L.A. retailer Elyse Walker has tapped Santa Monica brand Hoorsenbuhs for a fine jewelry shop-in-shop in her namesake Newport Beach store.
The 360-square-foot space is located in the vault of the former bank building that Walker converted into a massive 12,000-square-foot multilabel luxury boutique in 2016.
Started in 2005 by photographer Robert Keith and named after a 16th-century merchant ship captained by one of his ancestors, Hoorsenbuhs is known for its chunky, minimalist gold chain-link rings, cuffs and necklaces with a ’70s vibe, and have been worn by Rihanna, Gwyneth Paltrow, David Beckham and many more.
Walker has been a fan of the Santa Monica-based jeweler since the beginning, she said, noting the brand’s Main Street headquarters and flagship is practically next door to her house. “From the handmade chairs to the logo-stamped fixtures to the Damien Hirst artwork, their headquarters is their brand, and we are creating a mini version of that, including their limited-edition sunglasses and hoodies,” she said.
“You can feel the quality,” she said of the pieces, noting they are edgy but classic. “I can see a Cartier woman throwing on one of their chain link rings, and people are loving their cuffs. They are heavy but comfortable,” she added, noting the jewelry reminds her of pieces her father used to bring back from Italy in the 1970s as gifts for her mom.
The pioneering retailer opened her flagship boutique in 1995 in the Pacific Palisades. She now operates four Elyse Walker boutiques and three contemporary brand Towne stores.
“Business is booming,” she said, sharing that she has seen 100 percent growth over 2019 as the U.S. starts to emerge from the pandemic. “It’s the largest surge I have ever experienced in my career,” she said, noting inventory has been a challenge from all brands, with Celine, Dior, Bottega Veneta, Oscar de la Renta, Elder Statesman, Trovata and Xirena among her top sellers.
The numbers are being driven by a combination of in-store shopping and delivery via her in-house stylist team members, who must generate at least $1 million in annual sales to join the program.
Store traffic has picked up particularly in Newport Beach, she said, and she’s just opened a first smaller-format Towne store in the affluent St. Helena, Calif., community in the heart of the Napa Valley. Walker also has stores in Calabasas and Pacific Palisades.
“I have seen 10 or 20 percent growth in my career, but I’ve never seen 100 percent growth,” said Walker, whose first venture was a branch of her family’s Capretto shoe store that opened in Manhattan in 1987. “The big question is when will it level off.”