Eva Mendes could never had known her New York & Co. gig, which in 2013 started when she became brand ambassador and design consultant, would grow to encompass Eva Mendes shops-in-shop, additional product categories and 11 collections per year, up from the initial two.
Sales have reached an inflection point — $50 million. “We’re going to double it,” said Greg Scott, chief executive officer of New York & Co. “We’re going to do $100 million. We have such a great partnership with Eva. The customer keeps responding and there’s a great opportunity to move forward.”
New York & Company is doing just that. Moving forward with 25 new Eva Mendes shops-in-shop in existing stores, bringing the number to 50.
“We’re also opening five to 10 stores in premier shopping centers around the country in former Limited locations,” Scott said. “The stores will be fronted by the Eva Mendes collection. We’re taking a big real estate jump today. We keep trying to find new ways to grow the brand.”
So far, new stores have opened at Dadeland Mall in Miami; Miami International Mall; Pentagon City mall in Arlington, Va.; Tysons Corner Center in Tysons Corner, Va., and Westfield Valley Fair mall in San Jose, Calif.
Mendes’ real estate in the new stores is double the size of a typical shop-in-shop. “The expanded assortment is dependent on the store,” Scott said. “Valley Fair will have Eva Mendes and Eva Mendes petites. In Dadeland, we’ll have the party assortment. We’re doing this with a very fine toothcomb. We’ve been very particular about the collection.”
Mendes said she has little time for anything but her daughters and New York & Co. “I’m raising my two little girls,” she said. “I’m trying to figure out that balance like most working mothers.
“This is going to sound super corny, but this doesn’t really feel like work,” Mendes added. “They could probably not pay me.”
“What’s so great about working with her is that she has a really strong point of view of what the brand should be,” Scott said. “Remember when I told you about the turbans?” Mendes said. “A year later, they were all the rage.
“She’s always been on the pulse,” Scott said.
“Part of what makes New York & Company such an amazing partner is, you might think something I suggest is wacky, but they never make me feel ridiculous,” Mendes said. “At the first meeting, I bought a black-and-white striped bodysuit to Gregg’s office.”
“We never used to sell full skirts or high-waisted skirts or bodysuits at New York & Company,” Scott said. “They’ve been in the Eva Mendes collection since the beginning.”
The spring line is one of Mendes’ largest, consisting of 90 items, compared with 69 a year ago.
Dresses have always been the lynchpin of the collection; three pieces each bring in more than $1 million. “Eva’s created dresses that have been in stores since the beginning,” Scott said. “We see growth in petites and going from size 16 to 20. We also see growth in handbags, footwear and sweaters.”
From the spring lineup, Mendes said, “I’m really crazy about this banana leaf print. It really moves me emotionally. Maybe something connected to my Cuban culture.
“I feel like I’m closer to the customer, but I don’t know her,” Mendes said. “She keeps me on my toes. She wants to take a risk, but still have something that’s somewhat safe, something that wont be too much of a departure for her. I’m always trying to find that balance. I read comments. I love getting her feedback, even if there’s something she didn’t like.”