flagship boutique store has history. So you're not just buying an item, you're buying the history and experience behind it. Also a wrist watch is like an heirloom and will still be valuable many years after you've bought it unlike a car, for instance that depreciates the moment it leaves the car shop"
In a corner of the store sits the elegantly designed Ene Maya hats, the only Nigerian brand that is stocked in the Polo Avenue store. So has Polo Avenue been affected in any way by the rapidly emerging Nigerian fashion scene?
"Lanre Da-Silva Ajayi did a shoot in the store which brought some attention our way. Also seeing as we are an accessory store that doesn't retail clothes, it follows that our clients will seek beautiful, classy clothes to pair with our pieces so yes we've definitely rubbed off on Nigerian fashion"
While the store is currently in the middle of massive sales running as high as 30 - 60%, a pair of shoes (specifically female Jimmy Choos) retail for about N48,000. But the good people of Polo Avenue assure me that the Polo experience is like no other.
"We offer our clients that personal touch. There isn't any of our clients that walks through the door that we don't just know their name but also their taste." Daniels reveals.
"At Polo you can count on getting authentic products as we are in direct partnership with the brands. Our sophistication, heritage, class and structure is what differentiates us from other luxury brands"
"We have a face and a heart" she concludes.
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