Tash, who founded her company in New York City in 1993 and now operates nine stores globally, continues to grow her company without outside investment. She has been able to do this with a rare balance of talent that is equal parts shrewd businesswoman, forward-thinking designer and cultural forecaster.
This summer, Tash will peel the lid on an additional three strategic store locations — with the goal to eventually operate between 15 and 20 global boutiques over the next few years.
“Look, we are the best in fine jewelry and the watch world applied to body jewelry,” said Tash when asked about her company’s own popularity and the growing fine jewelry piercing category as a whole.
In late May, Tash opened her first Paris boutique with a 600-square-foot concession at Le Bon Marché that is marking its grand opening with an event this week. The jeweler has a habit of entering new global markets through a shop-in-shop, which is something she tried out in London as well. The boutique sits on the Parisian department store’s fashion floor, which to Tash is a signifier of how far piercings have come.
“Le Bon Marché is a really wonderful department store that caters to a lot of locals. We did a pop-up there before COVID[-19]. I knew Paris was strong from years ago, generally people would visit New York and come to our store so it was just a question of where to open.”
“The idea was, let’s start at Le Bon Marché. It’s a major city, we just decided that with some of the challenges of opening in France, it would help us get our footing with labor laws and stuff like that. It’s good to be in Le Bon Marché, we signed with them for a couple of years and will take it one step at a time,” Tash said.
France adds to four other countries that Tash operates in outside of the U.S., including the U.K., United Arab Emirates and Kuwait, the latter of which just welcomed a new Maria Tash boutique in its capital city.
But drilling further down into her home market, Tash will also open a store in Dallas this summer as well as her largest-ever store in Los Angeles — with both doors targeted to open sometime in July.
The choice of Dallas illustrates Tash’s continued awareness of how luxury spending has migrated in the U.S. as a result of the pandemic. Last year, noticing an influx of new wealth to Miami, she quickly set up a boutique at the Bal Harbour Shops. Texas, another state to see a flood of new residents, was next on her agenda.
“A lot of people went to Florida, a lot of people went to Texas. Dallas is something we have been eyeballing for a long time. We did a pop-up there a couple of years ago before the pandemic. So we found a place in the NorthPark Center across from Louis Vuitton — it’s a great location,” Tash said of the 3,175-square-foot space.
“I’m very ambitious and very excited about the future,” added Tash. “I have many stores planned and have to do it in a way that’s smart and funded properly. Every time I expand I’m training people how to pierce and on our computer system. I’m not going to expand anywhere where I don’t have staff and those competencies.”
This leads Tash to her biggest retail project of the year — a 6,000-square-foot Los Angeles flagship, expected to open soon at 8441 Melrose Place. It is Tash’s largest store and will premiere her most fully fledged retail concept.
With travertine walls, abstract sculptures taking cues from her classic designs, six piercing rooms, a VIP elevator and piercing suites as well as a rooftop event space, the store should serve as Tash’s moment of arrival into the luxury establishment.
“We really pushed it, I thought L.A. was a mature city for piercings, but we did a pop-up there and it did much better than expected,” Tash said of the appetite for her brand there.
Tash estimates that the three stores combined will increase annual brand sales by 20 percent, and will grow the company’s overall piercing output by 50 percent. While Tash does sell online, with about 15 percent of company sales attributed to its website, she also will continue to sell through strategic wholesale partners. Tash has a global workforce of 210 employees.
Product is also high on the agenda for Tash, who began introducing seasonal collections in 2020. “We have a new flow of styles. We have started to discontinue some, which we didn’t do too much in the past. Now, we want to put new stuff out there. We want to constantly evolve — it’s about getting ideas out of my head and prioritizing what people love,” Tash said.
A new fall collection is expected to be released in September, with a focus on designs priced under $500. These will be balanced by higher-end products like the floating diamonds that Tash has become known for. Tash will introduce a few new piercings as well, similar to how she launched hidden piercing jewelry in 2020.
“We have a very strong fall collection coming out,” she said. “We have worked on this for a long time and there will be a lot of things people haven’t seen before. Not everything will be so diamond-heavy.”
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