Planet Blue wanted to fit right in with the neighborhood when it picked the site of its first New York store.
The location, described by vice president of retail David Lindell as having avoided the “super touristy” part of SoHo, is located at 191 Lafayette Street and totals about 2,400 square feet across two floors.
“We’re not in the crazy, SoHo shopping district,” he said. “We’re kind of on the outside, more for locals and the people who live down there.”
The Santa Monica, Calif.-based retailer last year tested an East Hampton pop-up and the performance of that store helped solidify the company’s decision to finally take steps to bring the multi-brand retailer — known for its stock of bohemian and vintage style looks from brands such as Jen’s Pirate Booty, BB Dakota, Mara Hoffman and Flynn Skye — to the East Coast permanently this year.
“The Hampton pop-up did amazing,” Lindell said. “It was an eye opener for us and also we’ve been watching New York for years now because it’s always been our number-two market for e-commerce. The Hamptons was definitely a confidence booster.”
The SoHo store is set to open by May 1 and will be followed up with the June 1 opening of a store at the Lido Marina Village project in Newport Beach, Calif. It will join tenants at the boutique shopping and entertainment center, such as Elyse Walker, Steven Alan, Clare V, Alchemy Works: Harbor House, Juice Served Here and Nobu.
“Orange County’s such a good market for us,” Lindell said. “It’s right down the coast and we have a huge customer base that shops with us not only online but in L.A. that it seemed like a perfect, natural fit for us to sit in O.C.”
Planet Blue has about five to seven stores in the works so far this year, according to Lindell. That’s in line with the store growth strategy chief executive officer James Williams outlined for WWD about a year ago that ultimately calls for the chain in the U.S. to total between 35 and 40 stores by around 2020. Planet Blue’s presence in Tokyo is also expected to grow during that time. The company currently counts 11 stores, mostly in California, along with Hawaii, Georgia, Arizona and Texas.
The company received a capital infusion in late 2014 from Los Angeles investment firm Breakwater Investment Management, which has a minority stake in the company.