The Commerce Shop at the Adolphus Hotel is a project very dear to our hearts and to the city of Dallas. With its downtown location and namesake street front, Commerce Street, the store is bringing shopping back to downtown Dallas with a new energy. Christine Visneau is the Retail Director of Makeready, a company creating independent hotel, restaurant and retail brands from concept to opening. For the Commerce Shop project she has brought in local and national makers alike, and we were lucky to make a special piece for the shop. We created an exclusive Phase Collection watch with the hotel emblem engraved in the back with an 'Adolphus Blue' strap.
Christine has worked on many retail fronts in the past and continues to create and curate new shops on a national level, but there's a particular spark of excitement she has about this location, after all, it's home.
What does an average day look like for you?
We have multiple boutique hotel projects all with a retail concept, so a typical day is curating an upcoming opening of a shop, sourcing new products and running the daily retail operations. We also design uniforms for each property, so we are always knee deep in fabric swatches, designing and reviewing samples.
Tell us about your journey, the beginnings of your career. How has that changed shape over the years?
I have always loved fashion, since I was a little girl. I knew I wanted to work in that world and live in NYC so I moved there at 17 years old. I mostly worked as a shop girl at a few indie boutiques downtown and then a shop in Brooklyn, while attending FIT for Fashion Design. I ended up taking my college money and buying that Williamsburg, Brooklyn shop. We mostly consigned local designers, there were so many talented artists living in Williamsburg at that time and everyone who lived there made something. I was immersed into that local culture and realized how important it is to support small makers. I have carried the idea throughout my career.
What is your selection process like? Do you have any standard set of principles when seeking new designers/makers and items for the shop?
We start with the local culture and who our customer may be. We like to know where the items are made and who is making them. We are lucky to work with the best interior design teams so the look of the shop also comes into play. We create this concept and then make sure each item makes sense. We travel to trade shows and indie markets around the country and while we’re we there visit all the cool retail shops in each city. We want to make sure what we do is original and doesn’t look like what anyone else is doing.
I realized how important it is to support small makers.
We are part of a bigger story.
Do you find that your personal style directly translates into the aesthetic of the shop? What are the similarities/differences?
Christine: I am sure there is similarities with my style and our shops, but usually I try to take my personal opinion out of the process. I am not interested in creating a shop for me – it’s a challenge – I really try to think of the customer and what they will want. Yes, I would totally purchase a ton of items in our shops, but there are also items I would not. I think a good curator steps out of her comfort zone a bit and really analyzes what’s best for the shop direction.
You’ve opened many retail destinations in the past, what would you say is special about Commerce and the benefits of its downtown Dallas location?
Christine: The fact that it sits in a historical hotel that has been opened since 1912 is pretty magical. I love all the architecture and history of downtown and love being involved in the revitalization - bringing shopping back downtown where businesses used to thrive. Also, The Adolphus as a whole - the hotel guests and our restaurant experiences - we are part of a bigger story.
What’s in the future?
Christine: More retail! We currently have a shop in our hotel in Nashville called Keep, with other Keep shop locations opening in Savannah in August and Charleston next spring. Commerce is our flagship, our Keep Shop locations live in the lobbies of each property with an open concept, connecting our guests with the best local makers in the city.
What is the most rewarding aspect of your career?
Christine: That I can be creative on a daily basis and collaborate with talented people.
What does success mean to you?
Christine: When you love and look forward to going to work every day, and you are constantly learning.
Inside Commerce Shop
Photos, Video and Music | Kalan Briggs