“In this day and age, service or the trading of goods shouldn’t be transactional,” says Dexter Peart. “I think everything has to be a bit like theatre.” His brother Byron agrees. “We have these wow moments and we ask ourselves, ‘How can we incorporate that into our own store?’”
The identical twin brothers are the founders of Montreal’s Want Les Essentiels de la Vie, a leather goods company known for matching sublime form with ease and function. Sipping white wine at West on South Granville in Vancouver, they are considering the experience and the details of retail. A little ways up across the street, their lifestyle boutique Want Apothecary has just opened its doors.
Bouncing words like “piazza” and “community” back and forth, they explain that they wanted to create an environment like that of an old-world apothecary. “We have people that just come in and they’re buying their soap. [In this case], we’ve done our job,” Byron explains, speaking to the tradition of apothecaries as neighbourhood gathering places. “A lot of times they’re just coming to hang out,” Dexter adds.
And it’s easy to see why. From the herringbone wood floors to the marble sink at the back, the elegant design is all in the details. The lighting takes inspiration from molecular models used in organic chemistry. The flower arrangements were chosen for the scents and ingredients of the Byredo fragrances and Astier de Villatte candles stocked in store. A carefully edited collection of clothing from Acne, Filippa K, Maison Kitsuné and more line the racks on either side for men and women. Then, of course, there are the mouthwatering leather goods from the brothers’ own brand, Want Les Essentiels de la Vie.
We’ll meet you there, ready to fill our style prescription.
UPDATE, February 2018: Byron and Dexter Peart have left their roles at Want Les Essentiels de la Vie.