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NEW YORK — The trend toward customization has hit the accessories business.
This story first appeared in the March 30, 2010 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
Badichi, a new boutique in SoHo that opened this month, is offering a unique service: customized belts.
“Today, you can customize anything,” said Yinon Badichi, managing director of the store at 159 Prince Street. “The belt is the last touch of an outfit and most fashion companies don’t pay attention to it. They just put it aside.”
Seeing this as an opportunity, Badichi took a 600-square-foot space between West Broadway and Thompson Street and opened his first U.S. store.
Customers can choose from around 100 different colors and textures of leather, most of which comes from Italy, and over 500 buckles, some of which are hand-crafted. There are buckles sporting precious stones, Swarovski crystals, skulls, handcuffs and hand-painted flowers.
Once a leather and buckle are chosen, a specialist measures the customer, cuts the leather to fit, attaches the buckle, adds the rivets and, within two minutes, the shopper is walking out with his or her individually designed belt. The store can fit any size man or woman, from a waiflike model to a beefy football player, Badichi said.
Most of the belts retail for around $60 but can go up to $400 if exotic skins are used or one of the hand-painted buckles is chosen, Badichi said. The store also offers a small selection of leather bracelets. “We wanted to keep it affordable,” he said.
Badichi said he has spent his career in the fashion industry but knew he had to find something unique to set himself apart. “To succeed, you have to have the passion and fill a need,” he said. Before starting this chain, he worked at the Joseph Kaufman outerwear business and his family has operated a custom belt retail chain in Israel for the past eight years. The Israeli business operates under the Avnet name but Badichi opted to use his surname for the U.S. business.
He declined to provide a volume projection for the U.S. business, saying: “We have great potential to make a lot of money, but we’re in a recession, so we have to be patient.”
He said he’s hoping to open additional stores in the U.S. and is looking for space in the Meatpacking District as well as Union Square. “We believe we can operate in every city,” he said.