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Evin Cosby’s new TriBeCa boutique, PB & Caviar, has a name just begging for a punch line. But Cosby, 32, isn’t joking about fashion, and even her comedian father, Bill, has refrained from any cheap laughs. The shop at 88 Thomas Street carries labels such as Anna Sui, Vanita Rose, Melissa Odabash, Interluid, Fourtys and Ingwa Mekero. Organic beauty products, home decor, children’s clothing and toys also adorn the airy 1,700-square-foot space.
This story first appeared in the August 5, 2008 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
WWD: Why did you decide to open a store?
Evin Cosby: At first, I thought I was going to be a designer, and then I decided I prefer shopping for people. I love all sorts of designers and finding new designers. I wanted to combine them so everyone doesn’t have to look the same.
WWD: Did your father offer you advice?
E.C.: When I was at FIT, he was telling everyone that I was majoring in folding napkins. I told him, ‘That’s not true and it’s very hard.’ When I told him I wanted to be a stylist, he was like, ‘You don’t want to be a stylist. It’s a challenging job and you don’t really get your name out there. And you don’t want to be mistreated by a lot of people. Just start your own business, and then you will have long-term success.’ I told him that that was another option, but I needed money. Obviously, my parents have been really supportive. And friends of my family have been really supportive in getting my business going — helping out as financial backers and advising me.
WWD: Was there one thing in particular that you never imagined when you went into this?
E.C.: There were a lot — being ambushed by new designers and showrooms. New people want you to see new things and if you don’t like it…I had a hard time in the beginning saying ‘No.’ But then I was thinking, ‘Evin, you know what, you don’t want ugly things in your store, so you’ve got to speak up.’
WWD: What do you think will be most popular in terms of women’s appeal?
E.C.: I have this line coming in from London called Sestra Moja. It’s beautiful. It’s made of cotton. It’s comfortable and well-embroidered. The colors are creamy, gray and soft pink. There is only one other store that carries it. The prices are about $345 to $500.
WWD: I heard you had a memorable trip to Las Vegas recently.
E.C.: As I was walking out of the convention center, I came across these high-heeled shoes for babies from Heelarius, a Seattle company. They said I was the first person to buy their shoes. People have been calling [asking] for these shoes and I haven’t even opened yet. I’ve already sold 36 pairs.
WWD: Growing up, you spent time in Las Vegas?
E.C.: My dad had a contract with the Hilton hotel, so we would spend two months in Las Vegas. There would be other performers, too, and my Dad would come on last. By the time he would come on stage, I would fall asleep. I would be sent to the dressing room of whomever he was performing with that night. Diana Ross and Tina Turner — those are two I remember. And Sammy Davis Jr. That was back in the Eighties. That was a long time ago.