Under president Charles Jayson, Judith Ripka, the 34-year-old jewelry brand, has an active agenda.
Jayson, who joined last December, aims to establish Ripka as an international player, expand its retail presence in the U.S. and license several categories. He hails from Andrew Marc, where he served as president and chief executive officer, and before that was president and ceo of Dickson North America.
Jayson said he is looking to increase Ripka’s business by 15 percent each year for the next three years. He said the firm’s own retail stores account for 35 percent of volume, which he declined to divulge. However, industry sources estimate Ripka’s retail volume between $150 million and $200 million.
“Judith Ripka’s popularity has grown over the years,” Jayson said. “It has supported her family and now future generations as well. As a company, it has continued to exceed its goals, which will allow for further expansion of retail stores and international distribution to world-class retailers.”
Ripka operates 14 stores in the U.S. in such markets as Aspen, Colo., Beverly Hills, Las Vegas and New York. The firm will open a 15th door next month in Dallas’ Highland Park Village shopping center and will unveil three stores a year until it has “a retail store in every luxury market,” he said.
Already a presence in Russia, Mexico, the Caribbean and Canada, Ripka is also pushing into the Middle East through a distribution plan in Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and Qatar, slated for 2009.
Additionally, the company is planning on licensing such categories as watches, eyewear and fragrance, although it declined to specify when and with whom.
“We need to be in Asia and the Middle East, and we need to get into licensing, and Chuck is the guy who is going to get us there,” said Ronald J. Berk, ceo at Ripka. “In terms of expansion, there’s a global shift taking place and we have to follow the money. In the U.S., there’s an absence of that bridge or aspirational customer and sales are taking place on the higher-end market all over the world.”
In an effort to attract the luxury consumer, Ripka has started to expand its higher-priced offerings. The firm’s 18-karat Couture Collections feature pieces flanked by pink opals and sapphires as well as emeralds and white moonstones. The new Aurora Collection, for example, retails from $5,000 for a gold link necklace with gemstones to $85,000 for a gold and diamond necklace. The current collection also includes a one-of-a-kind diamond Truffle necklace retailing for $350,000.
Among the firm’s wholesale accounts are Bloomingdale’s, Saks Fifth Avenue and Neiman Marcus.
“The luxury customer is always going to be spending,” said Berk. “And we need to provide that customer with fabulous product and focus on that part of the business. There is increased competition for luxury dollars. With couture brands offering high jewelry, we need to make the buying experience rewarding and give the customer something special to make them buy us.”
Jayson said he was enticed by the firm’s family-run atmosphere. Berk is designer Judith Ripka’s husband and two of her three sons, Brian and David, serve as president of the brand’s wholesale division and as chief operating officer, respectively. Jayson was also impressed with the loyalty of Ripka customers.
“Certain brands have the ability to grow in different ways,” Jayson said. “In the case of Judith Ripka, it has already established itself as an important luxury accessory to women in the U.S. Now it’s also growing internationally and her designs and aesthetic have a natural ability to be applied to other products that her customers have requested.”
There'll be no rest for those headed to Europe for men's, as Paris just closed the gap with Milan. According to a provisional calendar released by the Chambre Syndicale, Paris Men's Week will now open a day earlier on January 16. See new highlights on the official lineup on WWD.com. #wwdnews #wwdfashion (📷: @kukukuba)
BREAKING: Jonathan Saunders is leaving @DVF. The designer has resigned from his position as chief creative officer of Diane von Furstenberg, the company said in a statement on Friday. At the time of his hire, von Furstenberg said Saunders’ arrival symbolized and facilitated her stepping back from the day-to-day duties that occupy the work of a full-time creative director. The British designer joined DVF in May 2016 and was in charge of all product categories. #wwdnews
For @versace_official’s spring ad campaign, the brand emphasized the archival prints from the spring tribute collection dedicated to the late Gianni Versace. Closing out the show were five of Gianni’s favorite models: Cindy, Naomi, Carla, Helena, and Claudia. Bowing on December 18, the new campaign is yet another tribute to supermodel-dom as the images by Steven Meisel are fronted by @iamnaomicampbell, @cturlington, @gisele and more. #wwdfashion
Four-time Oscar-nominated actress Annette Bening has been waiting 20 years to play Gloria Graham in "Film Stars Don't Die in Liverpool," which will be released on December 29. The movie about Graham – a Hollywood star known for her controversial relationship with a younger Englishman named Peter Turner – is based off a memoir Turned wrote. "She felt vulnerable to him, because she loved him, she really did love him. And anyone that we really truly are in love with, we re vulnerable to in a very deep way," said Bening. Read our full interview with the modern icon of an actress on WWD.com. #wwdeye (📷: @ninebagatelles; Styled by @cristinaehrlich)
The crisp white button down: a staple that can be dressed up or down and accessorized throughout the decades. Here, on a Art Basel-goer in 2017 on the left and on the iconic Audrey Hepburn in “Roman Holiday” in 1953 on the right. #tbt #wwdfashion (📷: Andrew Morales)
Known for her work with @victoriassecret, 25-year-old model @georgiafowler is raising her profile in Hollywood. Fowler stars in @vincecamuto’s holiday campaign, which launched in partnership with “Pitch Perfect 3.” “Almost every shoot with Vince Camuto, I’ve had to face a fear…It was definitely a challenge. I’m so grateful for it, though. I’ve always wanted to be a pop star, so that was the perfect chance,” Fowler said. Head to WWD.com to read about Fowler’s experience modeling, including at the #VSFashionShow, and her relationship with Nick Jonas. #wwdeye (📷: @jilliansollazzo)
EXCLUSIVE: Huda Kattan just became the first beauty influencer to land a major beauty deal. Kattan's business, @hudabeauty, has received a minority investment from private equity firm TSG Consumer Partners. The brand, which industry sources say is on track to do $200 million in retail sales for 2017, will receive support on product, retail and geographic expansion through the deal. Get all the details on the deal and read @_a_collins' interview with Kattan on WWD.com. Link in bio. (📷: @jgreenery) #wwdbeauty #wwdnews
Peruvian model @juanaburga_official – who is known for walking the runways of @rodarte, @viviennewestwood and @torybuch – is making the move to the big screen with drama “Los Últimos.” The film premiered in Argentina in November and arrives in the U.S. and Europe in 2018. On making the switch from modeling to acting, Burga told WWD: “It’s a completely different thing – a lot of people think it’s similar or try to connect things, especially like getting used to the camera or being looked at all the time or playing these different characrers, but film is a completely different story.” #wwdeye (📷: @jgreenery)
London’s newly opened @designmuseum will look back on the life and work of Azzedine Alaïa in a show that the designer helped to curate before he died of heart failure last month. The retrospective, which Alaïa had worked on with Mark Wilson, chief curator of the @groningermuseum, will look at the impact of his work worldwide. The show, “Azzedine Alaïa: The Couturier,” will run from May 10 to October 7. Read more about the exhibit on WWD.com #wwdnews #wwdfashion (📷: @zefashioninsider)