For the past 25 years, Dogeared Inc. has built a business combining good ethics, domestic manufacturing and affordable jewelry. This June, it will open its first store that displays everything it believes in — along with Instagrammable moments.
The Culver City, Calif.-based company plans to bow a 1,200-square-foot space on Santa Monica’s Main Street, which is already home to stores run by Free People, Love Adorned and Planet Blue. Designed by Catherine McKenna Architect Inc. and decorated by Maggie Pierson, the store is intended to be “very simple, very timeless,” said Marcia Maizel-Clarke, Dogeared’s founder.
To attract shoppers, Dogeared is building an environment that encourages selfies and self-expression. It’s using an app that allows shoppers to personalize necklaces with custom message cards suitable for special occasions like birthdays, bridal showers and graduations. Plus, Colette Miller, an artist who has painted vivid angel wings from Mexico to Washington to Kenya, has been commissioned to build an installation of the wings on the back wall.
“We want our customers to grasp and understand Dogeared in a new way,” said Ashley Walkley, director of brand and strategic initiatives. “I don’t think we ever put ourselves out there. We’ve been a quiet, understated brand.”
Even under the radar, Dogeared has been growing rapidly. The jewelry retails from $28 to more than $100, with the average price at $75. Dedicated to producing everything in southern California and operating an ethical business that has been certified as a B Corp, it’s established a network of more than 2,000 retail partners in 30 countries and its e-commerce business ships to 50 nations. Last year, it tracked an increase of 25 percent in sales, which sources estimated at more than $25 million. It already has met its projections for 2017.
The freestanding store can help to sustain Dogeared’s momentum. Integrating sustainable materials such as non-toxic paint and recycled polymer siding that is made in the U.S., the shop will feature a gift zone stocked with home accessories and items made by other B-Corp businesses and emerging brands. Walkley said Dogeared already started exploring additional relevant markets for new stores. Although she didn’t specify cities, she said the brand rings up big sales in New York and Texas.
At the minimum, the 120 employees at Dogeared finally will have an address to give fans who, with Google search results in hand, knock on the front door at their headquarters, which they have mistaken as a retail store. “It’s not unusual for a couple of people to show up a month,” Walkley said. Added Maziel-Clarke, “We’d like to have a place to send them.”