The New York-based specialty store is attempting its second retail rollout. In the last two months, Bendel has planted accessories-based stores in Columbus, Ohio; San Diego, and Boca Raton, Fla. Its fifth and final location, at least for now, opens next week in Aventura, Fla. The stores will have a similar look to the original Fifth Avenue location, where whimsical, festive product is displayed among brown pin-striped walls.
Bendel’s first ventured out in 1996 when the store unveiled a plan for a 50-unit, $500 million chain. But due to poor performance, owner Limited Brands Inc. pulled the plug on the deal two years later, closing five of the store’s then six locations, leaving New York to stand-alone.
But this time is different, contended Bendel’s executives. Instead of re-creating smaller versions of the New York store across the country — complete with apparel, intimates and cosmetics counters — the new Bendel’s outposts are accessories-based and offer Bendel’s branded product exclusively.
“We’ve always been famous for accessories in our store and a little over one year ago we started testing Bendel’s branded accessories in the store and got a great response,” said Ed Bucciarelli, president and chief executive officer of Henri Bendel. “So we thought, what if we tested the concept outside of New York, would our customer still like it? A lot of our traffic is from the core New York girl, but also from tourists and international traffic. And what we learned by opening these stores is that the brand has great equity around it. It’s a big world out there.”
The new accessories stores will offer Bendel’s branded handbags, small leather goods, luggage and jewelry, as well as scarves, gloves and belts. Bucciarelli noted he wanted to “stretch the boundaries” of how the brand defines accessories to also include gifting items, such as iPod docking stations, tea sets, candles and a small sampling of personal care items ranging from perfume to personalized cosmetics.
“We’re focused on selling things that have great emotional content because our brand has great emotional content,” he said.
Buchiarelli declined to specify his financial expectations for the stores, saying only that the units are “hitting their plans,” but he was quick to note the four new stores are not the first on a long list of locations slated for the future, but simply testing sites to gauge the plan’s success.
“We’re excited but it’s important to punctuate that it is a test concept and we are using these stores to learn about our capabilities in doing brand-focused accessories and gifting pieces,” said Bucciarelli, who wouldn’t say whether this could lead to other locations. “We have no grand plan, no roll-out initiatives.”
“These collections continue to build on that vision, empowering differently abled adults to express themselves through fashion,” said @tommyhilfiger of his line of adaptive apparel, which launches today. The line consists of 37 men’s and 34 women’s styles based upon the pieces from the spring Tommy Hilfiger sportswear collection. #wwdnews
“Stranger Things” is getting a new cast member for season 2. Meet @sadiesink_, the 15-year-old who will be joining the Netflix series for its new season. You may recognize her from “The Glass Castle” with Brie Larson and Woody Harrelson, but the Texas native’s next role goes in an entirely different direction. She describes her character, Max, as “a rough and tumble skater girl [who] becomes friends with the boys at school.” The second season debuts on October 27. (📷: @jgreenery) #wwdeye
Amid the Harvey Weinstein controversy, there’s another sector that’s being put under the spotlight for sexual abuse: the modeling industry. While rumors about abuse and sexual harassment of female and male models — and the photographers, agents and others who perpetrated it — have circulated within the fashion world for years, model @cameronrussell started posting stories from models on Instagram last week about abusive situations they’ve encountered — from sexual harassment and molestation to attempted rape. Over 75 have weighed in so far. Read more on WWD.com. Link in bio. #wwdnews
To celebrate its 16th anniversary, @dylanscandybar tapped designers and celebrities to create mosaics out of candy. The mosaics will be auctioned off to support the philanthropic cause of each participant’s choice. Pictured here is the mural created by @aliceandolivia's Stacey Bendet. For a first look at some of the other artwork being unveiled tonight, go to WWD.com. #wwdeye
The annual Veuve Clicquot Polo Classic in Pacific Palisades this weekend drew Kate Hudson, Tracee Ellis Ross, Laura Dern and more. See pictures of the star-studded event on WWD.com. (📷: @chelsealaurenla) #wwdeye
In his new book “Hollywood Royale,” Andy Warhol’s Protégé Matthew Rolston celebrates the Eighties revival of Hollywood glamour. Featuring more than 100 portraits taken by Rolston from 1977 to 1993, the book contains photos of icons like Michael Jackson, Cyndi Lauper, and @drewbarrymore, pictured here in 1991. “Hollywood Royale,” out today, will be accompanied by an exhibition opening at Los Angeles’ Fahey/Klein Gallery on March 1. #wwdeye
"Nowadays when life is not so happy with everything going on in the world, I think people come to me for a little bit of whimsy and color and fun." - Designer Rebecca De Ravenel on her cult-favorite jewelry line. (📸 : @vsteves) #wwd40
“Everyone is talking about how the retail industry is struggling, but I think it’s an incredible time because brands who are doing something different and innovative are setting themselves up for the future,” said @adamgoldston, who founded the luxury athletic brand @apl with his brother @ryangoldsten. The Goldston’s are part of WWD’s 40 under 40: a group of industry notables. See the rest of the list on WWD.com. (📷: @vsteves) #wwd40
@eyeswoon blogger Athena Calderone debuted her first-ever cookbook, “Cook Beautiful,” which is heavily centered on the presentation and visual expression of food. Pictured here are her miso glazed carrots from the book. Get the recipe on WWD.com. (📷: @johnny_miller_) #wwdeye