June 23, 2022

After three days of exquisite tacos and overflowing to-die-for mixed drinks, our crew: Rodrigo, George, Dan, and I, were exhausted. We decided to fancy up in Rod's neighborhood, Polanco, focusing on glitz and glam. After a light non-taco breakfast, we strolled with no plan in mind. All of a sudden, George, our leading high lifestyle go-getter, suggested visiting XINÚ, a perfume store. And as a perfume enthusiast, I nodded without hesitation. Drag along, everyone!

I felt disappointed when we reached the address. It was just a nondescript door with a buzzer, and there was not even a strong signage presence. I thought, "George, this better be good." But we decided to buzz, and someone invited us in. Still feeling uneasy, we entered a minimalist entryway anchored with a round banquette, a beautiful paper flower chandelier, and a large mysterious smoked round mirror. A discrete sign led us to a narrow staircase illuminated by a minimalist gold vertical chandelier. Such an emotional procession, and very sexy! When we reached the end of the steps, we turned and... BOOM!!!!

A big, bold black table filled with a display worthy of an art museum sparkled like jewels thrown on the table: uber impressive and precious. We walked closer with curiosity and found that everything presented was super tactile, approachable, and engaging. An invitation to explore deeper.

We understood immediately that the presentation was a story to be revealed. Each cluster of elements told a story about one specific scent related to a product. There were raw ingredients such as spices, barks, and tinctures; tools, maps, and notebooks to help us understand that these are elements that make the perfume. Quality ingredients, scientific methods, and deep knowledge; all showcase touchpoints to how Xinú's perfume is made. We also sensed that we were being educated about how to buy and use perfume properly. It was mesmerizing, exciting, and inspiring.

We ooohed and aaahed, leisurely admiring the gem-like presentation, picking it up, putting it back, touching, feeling, smelling, and discussing. We took many pictures and splashed our bodies with the exquisite aromas, appreciating the product and the process. We connected with the brand and what it has to offer. While the "cool" staff was there to answer questions, they did not disturb our experience. There was no pressure to purchase. We felt the reason we were there was to be entertained and connect with the product that relates to us best; we had the option to buy.

A minimalistic architectural backdrop, a dark gray room with theatrical lighting, allowed us to focus on our journey: the big exploration table. As if that was not enough, the magic was enhanced by a bay window surrounding a "green room" full of unique plants leading to another room full of surprises. It underlined the brand's position with a solid environmental and natural commitment in its practice, another "above and beyond" that made us believe in the brand.

The experience made me a believer in Xinú. I felt emotionally connected with the products. I was engaged with the brand through all my senses, at my own speed, and on my own terms. Xinú is my newest favorite perfume.

I couldn't help feeling my passion for learning about experiential design, even during my vacation. I just experienced one retail pinnacle worth analyzing and benchmarking.

Experience Design is about storytelling.
We need a strong brand story to tell and frame the experience honestly. Storytelling should evoke emotion like a good screenplay.

A brand wants as much time as possible to communicate with their customer.
Commit 100 percent to the story you want to tell, not 95 percent or 105 percent. We must define that 100 percent and that 100 percent will efficiently captivate.

Good storytelling will result in a great experience, and great experience sells.
I bought a bottle of Xinú, and so did my friend. We both become brand ambassadors, and this is what every brand wants.

So, when you come near me and I smell good, I am using Xinú. And Tobias, apply this learning to your restaurants and retail projects and inspire your clients NOW!


Design:Ignacio Cadena + Héctor Esrawe

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