I headed down to Philadelphia last night to spend some time with Anthropolgie co-presidents Wendy Wurtzburger and Wendy McDevitt, the retailer’s art and antiques buyer Keith Johnson, as well as designer extraordinaire Anna Sui.
The occasion? A special screening of Man Shops Globe, Johnson’s reality television show on the Sundance Channel. The series, in its second season, documents Johnson’s travels around the world as he shops for the most incredible antiques and artwork for Anthropologie’s stores. (He told me his most amazing find over the years was the interior of a music store in Germany. The company shipped the entire interior over the Atlantic and it’s been in storage for about ten years. It’s finally being made into a room at Anthropologie‘s Fashion Island outpost, and will debut at some point in 2010.)
This particular episode stars Anna Sui, who traveled with Keith to Syria. I only recently acquired cable, which means I haven’t had to time to catch the show. It’s good! The audience, made primarily of very loyal Anthropologie customers, invited specially to the screening, seemed to enjoy it as well. Moreover, the show is a great branding vehicle for Anthro–the art direction has the same feel as the store’s interiors–very scrapbook-y/vintage-y. Plus, Keith is quite funny. His camaraderie with Anna shone on screen, and we laughed several times watching them attempt to open a crazy-looking storage container from Syria or bickering with their tour guide.
But before the screening, I got the opportunity to check out the Anthropologie headquarters. They’re located in an old Navy Yard and are, like the stores, incredibly constructed and well-thought out (I’ve attached some pictures for your perusal). From the exposed beams to the tiling at the “cafeteria”–which is more like an al fresco restaurant–the environment was impressive.
I also chatted with Wendy and Wendy, Keith, and Anna. We mostly discussed Keith’s keen eye and ability to find the most irresistible items–the co-presidents admitted to spending some cash on personal pieces when traveling abroad with the buyer–but we also talked about Athro’s ever-so committed customer base. As I was interviewing Anna, asking her about everything from the trip with Keith to her own line for Anthropologie to her fall buys (she’s already scooped up a pair of grey Lanvin moccasin boots, swoon) a very determined woman and her lovely daughter unknowingly interrupted our conversation. I didn’t even mind, because they were so excited to be there and to meet Anna.
And that’s what success is about right? Plenty of loyal people who love the product you make.
This episode of Man Shops Globe airs tomorrow at 10pm EST on Sundance. Enjoy!