LOS ANGELES — The Brentwood Country Mart has the feel of small-town shopping — a post office, shoe repair and a yoga studio — and that was just what Jigsaw London, the U.K. women’s chain, was looking for as the locale for its...
LOS ANGELES — The Brentwood Country Mart has the feel of small-town shopping — a post office, shoe repair and a yoga studio — and that was just what Jigsaw London, the U.K. women’s chain, was looking for as the locale for its first U.S. store, set to open Monday.
The fact that celebrity sightings are common, with Gywneth Paltrow, Steven Spielberg and Brooke Shields among the regulars, doesn’t hurt either, but it wasn’t the main allure.
“What we like about the Country Mart here is that it’s not this huge great place,” said John Robinson, the company’s founder and chairman. “It’s quite quirky and quite small.”
Jigsaw London is known for its U.K.-made goods that are feminine, classic and produced in muted and soft colors. The target customer is a woman 25 to 50 years old who appreciates fashion. Prices are moderate by U.S. standards. The closest thing to the retailer in the U.S. is Anthropologie.
There are fine linen pants, skirts and dresses ($75 to $178), jersey tank tops ($39) and angora lambswool sweaters ($78). Higher-end pieces such as suede jackets ($485) and a leather biker jacket Scarlett Johansson owns ($739) are also in the mix. All prices listed are at retail.
Robinson, 56, his wife Belle, 39, and their five children were here as the finishing touches were being put on the 1,500-square-foot space. In addition, Jigsaw Jr., created by Belle, has taken an 800-square-foot space next door and is to open the first week in September.
“We’re a family business, and this is a family area,” Belle Robinson said. “We have a lot of repeat business,” and customers “are interested in fashion but not a slave to the catwalk.”
John Robinson has taken the company from its beginnings in 1969 as an importer of sheepskin coats from Turkey to a company that pulls in about $110 million in sales annually. There are 42 Jigsaw London stores in the U.K. and Ireland. Kew, Jigsaw’s lower-priced (about 25 percent less) sister chain, launched nine months ago and operates 18 stores.
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