It’s a rare treat when you find a retail experience that excites you with seemingly simple items like toothpaste. Anyone who’s had a ball at the original Babalu Miami location on the famed 1111 Lincoln Road, one of the world’s most renowned retail and dining spots designed by Herzog & De Meuron, understands Babalu is no ordinary store.
We like it because it’s a glamorous conceptual twist on the ubiquitous hotel sundries shop, the curated selection begins with classed-up, sassed-up basics at a high design level —think crème de la crème of categories as common as toothpaste and chewing gum. All perfectly finished off with Babalu’s signature deluxe gift wrap program. If Babe Paley and the other society swans got together to open a convenience store, this would be the place.
It brings out the kid in the candy store as a true point of discovery with a continually evolving brand assortment and merchandising concept. A typical visit may offer Missoni, Comme Des Garcons, Alexandra von Furstenberg and Paul Smith, among other coveted brands, as well as emerging and exclusive designers. Merchandise weaves in organic apothecary products, resort wear, fine and costume jewelry, hair accessories, small leather goods, travel, sunglasses, fragrances, books, house wares, pet items, beach towels and gifts from big-ticket purchases to a little something special for one’s host.
Owners Greg Melvin and Paolo Ambu also use their talents to create the signature Perfume Bar featuring the whos-who in the industry: Humiecki & Graef, Carner Barcelona, Montale, Mona di Orio, Mancera, Maison Francis Kurkdjian, which is one of the most sought-after scents by the same nose behind Dior and Gaultier fragrances,Mark Buxton, who created Comme des Garcons’ perfumes, and Amouage, which was custom made for the Sultan of Oman. Scented home lines include Fornasetti Profumi, Costes, Ex Voto Paris and Europe’s oldest candle maker Cire Trudon.
John Rawlins, the former creative director for retail design at Bergdorf Goodman who designed the original Babalu, was brought on board to also design the Palm Beach location. And shoppers aren’t the only ones enjoying themselves. Melvin and Ambu have made it their mission to source stylish, fresh, often wild, wares. They couldn’t be happier partaking in a lifelong shopping spree.
Power-packed grab-and-go sophistication, for you, the sassy kid in the candy store.