Gryson in Expansion Mode

The luxury handbag and accessories company is actively looking for a third location in Manhattan, with plans to open five to six stores over the next two years.

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Gryson’s got a lot going on.

This story first appeared in the December 31, 2013 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

The luxury handbag and accessories company recently opened its second store, an 800-square-foot unit at 355 Atlantic Avenue in Boerum Hill, Brooklyn. It’s continuing its collaboration with HSN and launching a partnership with Dunlop. The brand is also actively looking for a third location in Manhattan, with plans to open five to six stores over the next two years before moving on to enter the Los Angeles market.

Gryson’s original TriBeCa location is thriving and the Brooklyn unit is off to a strong start, which has given owners Joy and Pete Gryson the confidence to open another store in the next 24 months. The company is looking at real estate in NoLIta, Bleecker Street, the Upper East Side and Upper West Side for the third location.

“We’re a very downtown organization,” said Pete Gryson. “Brooklyn is the natural extension of downtown. We hang out there and live in TriBeCa.”

Steven Allen, a neighbor in TriBeCa, has a store on Atlantic Avenue in Brooklyn; Jonathan Adler’s store is across the street. “It’s a great block,” Gryson said. “It used to be all antiques stores and is slowly converting to up-and-coming-retailers. There are five or six antique stores left on the block” for ambiance.

Joy Gryson, who was director of design and development for Marc Jacobs handbags and accessories, launched the brand with Pete in 2000. Prices range from $475 for a cross-body to $895 for a satchel.

The couple is financing the expansion themselves. “Joy and I have been making it on our own since we left the corporate world,” said Gryson, noting that he and his wife continue to work as design consultants. “That helps support our personal brand initiatives,” he said.

So do partnerships. The HSN collaboration was launched in the fall with a dedicated brand, Oh, named for their daughter, Olivia Harris. “They asked us to bring our core brand onto the network and that’s not something we felt comfortable doing,” Gryson said. “We created this brand made from Italian materials and with a strong point of view. It’s very edgy. HSN wanted to trade up in price point.” The collection sells for $300 to $400.

The brand Joy Gryson X Dunlop “grew out of Joy’s love of tennis,” Gryson said. “They wanted a little bit more fashion flair and a high-end product. Our intent is to have some of the product on [professional] players when they walk onto the court.”

Gryson, which eschews large logos in favor of letting the designs speak for themselves, is mainly a wholesale brand, but he sees that changing. “Our business is still traditionally a department store business and we identify that as something that’s required,” he said. “I think the future of all retail is more direct to consumer. You have a better opportunity to be successful. Everybody’s moving in that direction as fast as they can.

“We believe in freestanding stores,” Gryson added. “I’m already negotiating with partners in China, Japan, Singapore and Indonesia about opening Joy Gryson outposts. We’ll open in about 20 countries around the world. We’re working toward that aggressively.”

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