Nordstrom wants the fashion industry to know how serious it is about the designer business.
Two years ago, the Seattle-based retailer hired Jeffrey Kalinsky, founder of Jeffrey New York and Jeffrey Atlanta, as a part-time consultant and bought a majority stake in Kalinsky's business. Nordstrom said on Tuesday that Kalinsky will take on a larger role "guiding the overall vision for the designer experience" at the specialty chain and revealed that it had significantly increased its ownership of Jeffrey.
Details of the purchase agreement were not disclosed. Industry experts estimated Nordstrom paid $40 million to $50 million for its initial Jeffrey investment in 2005.
Kalinsky, who is moving from a part-time advisory position to a hands-on leadership role, will remain president of Jeffrey stores. When he was initially tapped by Nordstrom, Kalinsky was given the title of director of designer merchandising for women's and men's. In an exclusive interview on Tuesday, Pete Nordstrom, president of Nordstrom full-line stores, said Kalinsky's new title had yet to be formulated. For his part, Kalinsky said, "I'd love to have sort of a lead merchant kind of role. Very few stores have a position like this where you get to deal with men's and women's across all categories."
Nordstrom has been moving to double the space devoted to designer merchandise by remodeling the units with a focus on designer products, which is about one-third of its 98 full-line stores. "Our customer wants and expects the best the market has to offer," Nordstrom said. "When we have more floor space it gives us a bigger arena to pursue this."
Nordstrom declined to say which women's lifestyle departments, if any, are being downsized, explaining, "There's always an ebb and flow." On the main floor, Nordstrom gained more space for designer handbags by moving hosiery departments to the second level.
"Space isn't so much the issue," Nordstrom said. "It's how we pursue the most coveted brands our customers want."
That's where Kalinsky fits in. Nordstrom wants to further leverage his relationships in the designer arena. "It's difficult to do business due to the competitive landscape in some markets," Nordstrom said, referring to retailers such as Neiman Marcus and Saks Fifth Avenue, which encourage designers to make exclusive deals. "We never tell people who they can and can't sell to. We say, 'We want you to sell to us, too.'"Nordstrom said 93 percent of the sales increases in stores where the designer offering was significantly expanded came from existing customers.
"We have a younger, more aspirational customer," he added.
"I've opened vendors' eyes to what we're capable of at Nordstrom," said Kalinsky, who will be traveling to Seattle one week per month to work with buyers, store planners, visual display and marketing staff.
"I'd also like to wait on a few customers at the Seattle [flagship] and see if I can mentor the sales associates," he said. While Nordstrom is known for its attentive service, Kalinsky's sales techniques are admired by the larger retailer. Kalinsky is fond of telling people that he sold his first pair of shoes when he was five years old — a pair of glass wedges for $50 — at his father's Bob Ellis shoe store in Charleston, S.C.
Both Nordstrom and Kalinsky are open to expanding Jeffrey. "We'll look at that down the road," Nordstrom said. "The opportunity for Jeffrey now is to make an impact on our business."
That's why Nordstrom's increased its stake in the retailer Jeffrey. "It's so that I can spend as much time as possible working at Nordstrom," Kalinsky said. "To help facilitate that, they were interested in taking a larger stake in my business."
Working with Kalinsky has been "inspiring and motivating," Nordstrom said, adding, "He's our resident rock star."
Nordstrom is also keen on having a presence in Manhattan. Hiring Madison Retail Group to find a location for a Manhattan flagship "is a signal that it's imminent," Nordstrom said. "We're going to end up being here. We have a sense of urgency about doing something sooner rather than later."
The company, which has been casually looking for real estate in Manhattan for 20 years, is considering neighborhoods such as the East Side, Upper West Side, Battery Park, the 34th Street corridor. "It's hard to imagine doing something less than 200,000 square feet," he said. "There's no point in coming here unless we can deliver the store."
“What he has done at Vuitton is really exceptional,” said @gameofthrones’ actress Gwendoline Christie on @mrkimjones’ final show for @louisvuitton. “He has rebooted luxury in terms of making it commercial, viable and contemporary. And most importantly artistic. He has never compromised his artistic vision for the sake of commodity.” (📷: @zefashioninsider)
After seeing a demand for men’s wear from its customers, British contemporary women’s wear label @ariesarise has added a men’s wear component and will launch a unisex collection with @mrporterlive. The 20-piece collection includes jackets, denim, logo T-shirts and more with deconstructed ‘90s vibes. Set to launch on January 18, you can shop the pieces on Aries’ website and on mrporter.com. #wwdfashion
“And so spending so much time with a character who thinks like that, inevitability you try and analyze yourself and go back and think about your own demons and dark chapters that you had in your life,” says @thedanielbruhl of his role in TNT’s “The Alienist.” The show, set in the Gilded Age of New York, also stars Dakota Fanning and Luke Evans. Head to WWD.com to read about how 39-year-old Brühl prepared for the role and why he thinks the show is so relevant to today #wwdeye ( 📷: @Eriktanner)
Now that Celine Dion’s collection has topped $10 million in sales, the pop superstar, fashion icon and newly-minted industry player is eyeing growth in Asia. Read the full report by @tiffanyap, link in bio. #wwdnews #celinedion
“My personal philosophy to beauty is paying attention to oneself. I love to be outdoors, lots of fresh air, trying to take care of yourself as best you can. I always notice that comes through,” says Felicity Jones, the global face of @shiseido-owned @cledepeaubeauteus, which launches today. Head to WWD.com to read more about the actress’ love for beauty and how she prepared for her new role in “The Basis of Sex,” playing the young Ruth Bader Ginsburg. #wwdbeauty (📷: @dandoperalski)
Among the familiar faces at @off____white’s show was a surprise figure: Japanese artist @takashipom, pictured here on Wednesday morning. Other show-goers included @jerrylorenzo, who spoke about his upcoming project: a @nike collaboration for back to school, with designs inspired by his childhood on the West Coast. Sitting in the front row were Future, Don Crawley, @miguel and more. See the rest of the photos on WWD.com #wwdeye (📷: Stephane Feugere)
According to @laurentsai, former “Terrace House: Aloha State” cast member, she didn’t know she was auditioning for the Japanese version of “Real World.” “I was telling a couple of my friends and someone’s like, ‘That sounds a lot like Terrace House.’ I was like, ’No it can’t be.’” Turns out, it was. But Tsai isn’t just a reality star — she’s an illustrator who has worked with Starbucks Japan and most recently, she’s dipping her toes into the fashion world. Head to WWD.com to read about her time on the show, modeling and her art. #wwdeye (📷: @danieldorsa)
More changes are coming to New York Fashion Week: Beginning with the spring 2019 collection, @alexanderwangny will move his New York show to June from September, adopting a biannual schedule with collections shown in June and December. Additionally, the @cfda is planning for an official summer/winter fashion season taking place as soon as June and December 2018. Read more about the upcoming changes on WWD.com. #wwdnews #wwdfashion (📷: @slovekinpics)