NEW YORK — Fivestory, the multibrand luxury retailer located in an Upper East Side town house, is known for a designer roster that includes Alexander McQueen, Proenza Schouler, Rosetta Getty, Rosie Assoulin, Etro and Alexandre Birman, among others. For spring, Fivestory is launching an inaugural private label collection.
“For us it became very apparent that there are knitwear, handbags and accessories that are big drivers, and not just something that we’re selling 10 units of,” said Alexandra Baker, the retailer’s chief operating officer. “These are things our clients were searching for and represent a significant amount of volume.”
Sourcing the products was problematic because they “became very oversaturated very quickly,” Baker said. “We didn’t have any control over them. They couldn’t be exclusives and once they became saturated they became markdowns. It was a very fluctuating business for us. Based on the data we’ve accumulated over the years and our close relationships with clients, we thought we could create items our customers were looking for and own them and create brand equity.”
The collection is tight, befitting a first outing, with 14 products, not including color and pattern variations. There’s a cashmere-silk blend cardigan in pale pink, gray or black, $425; striped cashmere-silk cardigan in navy and white or gray and pink, $495, and a cashmere-silk blend shell, $325.
“We started with knits,” Baker said. “We want to be careful and not overdo it with apparel, where you have size and fit issues and more markdowns. Items were big drivers for us, small handbags and accessories. Shoes and jewelry are very difficult categories. We’re putting all our efforts into items that are core classics with a fresh spin.”
A Coco satin headband is $48. Handbags include a small PVC top-handle style, $178; mini Saffiano leather tote with gold detailing, $148; Bubble wicker handbag with leather tab, $78; Raffia Chevron circle clutch, $168, and Rafia wood clutches and half-circle wood bag, $258. Also, Neely and Chloé x Fivestory’s floral mini Lady bag, $298; Satin mini Lady bag, $298, and floral and plain satin cosmetics pouch, $140.
“The idea behind the pricing is not to offer something really cheap. A lot of times we see that there could be a Fivestory client, but we’re offering things that are quite expensive,” Baker said. “We want to offer them a piece of the pie. Because we’re buying it at wholesale, we can offer it at a fair price.”
Baker plans to closely manage the growth of the private label collection. “We’d love to see it grow in the next year or two to 20 percent of the categories we’re creating,” she said. “I don’t see it being more. That’s a nice amount, and at the end of the day we’re a multi-brand store, not mono-brand store. That’s what’s special about Fivestory.”
For fall, the line will feature cold weather, hats, gloves, socks and outerwear, and more cashmere sweaters and knitwear. “In terms of handbags, we’re still in the development phase,” Baker said. “I hope to see more development and maybe more of a cohesive collection, whereas spring was more item-driven.”
Baker is spearheading the private label project along with two Fivestory buyers.
Wholesaling the collection has definitely occurred to Baker, but “the whole idea was to gain control and I think we’ll keep it that way,” she said. “Once we start wholesaling, we’ll lose that. It’s hard to monitor how stores are presenting the product and marking it down.”
For the first year, the cadence of deliveries will be “a bit more of a drop because we’ve designed the collection to be more item-driven. Things will trickle in throughout the year. It will be more exciting for customers.”