LONDON — Monica Vinader has become the latest British brand to land in Covent Garden, which is aiming to capture a young — and sophisticated — consumer with one-off shops rather than high street chains.
The jewelry brand has opened its fourth London store on the newly pedestrianized King Street in Covent Garden. Spanning 465 square feet, the store is the latest move in a domestic and international expansion strategy Vinader has been undertaking with help from new investors.
Last year the company raised 20 million pounds to support its continued growth from Piper, a specialist investor in consumer brands, and Winona Capital Management, a U.S. consumer specialist fund. The investment in expansion has been paying off: Sales in fiscal 2016 were 26.4 million pounds, up by a third on the previous year.
“Our expansion plan is extremely focused. We’re working in key markets where our customer is shopping with us. Currently those markets are the U.K., Hong Kong, South Korea, Singapore, the Middle East and the U.S.,” said Vinader, who opened her first Nordstrom shops-in-shop at the retailer’s South Coast Plaza store in July.
“In the U.K. specifically we have been looking for stores in iconic shopping locations within London, such as Covent Garden. We had our eye on this particular location given the resurgence in the area. We were particularly attracted to King Street since it was pedestrianized, and with the exciting arrival of the likes of Petersham Nurseries.”
King Street is heating up, not only with the addition of Petersham Nurseries, an outpost of the restaurant, cafe and upscale garden center in Richmond, Surrey, but also with the soon-to-open Floral Street perfumery, which will sell a new collection of fragrances created by the beauty veteran Michelle Feeney.
Kent & Curwen, the contemporary men’s brand part-owned by David Beckham, has recently opened on Floral Street, which is parallel to King Street. Next year, The Shop at Bluebird will open a 15,000-square-foot outpost on Floral Street’s 19th Century Carriage Hall. It will span two floors and house a restaurant on the second level.
Vinader conceived and designed the Covent Garden store, with its mix of clean lines, pink velvet and brushed brass accents. There’s a rose-mirrored wall — reflecting the brand’s many rose gold creations; Fifties Gio Ponti chairs, and original restored wooden floors. Two crystal Sputnik chandeliers hang from the ceiling.
The store also houses a trademark engraving station in the form of a bespoke concrete corner bar where customers can personalize jewelry with handwriting, doodles and messages.
At the back of the store a large window frames a view onto a green park and courtyard lined with boutiques and restaurants. To mark the opening, the brand has wrapped London taxis in metallic rose gold.
While the brand expands in London, it’s also looking to plant more flags abroad.
Vinader said Dubai has been a strong market since the company opened its first store in the Mall of the Emirates, and the brand will be opening a flagship at the Dubai Mall’s Fashion Avenue extension in November. It has also recently opened in Mirdif, Dubai and a counter in Galeries Lafayette.
The U.S. has also been a big focus, and the brand saw growth of 200 percent last year due in part to the opening of her first U.S. store, a 1,600-square-foot unit at 151 Spring Street in New York’s SoHo neighborhood, last November. The brand also sells at Nordstrom and Saks Fifth Avenue. The company said it will be able to reveal more planned store openings early next year.