NEW YORK — After building a multimillion-dollar business at the Fragments showroom, jewelry and accessories designer Chan Luu is striking out on her own, opening her first showroom here.
The 4,300-square-foot space at 1441 Broadway takes up an entire floor and showcases the designer’s silver and semiprecious jewelry, costume jewelry, leather handbags, belts, narrow scarves and some knitted cold-weather accessories.
Wholesale prices for accessories range from $76 for a beaded semiprecious stone necklace to $550 for a gold and diamond necklace.
Until now, Luu’s accessories were represented by Fragments, a multibrand showroom here that has up-and-coming designers such as Mizuki and model and handbag designer Alek Wek as clients.
“We took [Luu’s] business from zero to a multimillion-dollar business,” said Janet Goldman, founder and chief executive officer of Fragments. “We had a great relationship that lasted nine years and I wish her luck. Now it’s my job to find the next Chan Luu. That’s what we do.”
Luu opened her own showroom in order to achieve a cohesive presentation.
“When you go into a multiline showroom, it is so confusing,” she said. “The energy is deluded. A buyer can’t get the idea of it.”
Luu now has both coasts covered as she also has a showroom in Los Angeles, which opened in January 2004. Since opening that showroom, Luu said her eight-figure business, which employs 1,200 craftspeople, has doubled. She projects a 5 percent increase in revenue in the first year of the New York showroom.
Both showrooms also house Luu’s apparel collection, which she began to sell in spring 2004 in stores such as Ron Herman, Fred Segal and Calypso. The collection ranges in wholesale price from $68 to $198.
“I’m a clothing designer,” Luu said. “I was never trained in accessories. I got into it accidentally. Now that we have [all categories, including apparel], it is a thematic presentation.”
The clothing includes long, flowing skirts in aqua or crimson and asymmetric cable cardigans.
The Vietnamese-born Luu left her native country in 1972 to study business administration at Boston University. She later moved to Los Angeles, where she is now based, and earned a degree in fashion design from the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising in 1975.
“It was a trade-off,” Luu said. “My mother didn’t believe that you could be successful as a designer. She said to become a businessman, a doctor or a lawyer, so I got a degree in business [to appease her]. But my true love was always fashion.”
However, having a passion for design and a business background paid off, retailers said.
“What she is successful at is picking up on the trends in a timely manner,” said Sandra Wilson, accessories fashion director at Neiman Marcus, which carries the designer’s jewelry. “She is able to interpret trends in a very saleable way at a reasonable price point, has a good eye for color and brings interesting styling to her work, especially in the jewelry category. She’s multitalented.”
The designer also sells at Henri Bendel and Institut, both in Manhattan, as well as at the Chan Luu flagship on Robertson Boulevard in Los Angeles, which bowed in June 2002. Worldwide, Luu’s products are sold in 3,000 specialty doors, including locations in Japan, South Korea and Europe.