The pristine white, gallery-styled store bowed at 105 South Robertson Boulevard in West Hollywood, Calif. (Kate Spade’s former digs), on Dec. 22.
Unlike its neighbors with their 70 percent markdown signs, the 2,000-square-foot Poleci store offered holiday and pre-spring items at full price. Customers snapped up perforated black leather trenchcoats at $698 and striped shirts with ruffles, rosettes or Victorian collars from $98 to $110.
It’s the kind of sales tip Poleci representatives will take back to its wholesale buyers at specialty stores and Nordstrom in the U.S., Harvey Nichols in London and boutiques in Asia.
The manufacturer had sales estimated at $13 million in 2001.
“We see it as another tool to help us do a better job for our retail customer,” said chief executive officer Diane Levin, who owns the company with her sister, head designer Janice Levin-Krok. “We’d love to be able to say to them, ‘This works.”‘
With its gleaming whitewashed concrete floors and glass facade, the store’s focus is on the clothes. Black dresses hang on white rods jutting from the walls at 90 degree angles; denim and striped shirts are spaced at two-inch increments on racks following the white curved walls.
Three expansive dressing rooms are barely noticeable from the sales floor. One is hidden behind a full-length mirror while another opens from behind a white wall. The largest fitting room is a hollowed-out white column.
“I think when you see that the walls create a movement and create little sections, you get a different feel as you move throughout the store,” said Levin, noting Los Angeles firm Magni Design helped conceive the space. “You get the warmth and detail of the clothing.”
And customers appear to appreciate the extras. Free for the taking are Poleci-branded water bottles stacked like glass vases on a back shelf and branded business card-sized cases of breath mints.
Levin declined to reveal first-year sales expectations for the store, and said no other Poleci stores are slated to open in the foreseeable future.
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Poleci is the latest addition to Robertson Boulevard, one of the city’s best shopping neighborhoods, stretching three blocks from Third Street to Beverly Boulevard. It appears to fit in with its tony neighbors. Across the street sits Cynthia Rowley, Madison and Lisa Kline. To the north is The Ivy restaurant as well as Ghost, Hogan and Agnes B.
Poleci plans to introduce an accessories line at the store this fall. Levin declined to elaborate, noting the line is under development. But it could include shoes, jewelry, belts and purses. “Anything to finish off the whole ensemble,” she said.