LAS VEGAS — Expect nothing short of sparkle and glam from Sarah Jessica Parker’s latest business move.
This story first appeared in the April 20, 2015 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
The Strip totals 24 pieces ranging from $350 for styles like an almond-toe pump named Lady to $545 for the satin Wittman adorned with Swarovski crystals. The line launched Friday with the opening of a two-day pop-up on the main level of the Aria’s Shops at Crystals.
“It seemed right,” Parker told WWD. “It was amusing and the collection is some of our essential silhouettes that we’ve now been producing for about a year, but we’ve used fabrications that very much tell the story of what people imagine Vegas to be at night — fantasy and whimsy and decadence and luxury and sparkle.”
It could be a boon for SJP Collection as it grows with broadened distribution and possibilities for category expansion. Parker said the company expects to announce another retail partner in the coming months.
“The dividend of this experience is that other retail partners see all these sparkly, beautiful shoes and they’re like ‘We’d like some for ourselves,’” she said.
Parker and Malkemus launched SJP collection in February 2014 and remain its sole owners. They began selling exclusively in Nordstrom for about a year.
“We launched this brand and I had very specific ideas about it — color as a neutral, single sole and not betraying it, that the shoes all be made in Italy… and that [the shoes] be really comfortable,” she said. “And what we’ve learned is those ideas, for the most part, really seem to be connecting with the consumer. We’ll have shoes that are misses and it’s mysterious, sometimes inexplicable when you love a shoe so much. But the beauty is, as we have more and more retail partners, we can try things and what worked with Nordstrom might not work with Zappos. What worked with Zappos might not work with the Neiman Marcus customer.”
Parker is adamant on the point about manufacturing in Italy, saying the idea of moving it elsewhere to lower price points and broaden the customer base hasn’t been a consideration.
“Not for a second,” she said. “We’ll go close the doors before we do it anywhere else. We are only doing it in Italy…. Consumers are really, really smart. They pick up a shoe and they look and [if] it says ‘Made in Italy,’ I think that’s a different experience for them.”
As for the SJP Collection, while there’s no shortage of potential deals to be done that would propel the company into more categories, it’s taking a slower tack. SJP Collection is already in candles and bags, the entire line of which is set for a revamp to take it to a level that “we’ve really not gotten there enough” with, she said.
“I think in the other areas of growth, people have been hospitable about that, but we’ve all seen mistakes that have been made when you grow too fast,” Parker said. “I think it’s really important to shore up our base in the footwear category first. It’s really fun to lay in bed at night and dream about the possibilities, but the truth is I want to get this right and as tempting as all the other offers, I think we want to spend a little bit more time in the shoe category and the bags, which seem to go hand in glove so to speak, and then I think we’ll look at possibilities for growth, but very carefully.”