Kenji and Eri in photo with Peter Rabbit stuffed animals
Kenji and Eri in photo with Peter Rabbit stuffed animals

Peter Rabbit™ Concept Stores Opening In Karuizawa And Kyoto --Exclusive Items And Highlights[Part1 of 2]


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In our ongoing series “Character Business Tips,” we tap into the insights of industry professionals to uncover essential tips for navigating the character business landscape.

This edition showcases “Peter Rabbit™ SHOP & BAKES,” the first permanent Peter Rabbit™ concept store. Offering an array of items ranging from quintessential British baked goods and teas to exclusive merchandise. The Karuizawa store opened in July 2023, followed by the Ninenzaka store in Kyoto in September. Noteworthy for their regionally inspired exterior and interior designs, as well as limited-edition exclusive items, these stores are captivating attention as new sanctuaries for “Peter Rabbit™.”

In this article, we sit down for an interview with a representative from Sony Creative Products (SCP) who played a pivotal role in the establishment of “Peter Rabbit™ SHOP & BAKES.” And we delve into the intricacies of launching the first Peter Rabbit™ concept store.

In the first part, they reveal how “Peter Rabbit™ SHOP & BAKES” came about as well as on exclusive items and highlights of each store.

※The original Japanese article appeared on October 30 and 31, 2023.

  • Kenji Harada profile photo

    Kenji Harada

    Sony Creative Products

  • Eri Shikama profile photo

    Eri Shikama

    Sony Creative Products

First ever concept store “Peter Rabbit™ SHOP&BAKES”

『Peter Rabbit™ SHOP&BAKES』appearance

『Peter Rabbit™ SHOP&BAKES』logo

These concept stores were opened in a location with a sense of history and rich in nature, reminiscent of the Lake District in England, the home of Peter Rabbit. The stores offer typical British baked goods and teas, alongside adorable limited-edition Peter Rabbit™ collectibles. Two stores have been opened in Karuizawa and Kyoto. These stores are operated by Telacoya Co.,Ltd., aim to preserve and promote Japanese traditional culture through the sale of souvenirs and other items, primarily at tourist destinations throughout Japan.

Concept stores are a new touchpoint to experience the world of works

──Mr. Harada and Ms. Shikama, could you elaborate on your roles in the launch of Peter Rabbit concept stores, “Peter Rabbit™ SHOP & BAKES”?

Harada: As the head of marketing and branding for the Peter Rabbit character business, I assumed the role of a producer, overseeing the establishment of the stores.

Shikama: Serving as the creative director of Peter Rabbit, I spearheaded the conceptualization, interior design, and supervision of exclusive items for the store openings.

──While Peter Rabbit cafes have already made their mark in Jiyugaoka (Tokyo) and Yokohama (Kanagawa), these concept stores represent a pioneering venture. Could you share the decision-making process behind their launch?

Harada: The idea for a concept store had been brewing since around 2019, we started discussing with Telacoya, our collaborators on “SNOOPY CHA-YA” and “SNOOPY Chocolat,”. Despite having detailed concepts in place, the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic temporarily halted our plans. It wasn't until last year, as the pandemic began to wane, that we revisited the idea.

Kenji with blue shirt

──What impact do you anticipate the opening of these concept stores will have on the Peter Rabbit character business?

Harada: Peter Rabbit remains a timeless IP, enduring more than 120 years since its birth. Many of us have had picture books at home or borrowed them from the library when we were children, but many of us have recently moved away from them. So, we decided to open the stores with the intention of providing a place for such people to experience Peter Rabbit as an ongoing touchpoint.

──When we think of opening a store, we have the image of starting in the center of a large city, then gradually expanding across the country. Why did you open them in the tourist areas of Karuizawa and Kyoto?

Harada: The concept behind “Peter Rabbit™ SHOP & BAKES” was to evoke the ambiance of the Lake District in England, the birthplace for “Peter Rabbit”—a place rich in history and natural splendor. Karuizawa is rich in nature, while Kyoto is a traditional city with a long history, so much so that it is often referred to as the “capital of a thousand years.” In addition, Additionally, Telacoya, our collaborating partner, is headquartered in Kyoto and specializes in operating concept stores in tourist locations. So we started with these two stores.

──What kind of locations are they?

Harada: The Karuizawa branch is located on Old Karuizawa Ginza Street, a shopping district lined with souvenir shops, cafes and restaurants. The Kyoto branch opened on Ninenzaka, a well-known pilgrimage path to Kiyomizu-dera Temple.

Peter Rabbit is an extremely well-known IP. Therefore, it has the advantage of being recognized not only by visitors who come for the store, but also by people who happen to be passing by. In this sense, we thought it would make sense to open a store in a tourist area that is visited by men and women of all ages.

Karuizawa store sells limited-edition items with fruit motifs, while Kyoto with flower motifs

──What was the initial concept you came up with for the “Peter Rabbit™ SHOP & BAKES” together with the Telacoya staff?

Shikama: Initially, we had thought of creating a British-style bakery with a modern yet classical atmosphere. From there, we worked on the details.

Eri dressed in a border

──What were the most important aspects of the store design?

Shikama: As the store name suggests, we emphasized on creating a “bake shop feel.” This extended to the interior design, including the use of oval shelves to display the baked goods, and also having the baked goods stacked up on clear acrylic cases.

Sweets sold at『Peter Rabbit™ SHOP&BAKES』

──It seems there are more and more bake shops in Tokyo these days. Is this a trend?

Harada: I think so. When British fairs are held in department stores, people line up to buy scones. I think British baked goods are very popular. Peter Rabbit is a picture book created by British author Beatrix Potter™, so we thought it would be a good match for these traditional pastries.

