Now here’s a pinch me moment if there ever was one – I can finally share that for the last two months, I’ve been working on my very first shop design for none other than Cocooning Biocosmetics, a local cosmetics company that absolutely I adore. We have been hard at work re-designing the shop for 9 weeks, and we are about 2 weeks away from opening. This is probably the tightest timeline for a renovation project that I have ever taken on. It has been a challenge to get everything together in time and carve out time to share the progress on here. Let’s not talk about how many suppliers are on holiday during the month of August!

Anyway, here I am late on a Wednesday night forcing myself to sit down and write this blog post because this is definitely a moment I want to remember.

I would like to kick things off by saying a big thank you to the lovely Whitney, who manages their communications and marketing, for putting me forwards for this project. I feel so lucky that other young women like Whitney vouch for me and my work. If you don’t already follow her on Instagram, check out her profile – she is hilarious and so down to earth. Her stories, her zoomed winks and her dancing are guaranteed to put you in a good mood.

Ok, back to the project – if you’re not already familiar with the brand, let me give you a little introduction. Fabienne, creator and founder of Cocooning Biocosmetics, started out making her own natural cosmetics to tackle her son’s skin problems. Jump forward almost 15 years and Cocooning Biocosmetics is now one of the most renowned natural cosmetics companies in the region. They have a wonderful workshop in Bavois and hands down the best smelling shop in Lausanne. My favourite products include their natural soaps (Heidi & Lune de Miel are the ones I buy most regularly), the quartz roller (don’t ask me what it does but I keep it in my fridge and roll it on my face occasionally and it feels wonderful), and their recently launched soap box which is great for travelling.

The shop is on Rue Grand St-Jean 16, 1003 Lausanne. It’s an old space and has been added to over the years that they have occupied it. Earlier this year, there was a leak in some of the pipes from the floor above which resulted in a fairly big hole in the ceiling which you can see in the image below:

Continuing with the “before” photos, this was a little coffee/kitchen area behind the till where they served a small selection of hot and cold beverages.

The shop was in no way poorly decorated (these guys have great taste!) but it was time for a little re-fresh.

The main goal of the whole redesign is to make their products stand out more. I felt like we needed to change up these shelves and find a way to really highlight their products.

This turquoise is one of their brand colours and I really like how the bright soap colours stand out against the dark blue/green. One of their requests was to work this colour into the design.

Now you’ve seen the space we’re working with, let’s jump into the new project.

The brief for the space was to make it feel light and bright, to align the design with their newly-defined brand identity and colour palette, and to play around with the zoning of the shop to make it easier for customers to move around.

We’ve had such a lovely time picking out materials and I have absolutely loved designing a few key pieces of furniture (with the support of the wonderful team at HertelTan).

Before the grand opening, I wanted to give you a little peek at the moodboards we made for the space and some of the materials and furniture we’ve chosen.

One of the things that I wanted to do was to have shelves without sides so as to show off the products a little bit more. We’ve chosen to use String Furniture throughout the shop in the colour ash.

String furniture is beautiful shelving system initially designed in 1949. We’re receiving the delivery next week and I’m so excited to see the shelves up on the walls.

At the very early stages of a project, I present a set of moodboards to help my clients visualise the look and feel of the space we’re designing. I think this is one of the most important stages of the project. At any big decision making point, Martina and I make sure to get the moodboards back out so that we stay aligned with the initial vision.

The first is always a general moodboard combining colours, textures and materials that will be used throughout the space.

This second moodboard combines inspiration images for the shelving system, product displays and plants.

This one takes a look at three key areas in the space: the till, the beauty bar and the sink area where customers can test their selection of body scrubs.

And finally, this last moodboard is a look at the window displays. We’re going to be playing with the rounded lettering of their logo and put circle shelves in the till-side window.

Once we were aligned with the general aesthetic of the space and after many, many meetings, we started to define the exact zoning of the shop and the very specific dimensions for the custom built furniture. This was so much fun!

The sketch below is a little peek at what the till is going to look like. For the till area, we chose to work with ash, brushed brass and a stone-lookalike counter top.

In the centre of the shop, we have designed a large beauty bar surrounding one of the pillars. This will be the display table for all of the make-up. At the end of the long table there will be a couple of stools and a mirror for customers to test the products.

On the left hand side towards the back of the shop, we needed to find space to integrate a sink as there was easy access to water pipes. I chose a totem sink with a pink zellige tile backdrop. The idea is to make this area feel a bit like a bathroom as most of the body and bath products will be in this corner.

And finally, all the way at the back of the shop, we have decided to make the shop a little bit smaller and install a custom-built glass divider.

I’m a strong believer that shops that sell small products should themselves be small so customers don’t get too lost in the shop. We mulled this idea over for quite a while but as the renovation moves forward, I can tell that we’re all on board and really feel like this will add a lot to the space.

There we have it – a peek at what we’ve been working on for the last couple of months. There have been lots of long discussions, all sorts of samples sprawled all over the office, some very late nights and an embarrassing number of calls to making sure suppliers can deliver on time despite their factories closing during the summer. Like with any project, there have beens ups and down, fun work as well as the boring budgeting work, but when it gets to this stage and things start really coming together, none of that seems to matter and all I can feel is bubbles of excitement.

A big thank you also goes out to Martina who is here behind the scenes, keeping me sane, making me laugh and sitting next to me as we furiously source a very specific piece of furniture.

We are so excited to see the space come together over the next couple of weeks and excited to (hopefully) edit together some of the process into a video (another few late nights await). I hope to be sharing that over on my YouTube channel very soon, so make sure to subscribe if you haven’t already.

Thank you so much for stopping by and staying up to date with my latest news. I hope you are all having a wonderful summer and I hope to see you back here soon! Big bisous. xS

Photos by Nicole Hertel, Drawings by me