Everything’s For Sale at M29

Last Friday GM got the grand tour of the new M29 store, which is unsurprisingly located at M and 29th.  The boutique is part of the Four Seasons’ property and is a new enterprise of Strategic Hotels & Resorts, which owns the hotel.

The unifying theme of M29 is this: everything is for sale, which has at least two meanings. First of all, according to Liliana Baldassari, head of Four Seasons PR, literally just about everything in the store is for sale.

For instance, above you can see an assortment of paperweights, trays, jewelry and books. All of that is for sale. Like the table too? It’s yours.

The second meaning of that motto is that the store has a wide array of items for sale. Beyond clothes from designers such as Moyna, Christopher Fischer, Marika Charles, and Chan Luu, the store sells:

children’s toys…

knick knacks, and of course…

collapsible bikes(!)

M29 is intentionally flexible. The design theory for the store is a white box. In other words, start with a clean slate and fill it with just about whatever customers want.

In GM’s opinion, the challenge for M29 won’t be trying to figure out what the customer wants, but rather who is their customer in the first place. M29 has offerings somewhat similar to many of the little boutiques along Wisconsin Ave. But those stores are really struggling to make that model work. They just don’t get enough business off the street.

What M29 has in its corner is that the Four Seasons doesn’t have a gift shop of its own. Now when guests ask the concierge for a place to pick up a gift or a memento, they’ll be directed over to M29. As it is right now, M29 could satisfy some of that need, but since it’s also trying to serve traffic off the street, it doesn’t serve the hotel guests too directly (e.g. they don’t sell Washington souvenirs).

In GM’s opinion, if the foot traffic isn’t enough, M29 will have to start tailoring its offerings more directly towards the hotel guests. What that would exactly look like, GM can’t say. But for now, M29 is a quirky spot where everything’s for sale, and everything’s for sale.

M29’s Allyson Wilder and Ronald Edwards

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3 Comments

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3 responses to “Everything’s For Sale at M29

  1. J. MacLeod

    Stopped into M29 this morning, and was surprised. WTF?! It’s nothing like I expected – not in a good way either… What a shame the Four Seasons seems to have lost it’s direction in this world! I sure do miss the Palm Court!

  2. EastGeorgetowner

    From what I can see in these photos, the wares here look pretty crunchy granola (at least the clothes and the items on the table), and not very up-market or chic. A gift shop with the latter would do well, and that is what I was actually expecting from the 4S. I hope the goods are better than what is reflected in these shots, which are disappointing to at least this neighborhood shopper.

  3. A little off the subject maybe, but a plea for you to consider the ethics of buying items like designer clothes. Please try and consider, for example, the materials the item is made from, the conditions of the factories where they’re manufactured and the ethics of retailers. Oh, and try to share instead of discarding. Thanks!!!!

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