“Peter Rabbit™ SHOP & BAKES” is therefore particular about the quality of its baked goods. Our baked goods are made by a Kyoto-based baking artisan who have studied the authentic British tastes, so people can enjoy the best of both worlds.

──What is the baked goods menu like?

Harada: We always have about 10 varieties available, from your typical sweets such as cookies, scones, financiers and pound cakes to the traditional British Madeira cakes and gingerbreads.

Shikama: As the shop is located in a tourist area, all sweets are individually wrapped, so that they are bought as gifts. Of course, I think it is also easy for those who want to try them for themselves to pick up.

Baked goods sold at 『Peter Rabbit™ SHOP&BAKES』

──Please tell us about the exclusive items, too

Shikama: Limited-edition “Peter Rabbit™ SHOP & BAKES” items are available in Karuizawa and Kyoto respectively. The Karuizawa store features original artwork based on fruit from Shinshu region and the Kyoto store featuring artwork based on flowers, which are used to create tote bags and other items. There are also other items using artwork common to both stores.

──So, the artworks are created specifically.

Shikama: The original artworks are also used in the stores, but we thought the merchandise needed to have fresh looks, so we had newly created illustrations.

Harada: Those illustrations were not drawn by Beatrix Potter, but was requested to and newly drawn by the British publisher.

Shikama: All items and the interior designs are also supervised by them, so we have strict quality control.

Store design incorporating the world of the original work

──We would also like to ask about the characteristics of each store. The Karuizawa store has a very pretty atmosphere based on elegant pink tone. This color scheme was surprising, as Peter Rabbit has a strong image with it being pale blue from his trademark jacket.

Shikama: When Peter Rabbit celebrated its 120th anniversary, we created a new collection of materials, where we made the bold decision to use pink as the base color, which some people within our company commented that it was a great way to complement Peter's blue jacket. Following this line of thought, we decided to use pink as the base color for the Karuizawa store, but the interior is designed with a modern touch to avoid becoming too sweet.

──Please tell us if there are any particular points you have focused on, such as "This is how the original work was incorporated in the design "?

Shikama: As there are many stories related to food in the original story, we picked up art and texts related to food for the stores. We also created ribbon-patterned art for both Karuizawa and Kyoto stores, in which we hid some birds from the Peter Rabbit books, so please look out for them.

──You mentioned earlier you wanted to increase the number of touchpoints. For example, have you tried to prepare photogenic spots that would be a picked up in social media?

Shikama: On the outside wall of Karuizawa store, there is a large wall art of Peter and an apple. Many people take pictures there.

Appearance of 『Peter Rabbit™ SHOP&BAKES』Karuizawa store

Harada: Also, perhaps because Karuizawa is a summer resort destination, some people discovered the store while walking their dogs, and many enjoyed taking pictures of their dogs and Peter.

──How has the reaction been?

Harada: The response has been better than we expected, with many people lining up from opening day. Another interesting fact of our store is that more customers visit on weekdays, compared to other IP stores.

──What type of customer group do they have the most?

Harada: This store attracts a wide range of visitors, from groups of students visiting Karuizawa on school trips to inbound tourists and elderly customers. We also have many young customers who may not have been exposed to Peter Rabbit before.

Shikama: The pink exterior also seems to attract many people entering the store wondering what the store is about. I feel that a lot of young people are interested in the store in this way.

Eri in a border dress who speaks with a smile

──Please tell us some of the special features of the Kyoto Ninenzaka branch as well?

Harada: This store is a renovated traditional townhouse with a Japanese atmosphere. While making the most of the building, Ms. Shikama successfully combined the classical taste of Peter Rabbit with the latest trends. The theme color is also different from Karuizawa, with purple, green and other shades that evoke the elegance of Kyoto.

Shikama: There was a rule that stores opening on Ninenzaka were not allowed to have colored signs or fancy decorations, so within these restrictions, we had to try to create a Peter Rabbit feel. At the entrance of the Kyoto store, customers are welcomed by a large ornament recreating a scene from Peter Rabbit. It makes a great impact as a photo spot.

Peter Rabbit photo spot installed at the Kyoto store

Harada: Due to space issues, the Karuizawa store couldn’t allow eating and drinking in-store, but the Kyoto store has an eat-in space. There is a Japanese-style garden-like space inside the store, which also expresses the world of Peter Rabbit. It is a space where you can relax while enjoying the baked goods with some tea or coffee.

Eat-in space at Kyoto store

──Apparently, there are some Kyoto-limited items with flower motifs. It is different from the items at the Karuizawa store, and oddly has a very Japanese atmosphere to them.

Shikama: The limited-edition products are decorated with flowers such as lily of the valley, cherry blossom, morning glory and dianthus, combined with Peter's artwork. It certainly has a Japanese feel to it.

“Mini tote bags ¥1,650 each ※Designs exclusive to the Kyoto store, from right to left: cherry blossom and dianthus

“Mini tote bags ¥1,650 each ※Designs exclusive to the Kyoto store, from right to left: cherry blossom and dianthus

──Could you tell us about the most popular products?

Harada: There is a wide selection of Peter Rabbit character items, but the shop’s original items are by far the most popular. In addition to the items common to both stores, there are also a number of items exclusive to each Karuizawa and Kyoto store.

Shikama: We also have a variety of teas with different flavors and aromas, each with a different packaging design. Hope you enjoy looking at the variety.

Can of teas ¥864 each

Can of teas ¥864 each

(To be continued to Part 2)

Text by Yuki Nomoto
Photos by Osamu Hoshikawa
Translated by Yumi Hasegawa

(TM) & © FW & Co.,2024