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NEW YORK — Hermès is venturing to the west side of Manhattan today, opening a pop-up shop at the Time Warner Center in Columbus Circle with an omnichannel tie-in.
This story first appeared in the October 1, 2013 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
Coinciding with the launch of the brand’s first app, Silk Knots, the Silk Bar pop-up, will be open through Oct. 31 and will carry scarves — including the Maxi Twilly line introduced last week, which retails for $290; ties, and enamel accessories. This is Hermès’ first Silk Bar in the U.S. The concept had a month-long run in Taipei, Taiwan, this April.
An oval-shaped kiosk located in the lobby of the building will have a “youthful, fun” feel, possessing a “diner aspect,” said Robert Chavez, president and chief executive officer of Hermès USA, in an interview at the company’s 59th Street headquarters here. A retro diner was the inspiration, and an orange neon “Diner” sign that says “Hermès” will be affixed to the front and back of the kiosk.
“This is not like walking into our Madison Avenue store,” Chavez said of the installation, which is intended to give consumers a “sense of urgency” to visit the shop this month. He also said the highly trafficked location will help attract new as well as existing clients who might discover the silk collection in a different way.
A “menu” — or a neon chalkboard — will list the “Daily Silk Specials” and options for sale. According to Hermès senior vice president of communications Peter Malachi, the decor was conceptualized by Bali Barret, women’s universe artistic director at the company, who wanted to “shake up the image of Hermès a little, serving up a more playful and casual atmosphere.”
Consumers are urged to use the Silk Knots app while at the Silk Bar. The app educates shoppers about the brand’s scarves and is comprised of four categories — knotting films, knotting cards, video albums and collection highlights. Users are encouraged to post images of themselves in Hermès scarves.
Chavez called digital “the craftsmanship of the future,” and said 33 percent of the company’s media spend will be devoted to digital next year, up from 10 percent currently. He declined to reveal the firm’s total media spend.
Hermès was relatively early to e-commerce, unveiling a site in 2002 that sold scarves, ties and enamel accessories. The digital flagship added apparel two years ago, except for runway and editorial pieces.
Of all the brick-and-mortar locations in the U.S. — 27 boutiques spanning 16 states — the e-commerce site saw the company’s best increase in terms of sales last year.
“What the Web site did for business was open the door to millions of people,” Chavez said. “A year after it launched [in 2003], we were already shipping to all 50 states.”