And Ion Art will help give the world another jewelry store
A week allows little time to fabricate all of a new retail location’s storefront and signage, yet Austin, TX-based Ion Art completed five such projects this October alone. The architectural signage is for Kendra Scott, a jewelry retailer with a yellow color scheme and a golden touch. Ion Art already has 20 more stores on its schedule (and 50 complete), part of a 300-store rollout that began in 2010. These week-long windows of opportunity require collaborating with general contractors, other suppliers and vendors, and pleasing both govern-mental authorities as well as local landlords.
Every store begins with an entrepreneur and an idea. Founder Kendra Scott built her brand from a startup in her spare bedroom into a multimillion-dollar company. In doing so, she needed considerable design and architectural help. Sharon Keshishian, president of Ion Art, recalled being introduced to the store’s namesake by an architectural firm that did not end up remaining with the project. “We got along very well with Kendra,” Sharon said. “She liked the quality of our work, from design through complete installation, and also our being a small and personal local company.”
A period of refinement
At first, according to Sharon, Kendra Scott planned only three stores, all in Texas. “We did a lot of brainstorming early on,” Sharon said, “to develop all the various architectural signage elements, as well as many of the store’s other branding facets, such as tables, planters, drawer handles and special fixtures.”
“We would take drawings from those brainstorming sessions and turn them into shapes and 3D forms,” said Kris Woo, Ion Art’s chief operating officer who also had a hand in the initial Kendra Scott design concepts. “We did a lot of tests with samples and played with LEDs to check the lighting and the warmth of colors,” she said. Though the process at first was slow and drawn out, it accomplished the important goal of standardizing most of the store’s elements. Kendra Scott herself changed and refined the look and feel of her stores somewhat over the first couple of years and [the first] few locations. Ion Art continued to work closely with Kendra to carry out those changes.
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