WEST Elm, the Brooklyn, New York-born hip and younger sister of Pottery Barn, has just opened at Estancia Mall in Capitol Commons, the new mixed-used development in Pasig City.
A part of the upscale Williams-Sonoma Inc. group, the modern home and furniture store West Elm enters the country in partnership with the SSI Group, and is aimed at young urban and condo dwellers, with its more eclectic aesthetic.
“We have everything like Pottery Barn but it’s the aesthetic that’s totally different,” said Kerri Ackermann, division merchandise manager for West Elm, during the media preview.
As opposed to Pottery Barn’s traditional Americana feel, West Elm’s selection is more diverse “to inspire you and make your space your own,” Ackermann added. “It’s about celebrating your own style.”
Since the pieces are also of smaller scale than Pottery Barn, West Elm is priced about 20 percent lower than the former “because we like to position ourselves as very understanding of great design at incredible value,” Ackermann said.
In an interview with Inquirer Lifestyle in late 2014, Ronald R. Young, Williams-Sonoma SVP for global strategy, also made his pitch about West Elm. “The target is the urban apartment dweller. West Elm has this commitment to community and local artisans. It has its own aesthetic,” he had said.
West Elm is known for its direct collaborations with craftsmen and artisans all over the world, and at the opening of its first 7,000-square-foot store in Manila, among the merchandise are Philippine-made items: hand-carved ceramic vases from Santo Tomas, Pampanga; capiz shell chandeliers and lighting fixtures; and handwoven baskets and bins. (Pottery Barn’s merchandise also consists of 5-percent Philippine-made crafts.)
Organic and fair-trade certified items, such as bed linens and similar accessories, are proudly labeled in the store. There’s also a line of furniture made of reclaimed wood and driftwood.
West Elm, like its sister brands, is offering free interior-design consultation services, within the store or with a free home visit within Metro Manila.
The Philippines is only the fifth market of West Elm outside the United States, after Canada, Australia, the United Kingdom, and the Middle East.
The SSI Group also opened the first PB Teen and second Pottery Barn Kids at the same location adjacent to West Elm. PB Teen is Pottery Barn’s specialty store for teens, offering both furniture and colorful decorative accessories and knickknacks.
The SSI Group is upbeat in expanding the Williams-Sonoma brands in the Philippines, buoyed by the positive response to the first Pottery Barn in Bonifacio Global City (BGC), which opened at Central Square Mall in 2014.
Apart from a West Elm branch in BGC next year, set to open in late 2016, also in the area, is the Williams-Sonoma flagship store, said Gina Bonoan, who handles the Williams-Sonoma brands at SSI.