Cuyana is growing its retail footprint.
The direct-to-consumer e-commerce site, cuyana.com, which got its start in Italian-made leather goods and has since expanded to apparel, is hoping its brand of luxe essentials will resonate with holiday shoppers in Manhattan’s SoHo neighborhood. Today, a 2,500-square-foot pop-up shop will bow on Wooster Street and remain open for seven weeks, closing on Christmas Eve.
“Retail has always been an essential part of our vision for Cuyana,” said Karla Gallardo cofounder and chief executive officer. “Over the last two years, we’ve been exploring pop-ups in select cities where our top customer bases are [L.A., N.Y.] These pop-ups, as well as our expanding San Francisco showroom, prove that retail is incredibly valuable for us: both for building brand awareness and for engaging existing customers.”
Currently, a team of 30 operates out of a San Francisco headquarters, which has a separate floor that doubles as a showroom.
Industry sources estimate that the company’s site and retail doors will see $15 million to $18 million in sales this year. The company originally launched in 2011 with hats, but relaunched two years later with the current, more elevated branding, a focus on leather and craftsmanship, as well as the mantra, “fewer, better things.” To date, Cuyana raised a $1.7 million seed round in 2013 and an undisclosed Series A.
A similar seven-week pop-up concept that opened this fall on Abbott Kinney in Venice, Calif. was so successful that the space is being turned into a permanent location — and the brand’s first freestanding door. The 1,100-square-foot store will re-open later this month, said Gallardo.
She called the Abbott Kinney store a “great test,” noting that the brand exceeded sales goals by 50 percent.
This gave the team the confidence to replicate the experience in New York for the holiday season.
“We call it ‘premium,’ not luxury,” Gallardo said of Cuyana’s product line, which as of September included two styles of 100 percent wool and Italian-made outerwear retailing for $325 and $495, respectively, and cashmere sweaters, ranging from $135 to $160.
A heavyweight navy wool coat sold out of hundreds of units in under two weeks, and is already on its second order (a second, camel colorway will be released in early December). The coat has been the the company’s most successful product launch to date, as well as the highest price-point item ever produced, selling for $495.
Apparel currently makes up 30 percent of the brand’s product offering, with accessories making up the rest. Further expanding apparel will be a key focus in 2016. Right now, Cuyana makes tops, dresses, sweaters and outerwear, and while the spring will see new styles of tops and fresh colorways of existing products, additional categories will roll out later next year.