NEW YORK — When David Yurman opens the doors to its new flagship today on 57th Street’s golden stretch between Fifth and Madison Avenues, it will represent the only family-owned business on the block. Look to the left and it’s Kering-owned Saint Laurent, peer to the right and see publicly listed Burberry — and right across the street is the new temporary boutique by Tiffany & Co, recipients of last week’s $16.2 billion LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton bid.
Family is a way of business for the Yurman brand, which is still owned by its founders and says many of its sales are made while consumers are in the presence of their own families. The company’s new flagship adds to a stable of 49 stores worldwide and represents a larger strategy toward becoming a more international, higher-end brand. About 90 percent of the company’s sales come from the U.S., but the brand also has stores in countries including France and Canada.
“Fifty-seventh Street is a global, internationally recognized street with all of the most important luxury brands,” said Yurman president Carol Pennelli. “We built this store with an international customer in mind, and will be showing much more gold, more fine and high jewelry and elevated pieces.”
The Yurman brand had a store on Madison Avenue between 63rd and 64th Streets for the last two decades. Yurman himself felt the location “was starting to feel tired in certain ways.”
In assessing possibilities for a new location, the company began noting shifts in its sales and retailing capabilities. “We needed a great deal more space,” said cofounder Sybil Yurman. “The breadth of what we design now with major collections of high jewelry, one-of-a-kind special innovative materials. People don’t necessarily know the brand for its depth of offering and this store offered us an opportunity to position ourselves differently with multiple floors.”
The brand will now move itself — and what it says are some 200 to 300 new designs per year spread across three to five new collections — into what was once a temporary store for Chanel.
The location measures about 5,000 square feet — and floors have been organized as something of a monobrand department store for jewelry. There will be women’s gold jewelry on the first floor; wedding, high jewelry and women’s silver collections on the second tier and a third floor devoted to the company’s expanding collection for men. The grand entrance to the new Yurman store will feature a video wall that will transform each season, with activations planned for key shopping holidays like Christmas and Valentine’s Day.
The store’s scale is counter to the current trend for retailers to scale down their store sizes to create more curated, intimate shopping spaces that appeal to Millennials. Yurman seemed unfazed: “They might not shop with us. Millennials that want to be in SoHo, we have a store in SoHo. But if they want to be in Brooklyn in a little boutique with small, little spaces, that’s fine. We cannot be all things to all people all the time.”
Sybil Yurman interjected that although the store boasts a 30-foot atrium and other grand features, there are also “little private rooms to have a more intimate selling moment, where you can have a tea and shop.”
The company’s chief creative officer Evan Yurman oversaw design of the space and said of its concept: “Retail more and more is about an experience. Customers no longer go to a store just to buy something anymore, they go there with the intention to experience. When we started out on this journey and building this store, it was really about an experience. It was about giving the customer an experience that they don’t already have, and allow them to physically be in the David Yurman world.”
He accented the store with custom light fixtures, residential furniture and warm oak trim. The flagship will also offer concierge services like private cars, beverages and coat check to help create a cozy feeling.
The store will offer a collection that is growing its business at a higher price point. While the David Yurman label is best known for its sterling silver cable jewelry, gold is now the jeweler’s most popular metal — accounting for 25 percent of sales. Sterling, by contrast, is about 22 percent of the business.
“There is definitely a shift, our customer is gravitating toward gold and important silver with diamonds. The customer is choosing very different scales, finer scales, finer diamond pave — we are seeing an escalation across the board in men’s jewelry as well,” said Pennelli. The company said it has seen a 15 percent year-over-year increase in new customers.
For David Yurman, this is all part of the fun of fashion — an industry he considers akin to show business. “Shopping is one of the major activities in the U.S. besides football games and theater,” he said. “New York is a great shopping town. You can buy the same brands in Dallas but the experience of buying Dior or Vuitton here — these are flagships, they are the best at what they do.”