Twenty years ago Eberjey was born out of an idea to design underwear for those lacking a bit in the derriere.
The Miami swim and lingerie company celebrates 20 years in business this year and is making moves to new markets on the East and West coasts with a pair of company-owned Eberjey stores opening in June. The company currently has two stores in Miami, one measuring 350 square feet and another at about 700 square feet.
The stores at the Lido Marino Village project in Newport Beach, Calif., and the Meatpacking District will total roughly 1,200 square feet.
The site selection process has been a little bit akin to the Goldilocks fairy tale, with the company learning more with each store but not yet having found quite the right store footprint. Eberjey’s first brick-and-mortar was the 350-square-foot test, which turned out to be too small, although the door was profitable. The second, 700-square-foot location, profitable in year one, was also not quite right.
“What we’re in the process of doing right now is really figuring out what the ideal footprint is and what that looks like,” said Mariela Rovito, who cofounded the company with Ali Mejia. “And we stepped up New York and Newport Beach to a 1,200-square-foot store and we think that will be enough. We don’t want to go too big because we don’t want to lose the intimate feel.”
That was the whole point of opening retail to begin with for Eberjey: tell the brand story and merchandise it in a way that can’t happen within the company’s wholesale accounts of which there are 1,400 specialty shops and 25 department stores in the U.S., Europe and Asia.
The privately held company, which has about 60 workers at headquarters, is projecting about 25 percent growth in overall revenues. Rovito declined to say how much the company’s doing in annual sales.
E-commerce is the company’s largest door, but brick-and-mortar retail has potential with the company exploring locations for future stores. Eberjey did shop the Los Angeles market before inking a deal at Lido Marina and is still looking, according to Rovito. One more store could follow the two opening in June this year with another two to three more in 2017. The ramp up in stores was just timing rather than a capital infusion from outside investors, Rovito said.
“We’re in a very good place cash-wise right now, where we’re able to afford these retail expansions and that’s being led mostly by our wholesale business and our e-commerce business as well,” she said. “We’re not sure what the maximum number of stores will be. I think as we continue to expand, the market will dictate that but it’s definitely not a 300-store concept.”
Lido Marina will be the first of the two stores to open June 1. Its neighbors include Clare V, Steven Alan, Publica by Zinque and Jenni Kayne. The project, a marina rehab by DJM Capital Partners Inc., has generated buzz for the type of tenants that have been attracted to the coastal property. It has also snagged Nobu and Pacific Palisades boutique owner Elyse Walker for her second store after 16 years in business.
“Aesthetically [Lido Marina] is just very much on-brand, and we know from our e-commerce statistics and demographic that we’ll have a strong customer base, so we’re excited by the look and feel of the center as well as the cotenancies and other brands that are going to be there.”