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Cord Cuts Ribbon on First Store

NEW YORK — Barry Cord finally has a retail home to showcase his quirky style, and the jewelry and accessory designer hopes it will be the first of 20 stores to open in the next five years.<br><br>The designer, who is in the midst of shedding the...

NEW YORK — Barry Cord finally has a retail home to showcase his quirky style, and the jewelry and accessory designer hopes it will be the first of 20 stores to open in the next five years.

The designer, who is in the midst of shedding the Kieselstein moniker from his brand name, on Tuesday opened its first company-owned store on West Broadway between Prince and Houston Streets in SoHo here. The 5,000-square-foot, two-level store is called Barry Cord Kieselstein Cord, a name that will be used until shoppers get familiar and comfortable with Barry Cord.

“I had been looking for space for many months,” said Cord, as he set up counters and put the finishing touches on displays. “This store will set the stage for our expansion worldwide.”

The company has estimated sales of about $50 million and Cord said he is looking to reach annual sales of about $4 million for the flagship. The brand is sold in about 40 locations and has in-store shops in Neiman Marcus units stores and at Bergdorf Goodman.

After more than 25 years in the business, Cord said he felt strongly that he needed to open his own stores. There are four other Kieselstein-Cord signature stores, but these are licensed operations. A few years ago, Cord had signed a lease for a 1,000-square-foot store on Madison Avenue, but decided not to take the space. Last year, the company opened a small test store on Fifth Avenue during the holiday season, which performed better than expected and convinced him that it was time to open a permanent location in New York, Cord said.

Cord signed the lease on the SoHo stores less than five weeks ago, and he quickly got to work freshening up the interior and painting the facade. He decided to keep some of the wood paneling and other interior designs from Rizzoli Bookstore, the previous tenant, but added some new marble tables and glass display cases, as well as green suede paneling.

While it carries a wide range of merchandise, the flagship is designed to have an open and uncluttered feel. The first floor carries the bulk of goods, including jewelry, belts, tabletop items and handbags, some of which have Cord’s signature animal motifs. Prices range from about $150 for some of the sterling jewelry pieces up to $30,000 for gold jewelry with precious stones. The average retail price is about $5,000.

The second floor, which will open in a few weeks, will carry Cord’s new furniture line, which will only be available at the store. It will also now house his showroom, as well as an art gallery, called Spider Gallery, which will have its own curator and feature works from several artists.

Cord has built his business without the help of a financial partner or ownership by a major fashion house, and he has only one license for eyewear. Cord said he is looking to enter new categories such as footwear and fragrance, and his new line of timepieces is set to launch in the spring.

Although the retail business has been tough in recent months, Cord said he was willing to take a chance with the opening of his flagship.

“I took a big gulp when I signed the lease,” he said. “But I always try to be bold.”