The owners of Odin, the influential Manhattan men’s boutiques, are spreading their wings with projects, including a third Odin location, Odin fragrances, a consulting business, and a contemporary label they are launching in collaboration with Duckie Brown.
Owners Edward Chai and Paul Birardi are also undergoing a downtown real estate shuffle that involves absorbing Den, their rotating single-brand concept, into the Odin flagship on Lafayette Street, while Oliver Spencer moves from the West Village into the old Den space on East 11th Street, and a third Odin launches in the old Oliver Spencer space. (Chai and Birardi are investors in Oliver Spencer as well.)
Den, which has featured a string of emerging brands such as Tim Hamilton and Engineered Garments, will have a clearly defined space and separate entrance on Lafayette. The next brand to be showcased there will be Nice Collective.
The third Odin, opening in early September, will have 600 square feet at Greenwich Street and West 11th Street, and extends the chain to five units, including Den and women’s store Pas de Deux, which Chai and Birardi opened last year.
“It’ll have the same feel as on Lafayette, while incorporating the neighborhood charm,” said Chai.
The original Odin landed on East 11th in 2004, and grew fast from a neighborhood favorite to an international men’s wear destination. Last year, a vendor survey found Odin to be the third most influential men’s store in America after Barneys New York and Fred Segal.
“Eddy and Paul are incredibly talented, because they’ve turned Odin into this very visible store in terms of fashion, and they obviously know what they’re doing, because they continue to do well,” said Daniel Silver of Duckie Brown.
As a result, Chai and Birardi have formed a consulting firm called Foundry NYC with beauty entrepreneurs Kelly Kovack, co-founder of Rescue, and Larry Paul, co-founder of Sharps. The firm will advise clients on design, merchandising, store concepts, branding, financial strategy and more.
The inaugural project for this group was the creation of Odin fragrances — three unisex scents, which will retail for $110 a bottle, starting in October.
But Chai and Birardi say Den, their rotating single-brand store, was the catalyst to becoming consultants.
“Really, when we were doing Den, what we offered designers — if they wanted it — was information on how sales were going, who was buying what, sales trends, missed opportunities,” and designers were using the space as a lab for developing their own retail concepts, new categories and other projects, said Birardi. “So Den was evolving to become what we’re doing with Foundry.”
Chai and Birardi are also collaborating with Duckie Brown designers Daniel Silver and Steven Cox on a classic collection called Edward, which will launch exclusively in Odin stores at contemporary prices.
“We’ve sold Duckie Brown for four seasons and we carry their Florsheim footwear now,” said Birardi. “It’s really resonating with our customers. We all really get along. And Edward started from a conversation with them about what we felt was missing from the store.”
They dubbed it Edward because each of the four claimed a family member with that name and felt it sounded distinguished.