When niche brands are hard-hit by a recession, what is a niche retailer to do? “There is very little margin for error in this economy,” says Robin Coe-Hutshing, founder and creative director of Studio at Fred Segal in Santa Monica, Calif. That means many indie retailers are looking within for innovation, revving up in-store events and displays to offer consumers a sense of newness and present their brands in the most enticing light.
“There are ways to take everyday [beauty] products and present them in a new way,” says Claudia Lucas, senior vice president and general merchandise manager of beauty for Henri Bendel, citing showcasing oldie-but-goodies in fashion displays as one example. Lucas notes that clients are bored with the now ubiquitous sale sign, which gives her an opportunity to attract them with innovative displays. She hopes an April exhibit on the history of fragrance will pique interest in the category.
Space NK founder Nicky Kinnaird is doubling her in-store efforts and hosting educational events to create a “compelling customer experience,” she says, while Bluemercury is keeping its spa menu fresh with seasonal offerings created around new product launches.
“It’s fun for our clients,” explains founder and ceo Marla Malcolm Beck. “They want something new.”
Stocking mainstream items is usually a no-no for cutting-edge indies, but Beck and Coe-Hutshing are bending the rules this spring with an eye toward the bottom line. Coe-Hutshing is carrying more of her best-selling products by weeding out the very niche and applying a laser focus on inventory levels. “They were window dressing,” she admits. “If someone wants to buy a product, we damn sure won’t be out of it.” She also plans on stocking some big-brand items, including Lancôme’s Juicy Tubes, in U*tique, a beauty vending machine launching in February. “There are hero products in those brands that will really sell like hotcakes in our store,” she says. Bluemercury and Studio also are traveling a nostalgic route and hosting upscale Tupperware-style beauty parties at private residences. Aiming to please, Coe-Hutshing jokes: “We’re on wheels if we need to be.”
@kith is moving into children’s. The men’s and women’s streetwear brand has launched Kidset, a Kith kids line located in New York at 64 Bleecker Street. The line includes mini versions of staple Kith pieces like the Astor bomber jacket and the Kith box logo sweatshirts, along with a wall that can display up to 120 pairs of shoes from @adidas, @newbalance, @timberland and more. #wwdfashion
“I just wanted to create this fully rounded character, but I do think what excited me most was just the opportunity to give a group of people representation that I feel needs it. I like to do characters in projects that stand for something and Karolina definitely does, so that was really exciting to me,” @ginnygardner says of her new role in @hulu’s “The Runaways.” Gardner plays Karolina Dean, a queer superhero, which is a rarity for @marvel. Read more about Gardner’s character on WWD.com #wwdeye (📷: @dandoperalski)
@heriethpaul and @gracebol have a moment on the @victoriassecret fashion show 2017. See every look from the runway on WWD.com. Link in bio. (📷: @giovanni_giannoni_photo) #wwdfashion #victoriassecret #VSFashionShow
“Azzedine has been one of the biggest influences in my life. He has always been such a strong, loving, fatherly figure to me. I call him Papa. His designs are indescribably unique, they are pieces of art. He knew how to make the female form look its loveliest. I have so many memories of him; my favorite might be during my first show with him in Paris. He liked me and he wanted to help me get more work. He called all his friends at Kenzo and Comme des Garcons, and asked them to book me. They said, ‘But she can’t walk!’ And he said, ‘but she has such a great ass!' His friendship and support has been the great privilege of my career. I can't imagine life without him. Repose en paix mon Papa.” - @stephanieseymour tells @wwd. #wwdfashion (📷: @steveeichner) #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa, flanked by two of his closest friends, models Stephanie Seymour and Naomi Campbell.
He designed Seymour’s dress for her 1995 wedding to Peter Brant, and treated Campbell (who famously called him Papa), like a daughter. For more on the legendary designer, tap the link in bio. #wwdfashion #alaia #azzedinealaia