Barbara Cook is taking the reins as chief executive officer of Miansai, eight years after the company first broke onto the accessories scene with a series of leather hook and anchor bracelets.
Michael Saiger, founder and creative director, said business has doubled nearly every year since inception and that Cook was brought on board to help manage that growth. In addition to its e-commerce site at miansai.com and a flagship on Crosby Street in SoHo here, Miansai is carried in more than 300 doors in 37 countries, including Selfridges, Harvey Nichols and Le Bon Marché. Industry sources estimate that sales this year could hit $25 million.
Cook is the company’s first ceo and was formerly president of Hudson Jeans and head of operations for Gap Stores North America. Her primary focus is to double the business in 2016, largely by way of an aggressive e-commerce push, international expansion — 25 percent of all sales come from outside the U.S. — and growing the women’s sector of the business.
Miansai’s digital flagship is responsible for 27 percent of overall sales, but this portion is expected to jump to 36 percent by year’s end. An entirely new site is in the works and slated to go live this summer.
While the Web site is the brand’s biggest store and will soon drive over a third of all sales, retail still remains a priority. Following the opening of the brand’s first free-standing door in late 2013, a second store is slated to open in Los Angeles in March. A 1,000-square-foot store on Abbott Kinney will have an outdoor area and a Kombucha bar.
“When I first started, there were no other men’s accessories brands out there that had great quality, design and price points,” Saiger said of Miansai, which has received no outside funding to date. He noted that the men’s accessories category was rife with opportunity when he started out in 2008.
Cook added: “It’s the number-one brand in many of the key retailers around the world for men’s accessories. Men’s is well-established and has the lion’s share of our business today.”
But as the brand rolls out additional women’s styles and starts to sell at key wholesale accounts, she predicts that women’s will soon comprise 30 percent of the overall business, men’s 60 percent and leather goods and timepieces the remaining 10 percent.
Both a women’s line and timepieces launched in 2013, five years after the initial men’s line bowed. Saiger said that although many of the early pieces were considered unisex — 80 percent of the core collection could be worn by either gender — the women’s line contains slimmer and more feminine metals, sizes and colorways. The emphasis is on rose gold metal.