A fifth store is planned at the South Coast Plaza in Costa Mesa, Calif., with the store opening slated for August. Both stores will feature a work area dedicated to the brand’s “Artisan in Residence Program.”
Robert Hanson, chief executive officer of John Hardy, said the company has an “expansion” strategy in place.
“Our global flagship is our e-commerce site, which tripled in overall revenue since I started working with the brand in 2014,” he said. Hanson joined around the time private equity firm L Catterton took a stake in the handcrafted, luxury jewelry brand. John Hardy, a Canadian, founded the brand in 1975 in Bali.
Hanson explained that the company has been working on developing its direct-to-consumer business, largely as a result of the changes in the retail landscape that have seen large retailers shedding unproductive stores.
“The essence of the power, drama, inspiration of the collection, and the handcrafting in the artisan community are difficult to experience in most wholesale and retail [environments]. We are opening boutiques in key cities to really bring a 3-D expression of the brand,” the ceo said.
The company has its corporate headquarters in New York, as well as design studios in Bali and Thailand.
Hanson’s first order of business in repositioning the brand was to update its Kapal Bamboo boutique space in Bali at the company’s Ubud studio. That set the inspiration for the brand’s gallery-like experience at its SoHo boutique, which opened in 2016. The SoHo store features the selling space on the ground floor, while a second floor houses the hospitality component for hosting client events. The upper floor also includes a small workspace that houses a jeweler’s bench for polishing and monogramming.
In addition to the SoHo store, there are two other locations domestically in River Oaks, Houston, and Century City, Los Angeles. Overseas, outside of Bali, there are three stores in Hong Kong at Gateway, Sogo and Landmark.
While the plan is to open more retail sites given how few there are today, Hanson also seems bent on keeping the overall expansion somewhat contained. “We’ve identified domestically all A and A+ locations we would like to be in, maybe over the next two years 12 to 15 in A+ locations. We could expand beyond to 25 locations including the U.S. and Canada over time,” he said. The company is in negotiations for two more locations for early 2019.
Since most locations would not include the hospitality space, the company is targeting 800 square feet as the average for the boutiques. The SoHo location is larger, with 1,200 square feet each for the boutique and hospitality spaces. Overseas, the retail spaces tend to be smaller. Hanson said those stores also tend to have leases that are shorter. “We need to renew the capex every three years or so,” he explained.
John Hardy has two outlets, at Woodbury Commons in New York and at Desert Hills Premium in Riverside County, Calif. A third outlet is planned for the West Coast, with a possible opening in October. Hanson said the outlets are important so the brand can have “more control over the presentation of the product at the end of its life cycle.”
Since L Catterton’s investment, Hanson has shifted the brand’s points of distribution. John Hardy’s revenues have grown 25 percent since 2014, with 60 percent U.S. wholesale, 10 percent of sales in the Caribbean, 20 percent direct-to-consumer and 10 percent international. That’s compared with about a 90 percent wholesale base in North America and the Caribbean, nearly 10 percent international and the balance direct-to-consumer back in 2014.
Since 2014, the company has evolved from a silversmith to a stone setter and goldsmith. Corresponding price points also are slightly higher, ranging from about $200 for a piece in silver, up to $3,000 for a piece in gold with stones. The average is $700 for the women’s line, while Hanson described the men’s business as “high growth.”
The brand’s core client base is a slightly older consumer who borders the younger Baby Boomer to the older Gen Xer in age range. These customers are also “artistically expressive self-purchasers, who see the brand as reflecting their own personal style,” Hanson said.