NEW YORK — If Kwiat can make it here, it can make it anywhere.
This story first appeared in the August 28, 2008 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
So believes the 101-year-old diamond jewelry firm, which is opening its inaugural flagship at 725 Madison Avenue on Monday.
The 1,000-square-foot store will be the only venue to offer the entire range of Kwiat styles, from simple diamond studs to elaborate, red-carpet-worthy diamond and gemstone necklaces that retail in the millions of dollars.
“It’s a huge step for us,” said Kwiat’s chief financial officer Greg Kwiat. “Madison Avenue is the grandest stage for jewelry in the world.”
Kwiat said the firm took nine months to find the most appropriate space. There are no plans at this point to open additional stand-alone boutiques, but there are plans to open additional in-store shops, a strategy the company began last year. Kwiat jewelry is sold in 250 doors across the U.S. and 40 points of sale throughout Canada, the Caribbean and Russia. The Middle East and Asia represent two new markets for Kwiat.
“One of the great things about the store is that we can showcase the range of what Kwiat can do,” the cfo said.
The boutique features classic diamond line jewelry, bridal jewelry, styles from the Vintage collection and one-of-a-kind pieces. Prices range from $1,500 for a small pendant to $1.5 million for a one-of-a-kind piece.
Architecture firm Barteluce Architects & Associates designed the space to reflect the brand’s “timeless elegance” theme with 18-foot-high ceilings in satin nickel and glass display cases with smoky blue wood and a large white marble staircase. There is a private room for VIP clients and a video screen will feature changing images of celebrities such as Halle Berry, Natalie Portman and Hilary Swank wearing the brand’s jewelry.
And while some might consider this an inopportune time to take such a risky step, Kwiat said the top end of the jewelry business is still doing well despite the rocky economy.
“So far, we feel that the high end of the market has been strong and New York City is certainly a unique market in the U.S.,” he said. “We feel it’s still a good time to be opening in these economic conditions.”
Kwiat wouldn’t divulge sales projections for the store or the company’s overall volume, but anticipates the store will increase the overall business by from 10 to 20 percent. Actress Jennifer Hudson, who wore Kwiat jewelry when she was a contestant on “American Idol,” will host the boutique opening party on Sept. 3.