When HMKM was commissioned to develop a new retail concept for iconic British preserve-maker Tiptree, the inspiration to open the first Tiptree Store & Tea Room in Chelmsford, England, was found close to home.
The Wilkin family have been farming in the Essex countryside for centuries, and the reputation they’ve built over that time—for authenticity, superb quality, and independence—formed a natural foundation and inspiration for the project.
The result—a timeless British classic gets a modern twist. A welcoming blend of simplicity and warmth, Tiptree’s first store and tea room in Chelmsford draws inspiration from the classic British farmhouse, resulting in a rich language that shapes the customer experience. HMKM created a confident new look for the beloved British brand, playing on the principles and values that have made it a home-grown international success story.
A few thoughts on the project from HMKM (more details here):
The Wilkin & Sons brief called for a retail experience that would reflect the Tiptree brand’s core values, and engage the customer through in-store storytelling. The design team took cues from the British farmhouse, with a blend of modernity and welcoming warmth—and used that language to shape the aesthetic of Tiptree’s latest shop and tea room, in the bustling market town of Chelmsford.
Occupying a two-floor site in the town’s Bond Street development, the store blends retail and dining into a seamless whole, with an interior whose simple, modern lines are brought to life by tactile finishes, witty details, and an engaging graphic narrative.
Integrated seamlessly within the space is a new graphic language created by HMKM telling the Tiptree story. The rich heritage has been translated through a historic typographic timeline that utilises the brand’s vintage imagery. The story of provenance is told through evocative hand-drawn illustrations by Michael Hill.
A wallpaper was created from historic adverts, from the Tiptree archive. The integrated point of sale has been lovingly designed, ensuring the product story is clearly told.
On arrival, customers are greeted by a lively, orchard-inspired retail space, studded with trees and anchored by a dramatic central wall devoted to Tiptree’s iconic jams and preserves—including James Bond’s jam of choice, Little Scarlet.
Slatted oak storage units alternate with apple-green shelving, nestling under large trestles heaped with the brand’s wide array of products, while a playful market trolley encourages customers to explore and interact. Overhead, a copper mesh ceiling raft framed in oak provides a striking contrast to the space’s classic bentwood chairs and strawberry-red swan-neck lamps.
Upstairs, burr oak, duck-egg wall panels and crackled pale-green tiles combine to create an elegant tea salon designed to evoke memories of traditional farmhouse parlours. Flooded with natural light, a blend of quarry tiles and burr-oak flooring plays backdrop to comfy tub chairs upholstered in soft creams and moss-green tones.
Tiptree’s Chelmsford store unveils a confident new look for this much-loved British brand, while staying true to the principles and values which have made it an enduring homegrown success story.
See more in the video below and on HMKM’s website: