NEW YORK — It all spawned from a little something called The Morning After Bag.
Six years later, Rebecca Minkoff is one of the fastest growing brands in the industry, forging full speed ahead into “lifestyle brand” territory with three new categories — jewelry, eyewear, and cold weather and scarves — that chief executive officer Uri Minkoff projects will help the company reach $60 million in wholesale sales next year.
“As we’re growing our accessories business, there is so much opportunity, especially with the major department stores. There’s often a void between a more generic brand and a luxury brand, and we see product openings to leverage our aesthetic within those categories,” Minkoff said. “We can offer great value and design and we fulfill a lifestyle vision. They’ve [department stores] highly encouraged us to go into these categories, and we think we can take some good market share.”
In her showroom here, founder and designer Rebecca Minkoff said her new jewelry range speaks to a broad scope of customer, as it will appeal to the “girl next door” just as much as a “fashion girl.” Offerings range from $50 for studded ear buds to $350 for an ornate, perforated metal necklace.
“I love mixed hardware. There’s a lot of the two-tone effect, so she doesn’t have to worry about mixing and matching. It hits many demographics. If my girl can’t understand a studded cuff, I still want her to be able to buy into the brand.”
Other design elements in the full collection — which spans six categories and about 75 pieces — are beading, pavé, primary colors and intricate metal work.
“If I’m going to do this, I don’t want it to look like anything else,” Rebecca Minkoff said, holding up a pair of sunglasses — a Wayfarer silhouette with a silver inlay and small hexagonal metal studs at the temples. “They are downtown with a definite point of view.”
The sunglass range, born from a design collaboration with Shane Baum, contains eight styles that will retail from $125 to $250. Silhouettes will come in black, tortoise shell, white and cobalt, all with metal studs, grommets, twisted metal bridges or two-tone rivets.
The line will make its debut at the designer’s spring runway show on Sept. 12 during New York Fashion Week, alongside current offerings which include a full range of handbags, apparel and footwear, a category that’s also growing.
Sister and brother team Rebecca and Uri Minkoff emphasized that footwear is a big initiative for the company, and the number of styles offered will double to 25 come spring — including platforms, sky-high wedges, lace-up styles and flats in neon brights, suede and exotic-embossed leathers, all retailing from $125 to $350.
As for handbags, according to Uri Minkoff, the family-owned business’ bag category has doubled in terms of department store distribution, bringing the number of doors to about 170 for the upcoming season, including Saks Fifth Avenue, Nordstrom, Neiman Marcus and Bloomingdale’s. He also expects the apparel category to triple, and Web site sales and business in Canada have doubled this year as well. Plans are in development for the first freestanding Rebecca Minkoff store in New York in 2012.
This summer also saw the re-launch of the brand’s Minkette blog and introduction of two new Tumblr blogs. The new social destinations include a “Love Notes” Tumblr personally updated by Rebecca Minkoff and “Minkoff Inspirations,” a daily diary featuring the people and imagery that inspire the designer in her workspace.