It’s all about Northern California for Los Angeles label Aella this week.
The digital brand, which sells direct its smart workwear basics for women, brought its line to Facebook employees for a daylong pop-up Wednesday at the tech company’s Menlo Park headquarters. Today, the company bows its third pop-up at the Bloomingdale’s on Market Street. That joins temporary shops-in-shop at the Bloomingdale’s in New York and then a second at South Coast Plaza in Costa Mesa, Calif. Both of those shops started as pop-ups and are open indefinitely with a similar status granted for San Francisco.
Continuing to expand at Bloomingdale’s is something being considered, but there are no other stores in the pipeline after San Francisco, said founder Eunice Cho.
“We’re always thinking about [expanding at other Bloomingdale’s] but we want to figure out which doors would be the right doors for us,” she said. “We don’t have any concrete plans for any other stores after San Francisco at the moment….We’re doing research.”
San Francisco, where Aella takes up about 150 square feet on the Bloomingdale’s sales floor, was a good market to expand into, she said, adding, “People are very much into the comfort, tech and [healthy] lifestyle, so we decided to take that chance and move up here.”
With each step in the brand’s expansion at the department store, it opens Aella up to new customers, with New York, Orange County and now San Francisco catering to different shoppers. New Yorkers very much like their black, Cho said, noting what color sells best there. Meanwhile, a robust Asian customer base has lent to stronger buys of shorter inseams and more petite styles at South Coast Plaza, Cho noted.
Cho, whose parents run fiber and textile manufacturer Nextrade in South Gate, launched the brand in 2014 and has so far scaled it on her own with no outside investors. She keeps her collections tight with pant styles ranging from $190 midrise cigarette styles to high-waisted flares for $245. The company last year introduced T-shirts with wicking technology and this year saw more fashion-forward pieces enter the mix in the way of $215 high-waisted culottes, along with convertible coats starting at $325 and convertible dusters for $275.
Brick-and-mortar came late last year with a holiday pop-up in Larchmont Village. This spring saw the Bloomingdale’s pop-ups first in New York followed by South Coast Plaza.
The Bloomingdale’s news comes as Aella settles into new digs not too far from its former office and showroom space in downtown Los Angeles. The move more than doubled the company’s headquarters to about 1,300 square feet in an airy loft space with sunlight that floods in from windows covering half the office’s walls.
The company encourages appointments, but takes walk-ins during its normal business hours throughout the week.
The company also revamped its web site to elevate its look and streamline the shopping process, capping that overhaul in late September.
“I think the shopping experience has greatly improved and we made it a lot easier and quicker for people to pick their styles,” Cho said. “We realized that we needed to make this investment because we do look at ourselves as a digital brand and our web site is the most important storefront that we have.”