Valextra has opened its U.S. distribution gates as it looks to potentially triple its global sales over the next few years.
For the last decade, the Italian leather goods brand — known for its understated, unfettered aesthetic — has exclusively retailed in the U.S. through Barneys New York. Beginning last month, though, it widened its distribution to include luxury specialty stores nationwide, as well as Bergdorf Goodman.
In doing so, Valextra no longer retails at Barneys’ Madison Avenue flagship — but has continued selling at its Chelsea location, as well as in Barneys’ San Francisco, Beverly Hills and Chicago stores and on its web site.
“We could not have three locations within one kilometer,” said chief executive officer Sara Ferrero, noting that Bergdorf Goodman and Valextra’s own pocket-sized Madison Avenue boutique now represent the brand’s distribution uptown, while Barneys and accounts for a downtown New York presence.
Ferrero labeled both department stores as “important partners” for Valextra. “We have arrived at a moment of development for the brand to go one step further — having a U.S. exclusive would have become penalizing for the entire brand,” she said.
The label has also added a select 13 other local luxury stockists nationwide including Mitchell’s in Greenwich, Conn., and A’maree’s in Newport Beach, Calif.
“Valextra is a little bit of a secret jewel and we think that is the strength of the brand, the DNA of the brand is understated luxury. Our aesthetic is meant to be very pure, very graphic and quite restrained, but at the same time we are a company that is competing across the world with very strong brands so it is important to be able to tell a story and start talking with the customer,” Ferrero said.
The company says that its year-over-year sales increased 40 percent in 2016, but declined to reveal hard numbers. The firm will celebrate its 80th anniversary in 2017.
This year brought a new store on London’s Mount Street, which opened on Sept. 6. In the last few weeks the store’s sales have outpaced projections by four times, according to Ferrero. Another Valextra boutique will open at Shanghai’s Plaza 66 in December.
Said Ferrero of Valextra’s global positioning: “We are absolutely benefiting from a trend of consumers looking for individual products that are less ubiquitous.”