British jewelry designer Monica Vinader has opened her first U.S. store, a 1,600-square-foot unit at 151 Spring Street in New York’s SoHo neighborhood.
Vinader founded her namesake brand with her sister, Gabriela, to bridge the gap between fine and fashion jewelry in 2008. Prior to launching the brand, Vinader had trouble buying jewelry for herself, saying “it was too old or over-the-top wacky.”
The brand empowers women to regularly treat themselves to everyday jewelry, Vinader said.
“That’s kind of a key to our brand,” she said. “It’s that gift you give yourself because it’s within your reach. It’s jewelry that I wanted to buy for myself that I didn’t need anyone to buy for me. What I wanted [was] the real thing. I didn’t want to wear something that was just costume.”
Over the past year, sales have increased by 33 percent and turnover has risen from 19.8 million pounds, or $24.7 million, to 26.4 million pounds, or $33 million.
Vinader operates 15 stores worldwide, including three in the U.K., a store at the Mall of the Emirates in Dubai, a unit in Seoul as well as two in Hong Kong. A unit in Singapore was unveiled Wednesday.
“It’s a very easy purchase, beautifully done and executed,” Vinader said. “Personalizing it with a message resonates well with customers. Diamonds and diamond bracelets are doing well.”
Vinader’s signature friendship bracelets, which can be engraved while you wait, have been seen on the wrists of Kate Middleton, Olivia Palermo and Alicia Vikander, the designer said.
Each piece is handcrafted in sterling silver and hallmarked at the British Assay office to guarantee its purity. Diamonds are ethically sourced and semiprecious stones are bespoke cut and hand set. The brand is known for leading the revival of vermeil, which was popular in the 19th century. Vinader uses the process where silver jewelry is plated in 18-karat fine yellow or rose gold, which produces a rich finish.
Vinader’s 17-inch sterling-silver chains start at 35 pounds, or $44, while the sweet spot for chains with pavé diamonds is around 250 pounds, or $312. The range goes up to 3,950 pounds, or $4,941, for the Esencia full diamond necklace.
Monica Vinader is sold in about 30 Nordstrom doors, the designer said. The collection is also available at Saks Fifth Avenue.
“We opened another door with Saks at Brookfield Place,” she said.
The SoHo store has a modern engraving bar where same-day complementary engraving is used to personalize and add meaning to the jewelry.
Vinader has started looking in New York for a second store. “I’m looking at different areas, prices and opportunities,” she said. “I’m speaking to different developments in New York. We’re not going to go crazy. They next store will be very considered like this one. We don’t have a time frame.”
The designer sees her customer base concentrated in New York, Los Angeles and Chicago. “I do a lot of research and talk to a lot of experts,” she said. I have some ideas. I think having a second store in New York would make sense.”
The SoHo store was designed by Vinader and a team of architects who worked on her international units. The space, which has high ceilings, was restored with reclaimed wood floors and a limed brick wall. A seating area features midcentury modern furniture upholstered in Yves Klein blue velvet and brushed gold jewelry vitrines lit by a Tom Dixon installation of disco balls.
A photograph by Harry Cory Wright, from Vinader’s personal collection, dominates the back of the store, with a view of Norfolk next to her home. “I live right by the sea and beautiful marshes are not far from my house,” Vinader said. “It’s three hours from London. The store is a very personal space.”