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Tim McElwee and Cyia Batten want to shake up the accessories e-commerce model with WeTheAdorned — and they’ve enlisted Sarah Jessica Parker to help.
This story first appeared in the January 16, 2014 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
The fashion-plate actress will serve as curator for the Web site, which McElwee and Batten cofounded and will launch this spring. WeTheAdorned will have a membership format, with premium and nonpremium options, and is currently accepting early sign-ups. A onetime annual fee (the exact amount is still being tested) will give members access to pieces designed exclusively for WeTheAdorned by Pamela Love, Dannijo, Fenton and Fallon, Erickson Beamon, Lulu Frost, Lizzie Fortunato, Paige Novick and more. Prices are expected to range from about $50 to $1,000.
Every Monday a new item — curated by Parker — will be introduced, and premium members will get a 24-hour head start. Each item will be produced in limited quantities, depending on the item and designer.
“We might only make 200 units of one piece,” McElwee said of the venture, which has been self-funded thus far. “We’re providing a platform for designers that allows them to have a destination where they can sell their best pieces in a way that they can make money. We’re marketing the designers, not WeTheAdorned; it’s a really big differentiator.”
McElwee and Batten asked the designers to “go wild” and make their “dream piece.” They wanted to give talent free rein to create something that was brand-consistent — but without the constraints often placed on them by larger retailers. Once a piece sells out, it will never be distributed again.
“This market has not been touched at all,” McElwee said. “If you think about the market, at the top you have Tiffany & Co. and Blue Nile and then you have BaubleBar and BeachMint.”
WeTheAdorned is seen as fitting between the two groups.
“This is not a diffusion [site],” McElwee said. “This is not Missoni for Target.”
Everything is manufactured in America, using materials such as bronze, 24-karat gold, rose gold and rhodium plating, as well as diamonds, emeralds and other semiprecious and precious gemstones.