With our marriage going on two decades, Daniel and I don't shy away from a good cultural plunge. It's fun to get surprised once in awhile and this weekend's trip to Costa Mesa, California was no exception. As we were leaving the big brand retail shopping center of South Coast Plaza, we stumbled upon the "Anti-Mall" just a mile south on Bristol Road. We hadn't planned to stop at this quaint and campy treasure trove, but I'm so happy we did. When I mention "campy", I'm not kidding... It's called The CAMPsite. Across the street is it's sister property, The LAB, affectionately known as "the Anti-Mall, and together they form a unique retail mecca that caters to shoppers looking for local, indie, entrepreneur-owned goods and services.
Among the Airstream trailers that compliment the bohemian ambiance of these quaint dual properties, are small businesses featuring hand-crafted artisan goods, organic coffee shops and farm-to-table eateries such as the Blackmarket Bakery.
Daniel and I were captivated by the Campsite's charm and spent the morning relaxing in it's chill boho vibe. This was one brilliant marketer's answer to competing with the high-rent, glitzy competition of typical malls that feature Gucci and Prada. What we found most charming were the personal touches that engaged the public throughout both locations such as Polaroid photos of smiling customers in a coffee shop and a gazebos that encourages patrons to pin up and share their intentions, dreams, and well wishes.
There were endless art installations, cozy fire pits and even a unique place to showcase restaurant menus. We loved the idea of featuring antique mailboxes that hold each cafe's menu and specials all in one place. It's the camping answer to traditional food courts and eliminates the competition of who's got the biggest and brightest neon sign. Also, gladly missing were the annoying kiosk hawkers shoving products in our faces. We truly relaxed as we strolled!
Needless to say, Daniel and I now have great affection for these two blocks of retail bliss and feel it is a brilliantly branded retail destination.
Imagine how you can be the "anti" solution to your most fierce competitors. If you would like to BrandStorm some ideas, join the conversation with me on my Facebook page. Until our next Brand-Venture... smile on Brandies!
Your BrandHappy Mentor,