NEW YORK — Aurélie Bidermann may be the epitome of a Parisian woman — effortlessly chic with that French sense of je ne sais quoi — but the jewelry designer’s sights are set on the U.S.
Next week, Bidermann will officially open the doors of her New York City boutique — an endeavor several years in the making. “I’ve almost chosen the location,” Bidermann told WWD in October 2012. “I’m hesitating between the West Village, which is very charming, and SoHo, more crowded and touristy.”
Earlier this year, the designer revealed that she’d found the ideal location — a 700-square-foot nook on Lafayette Street in SoHo. With opening day slated for Aug. 11 and a 10-year lease signed, Bidermann is ready to fully discuss details of her new outpost, as well as her overall plans for the American market. “My focus now is the U.S. and my American business,” she said. “It gives a chance for the customer who can’t come to Paris to have access to the collection….It took me a year to find the right place. One day, I was walking on Lafayette Street and realized it was the perfect place for me. It’s edgy, and at the same time, you have the coolness of SoHo with all those restaurants. It represents the energy of New York.”
With the address, 265 Lafayette Street, Bidermann counts Supreme, American Apparel, Rachel Comey and G-Star Raw as neighbors, as well as hot spot eatery Delicatessen. The interior reflects Bidermann’s Paris flagship, while still catering to the American customer. “The store is going to be the same thing as the Paris store, but since I’m in New York, I wanted to add an American vibe,” she explained. “It’s going to have a late-Sixties, California vibe. It’s like a big loft.”
In tandem with the new boutique, Bidermann has opened her first U.S. showroom just a few blocks away from the store at 401 Broadway. The 1,000-square-foot space will house four full-time employees — three dealing with sales, and a coordinator between the showroom and store.
The decision to focus on the U.S. market was an easy one for Bidermann upon researching her sales demographics. The collection is currently sold Stateside at Barneys New York, Jeffrey, The Webster Miami and Kirna Zabête, as well as additional fine boutiques and specialty stores. “Through my distribution, I can see that I have a very amazing response from the U.S. clientele,” she said. “And through my Web site, I was seeing a lot of commerce in the U.S. It’s a very successful market. My U.S. sales were doing really well and I wanted to push for more.”
The U.S. is Bidermann’s second-largest market after France, experiencing 50 percent growth per season, and accounting for 30 percent of global sales. According to Bidermann, the brand’s Paris store generated 30 percent of the company’s revenue in its first year. The designer expects the New York City store’s sales to surpass that by yearend
Since launching in 2004, Bidermann has spent the past decade building the company. Her first collection was quickly picked up by Colette in Paris, and in 2006, her distribution grew to include additional specialty boutiques, such as Montaigne Market in Paris and London’s Dover Street Market. In 2012, the designer opened her own store located in Paris’ Saint-Germain-des-Prés district. “It was incredible,” Bidermann said of opening her first store. “People really wanted a place to have the full Aurélie story. When you have your own store, you can show the right universe — the right location and merchandising, and the whole collection.”
Last year, Bidermann added fine jewelry to her repertoire, in November launching 40 pieces, priced from $3,000 to $75,000. Bidermann estimates that fine jewelry presently accounts for 40 percent of the brand’s sales and anticipates that number to grow to 60 percent by the end of 2015. Bidermann’s collection has been worn by the likes of Beyoncé, Sarah Jessica Parker, Jessica Chastain and Emma Watson, the latter of whom sported Bidermann’s signature lace cuff to the New York premiere of “Noah.” Bidermann has also created exclusive runway pieces for Jason Wu in fall 2010 and Proenza Schouler in spring 2011.
Next up for Bidermann: Los Angeles. The designer has been scouting locations for her third store, eyeing a 2015 opening.
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