A designer and retail strategist at Gensler, the commercial design titan, Isabella leads creative teams on projects ranging from experiential flagships to seasonal pop-ups. She is also a philanthropist and entrepreneur, having started DanceBlue – a fundraising effort that culminates in a 24-hour dance marathon benefiting pediatric cancer care – and Amberlee Isabella Home, an e-commerce stationery and home decor brand.
Isabella sees a wealth of opportunities for brands that put people first, but cautions that installations built only as Instagram bait won’t deliver long-term returns. “As a stand-alone concept, I’m not sure how much ‘Museum of ______’ is going to work,” she says. “But the idea that you can go through a place, have an experience, and not have to buy something in the end – I think that has legs.”
She also forecasts the success of direct-to-consumer brands relative to their publicly traded counterparts. “Having control of your brand, and being smart and purposeful with wholesaling – brands who do that will reign supreme,” she predicts. “What we need to see next are new benchmarks of success. Dollars per square foot doesn’t work anymore, but there’s no alignment because there’s such a wide range of sophistication in how brands are capturing data. When it’s up to the brands to define, private companies will have an edge.”