From store openings and new lines to creating their own social networking sites, handbag firms are on the move.
HOORAY FOR HOLLYWOOD: Befitting its new Beverly Hills retail home, Judith Leiber has had some work done — and gave the big reveal this month with the opening of a 2,800-square-foot flagship on Rodeo Drive.
The accessories firm’s store is the result of a brand review started after Schottenstein Stores Corp. acquired a majority stake last year. Spearheaded by Kramer Design Group, the store design is intended to evoke whimsical sophistication to appeal to longtime Judith Leiber fans and first-timers.
The white Thassos marble facade with hammered stainless steel and polished chrome-framed windows leads to a light-filled gray front room that showcases opening-price-point accessories, including casual evening and day items and costume jewelry, which is new for the company. The circular Crystal Room, which is inspired by the brand’s Chocolate Bar clutch, contains faceted crystal fixtures and showcases Judith Leiber’s staple minaudières.
Prices start at $195 for costume jewelry pieces and bags and go up to $5,295 for an elaborate crystal or exotic skin style.
“You have to stay true to what the heritage of the brand is and also figure out how to move it forward,” said Mary Gleason, Judith Leiber’s president, who estimated the store would generate $4 million to $6 million in first-year sales.
“We have always had a relationship with Hollywood and the red carpet, but we never had a presence here that identified the brand.” The look of the Beverly Hills stores will possibly lend itself to the firm’s other full-price U.S. stores, which are located in New York; Costa Mesa, Calif., and Las Vegas.
— Rachel Brown
BAG OF FUN: The Kensiegirl girl will soon be outfitted from head to toe.
The teen apparel brand, owned and operated by Liz Claiborne Inc., is signing a licensing deal with Trebbiano to design and manufacture handbags under the Kensiegirl brand name. The collection will feature contemporary styles for young women ages 14 to 24 and will hit department stores in the U.S., Canada and Puerto Rico for spring. Prices will wholesale from $21 to $38. Jewelry also will be an addition to the licensing deal.
“Providing a handbag and jewelry offering to our Kensiegirl consumer is a natural next step as we continue to grow in the contemporary sector,” said Eric Karls, president and chief executive officer at Kensiegirl. — Caroline Tell
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