Imagine walking into a department store simply for the engaging experience. Everything you see and touch can be interactive, and everything there is for sale and exclusively featured in-store.
That’s what the new Showfields store on Lincoln Road is trying to achieve through its immersive displays and "Magic Wand" app that allows you to explore every inch of the store completely touchless.
And it all came to be because of Tal Zvi Nathanel’s love of the magic of design.
Nathanel, Showfields' CEO and founder, grew up reading design magazines his mother would bring home from her travels around the world. She’d only travel around Christmastime, so Nathanel always imagined there was so much magic out there year-round because of the pages he’d peruse. But as he grew up, his view didn’t change.
"I finally understood that there is so much magic out there," Nathanel says. "We’re living in a time where there are more brands, more art, more innovation. The last decade was like heaven for creators. There’s so many beautiful things out there. But there’s this paradox: How do we find them?"
That paradox is what Showfields wants to answer. Its name explains not only its mission but the problems it aims to solve.
"[The Show is] where we build community," Nathanel explains. "It's where the art constantly changes. Fields is our product. It’s where we tell the brand’s story. The mixture of them is the journey moving between show and field."
This journey of the experiential and commerce, for Nathanel, starts at the roots of retail and turn-of-the-century department stores.
"They spoke about discovering," he says. "Everything we do is with that in mind. We wanted to create a name that winks at that tradition and those heritage brands that we really look up to."
Founded in 2017 in New York City, the department store is attempting to redefine retail by offering indie designers and artists the opportunity to take their previously online-only wares to a storefront experience for consumers.
"About 95 percent of the brands in Showfields never had a physical presence before," Nathanel says. "Not only could you not see them in Miami, but you couldn't see them anywhere. That’s part of the excitement — it’s not just new for the customer, but new for the brand."
But these brands don’t get placement in the store easily. There's a curation committee that looks at the company’s four pillars — innovative, art-driven, well-made, and design-oriented — and ensures that whatever brand Showfields partners with shares the same core values. From there, the brands join with a monthly membership.
However, unlike traditional retailers, all brands are equal here.
“All brands pay a monthly membership fee, which allows us to constantly ask what’s interesting to Miami in 2020," says Nathanel. “It’s completely different than asking, 'What are you going to purchase this Christmas?' One question allows all stores to look the same, and the other democratizes retail and allows others to rise up.”
Showfields is data-driven. The store tracks every interaction and finds out what customers want to engage with more — or what they don't want to engage with. So the real curator of the store is the customer. The look and feel constantly optimizes according to what the customer likes and doesn’t like.
The best part: It's allowing Miami brands and artists to “rise up” at the Lincoln Road storefront. Three local brands — Jetlagmode, NST, and Doux Sol — are sold exclusively there, and local artists Natasha Tomchin, Lauren Shapiro x Magnus Sodamin, and Mokibaby (AKA Veronica Gessa) have installations throughout the space.
Not many companies have an in-house art curator, but Showfields sees it as a huge part of its success. For artists, the store either has works commissioned, allows a piece that already exists to surface, or does a collaboration between an artist and a brand. You’ll find the installations change like the traditional seasons — at least four times a year, so you’ll never know what you’re going to get when you walk in.
It’s all in the magic — and what makes the store so interesting to explore.
Showfields. 530 Lincoln Rd., Miami Beach; 305-351-0672; showfields.com.
Keep Miami New Times Free... Since we started Miami New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Miami, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Miami with no paywalls.