A new store within a store specializes in watches but offers more than just timepieces
When Trey Bailey, CEO of Bailey’s Fine Jewelry, saw an opportunity to expand his Raleigh, N.C., flagship store, he knew he wanted to provide customers with a watch-shopping experience that exceeded all expectations. The swanky space he opened last winter inside Bailey’s Village District location (one of its six North Carolina stores) did the trick—and then some.
He christened the shop-in-shop Fox & Bailey, a tribute to his grandparents Clyde Sr. and “Mama” Ann Bailey, who opened the business in 1948, and to Fox Jewelers, a historic jewelry store the Baileys acquired in the 1950s.
The space features an impressive product selection, including the best in men’s watches—think Rolex, Cartier, Patek Philippe, and Omega—along with masculine fine jewels from David Yurman, John Varvatos, Marco Dal Maso, and Roberto Demeglio.
Then there’s the shop’s distinctive style. Its interior features reclaimed wood floors, chesterfield leather loveseats, cowhide wingback chairs, and rows of warm wooden watch displays. The rugs add color and texture with shades of orange, blue, and tan, while exposed brick walls lend the space a sense of history, reminding you that this store has been serving the Raleigh area for 75 years.
The final element is the store’s feel-good vibe. A custom record console keeps the music streaming with a playlist that ranges from Frank Sinatra to Sia, a high-end bourbon bar keeps the libations flowing, and the showcases are stocked with plenty of cool, unexpected products from brands including Wrensilva (record consoles), Vintage Electric Bikes, and Bailey Hats (no relation to the family business).
Trey Bailey spoke to JCK about the details that set Fox & Bailey apart.
Why did you want this part of the store to feel different from the rest of Bailey’s Fine Jewelry?
We had an opportunity to take over the tenant next to us. This time, we didn’t know if we needed the space. But we decided if we take it, we should do something really different. We came up with a list of ideas, and the one for Fox & Bailey won out. We wanted to create a unique environment where watches would be displayed differently. Our motto was: If it looks and feels like a jewelry store, then we failed.
What are your favorite decor choices for Fox & Bailey?
We found 180-year-old wood floors. We brought in bricks from a century-old building in Charleston. We built a bar out of those wood floors. We added liquor lockers for our clients. It feels like a men’s club, but women are enjoying it just as much as the men.
Why add touches like the record player?
We were just a little bitty store when my grandparents started it; we did watch repair and a little bit of jewelry sales. My grandfather wanted more traffic, so he became a record dealer. They played music outside to drive traffic. Then, in 1964, the Beatles happened. We became the most popular store in town. My grandmother always says the Beatles made Bailey’s. So we wanted to pay tribute to that with the record player and music.
What’s one part of the store that you love to share?
Behind the bar, there’s a private room that we decided to make for women specifically. We originally thought we’d do a man cave in the back. But my wife, Marci, took the space over and created a place where women can hang out. It’s got hidden doors as well as a watch vault in there.
What reactions have you received from customers?
One of the best compliments we’ve gotten so far is that every time people come in, they see something new or different. They might notice the stuffed fox in the corner of the bar or the carved longhorn spray-painted gold. There are people in here just watching the game and hanging out. We’re hosting events and bringing in watch clubs to use the space for meetings and offering it as a safe space to meet and transact. It’s about creating memories and sharing our store with everyone.
(Photos: Sam Grist IV)