NEW YORK — Brooke Richman in August will unveil Coop & Spree, a 1,000-square-foot store at 202 Elizabeth Street here. The new retail concept — it has nothing to do with poultry, as its name suggests — will be focused on contemporary women’s apparel and accessories with special services and lots of digital bells and whistles.
Richman, 27, didn’t start out wanting to be a retailer. The University of Pennsylvania graduate got her first job in the analyst sales and training program at Citi, but soon realized she wanted to work in fashion.
Drawing on the internships she had at Penn — stints with Stuart Weitzman and IMG Fashion — she got a job at Theory as a men’s wear buyer, ultimately moving to women’s wear. “I realized I wanted to work for myself with multiple brands,” she said. “I love interacting with customers. I wanted to open my own store.”
Richman felt she needed a stronger business background, so she enrolled at Columbia Business School. Graduating in May 2013 with an M.B.A. focusing on retail and entrepreneurship, she wrote the business plan for Coop & Spree during school as an independent study project. Andrew Rosen, Theory’s cofounder, who was the keynote speaker at the Retail & Luxury Goods Club conference last year that she chaired, became a mentor, advising her on everything from real estate to the company’s name. Rosen told Richman not to make the name gender specific in case she wanted to sell men’s wear one day.
Coop and Spree are the names of two family dogs from Richman’s childhood.
She is targeting a 21- to 35-year-old Millennial customer and her aspirational mom with brands such as Helmut Lang, Alice + Olivia, Milly, 10 Crosby Derek Lam, Cut25, Doma, Hudson, Kain, La Cage, Rebecca Tailor, Torn, Unreal Fur, AG jeans, Sachin + Babi and Nonoo. There are also emerging designers “you can’t find in brick-and-mortar stores,” said Richman. For example, French label American Retro was found on Instagram along with 3X1 denim and EF, delicate jewelry with tiny diamonds.
“Designers have ample e-commerce distribution and are interested in brick-and-mortar stores,” Richman said.
“People want to find new things and explore in NoLIta,” she added. “Ron Herman and Madison in Los Angeles are the aesthetic I’m going for.”
Services key to Richman’s concept will include same-day delivery in Manhattan and a stylist in residence, who will be available by appointment. Closet consultations and packing services will also be offered. Richman said the fee for the services will probably cost about $100 an hour.
Richman, who wants to infuse the brick-and-mortar experience with digital technology, will be using custom software that will include a styling tool and a catalogue of inventory. Tablets found throughout the store will be used for clienteling. Customers will be able to snap themselves in the photo booth and then send pictures to friends via social media or stream the photos to their Twitter accounts. Photos can also be posted on the store’s inspiration board. “We’ll pick the most stylish customer of the week to engage our users,” Richman said. “We want an interactive, entertaining environment.”
Taking the final spot on the mens’ portion of New York Fashion Week calendar next month will be none other than @tomford. Though he’s shown his men’s wear in New York in the past, this will mark the first time the designer has shown his men’s collection alone during New York Fashion Week: Men’s. His runway show will debut on February 6 at the Park Avenue Armory. #wwdfashion
London-based couture house @ralphandrusso has certainly been in the spotlight, having its dresses worn by @beyonce, Angelina Jolie, Meghan Markle in her engagement photos and more. For couture, Tamara Ralph focused on ornamentation — think: feathers with chain mail, jet embroidery and clusters of pearls and crystals. See the rest of the collection on WWD.com #wwdfashion #couture (📷: @giovanni_giannoni_photo)
Minnie Mouse celebrated her 90th birthday by getting her own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. For her celebratory luncheon, @coach’s creative director @stuartvevers dressed her in a custom made prairie dress, complete with Vever’s take on the polka dot – black sequined versions – under a cropped motorcycle jacket. The designer also put his own mark on Minnie’s classic red shoes, infusing the color with sparkles and adding some Coach crystals. “We chose colors that were very Minnie and also represented quintessential Coach elements,” said Vevers. #wwdfashion #nationalpolkadotday (📷: George Chinsee)
@nickjonas is unveiling his first-ever apparel collection through a partnership with John Varvatos. The limited-edition capsule, which makes its debut in spring, also marks the first time the designer has collaborated with anyone on a line. “The process in working with Nick is amazing. It’s inspiring to be around someone who is not only connected with the trade that they do, but also with what’s happening in the environment around him, and how that connects to what we do with style,” said Varvatos. (RG: @johnvarvatos) #wwdfashion
@margotrobbie steps out onto the red carpet wearing @miumiu. The actress is nominated for “Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role” in “I, Tonya” at the #SagAwards. (📷: Stewart Cook) #wwdfashion
For @massimogiorgetti of @msgm, the Nineties are his favorite decade. “They had a huge impact on my personal growth. What I like of the Nineties is that they are not so precise in terms of style as other decades…there was actually a bit of everything,” he said. As seen on MSGM’s Spring 2018 show: tie-dye and a bit of grunge, two styles that are synonymous with the decade #wwdfashion #wwddecades (📷: @kukukuba)