By  on February 5, 2007

Me&Ro is adding some retail jewels to its repertoire.

Late last year, in a bid to double the company's sales to over $40 million at retail, designer and chief executive officer Robin Renzi appointed Rachel Barnett as the fine jewelry company's first-ever chief operating officer.

Barnett, who hails from Tommy Hilfiger USA, where she was senior vice president, will execute the opening of three to five retail stores, which are in addition to the $20 million Me&Ro's existing three outposts in Los Angeles, Miami and New York.

Slated to open in the next two years are shops in cities such as Las Vegas, San Francisco and Boston. The stores ­— which will range from 700 to 1,200 square feet — will offer Me&Ro's signature pieces, from 10-karat gold lotus earrings to the firm's silver flattened bangles, at price points ranging from $150 to $40,000.

According to Renzi, Barnett's hire could not have come sooner.

"I needed someone who has that business experience. We were bursting at the seams," said Renzi, who now is able to focus more on design. To wit, since Barnett started, Renzi designed a one-of-a-kind collection using white opals from Bahia, Brazil, for the firm's stores. In 2005, Renzi collaborated with costume designer Colleen Atwood on the hair ornaments for the film, "Memoirs of a Geisha," leading to an exclusive collection with Barneys New York.

Last September, Me&Ro tripled the size of its production studio, moving to a bigger space on Crosby Street in Manhattan.

While Renzi is delighted by such success, she is insistent on regulating the company's growth for the sake of the brand and its loyal customer base.

"We want to grow in a way that represents the brand well," said Renzi. "Our slow, cautious growth has always been the game plan. We don't want to be on every corner. We want to retain the feeling of exclusivity."

As far as wholesale distribution, Me&Ro is sold in over 250 doors in the United States and internationally, including Neiman Marcus and Montaigne Market in Paris.Barnett will also oversee the brand's first-ever advertising initiative.

"All of our advertising in the past has been grassroots and marketing to current customers," said Barnett. "We have not yet formulated a plan, but are looking toward print [advertising] for fiscal '07."

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