Ramy Brook, the contemporary sportswear and handbag company, is ready to take the retail plunge.
The four-year-old company, which sells to stores such as Bergdorf Goodman, Neiman Marcus, Bloomingdale’s, Nordstrom and Saks Fifth Avenue, as well as Shopbop.com, will open its first retail store at 22 Prince Street in NoLIta on Sept. 26. The 360-square-foot shop will carry Ramy Brook’s tops, dresses, skirts, pants, jumpsuit and cover-ups, as well as handbags that launch at retail this fall, and exclusive jewelry.
“We’ll use every inch of it,” said Ramy Sharp, president and creative director. She chose the neighborhood because “it’s hip and cool and a great place to browse,” noting stores such as Haute Hippie, Maje, Sandro and Vince are all neighbors. “It’s like a mall on the weekends, it’s packed,” she said.
Sharp would like to eventually open another store on Madison Avenue, as well as in Miami, Los Angeles and the Hamptons. But for now, she’s focusing on the downtown locale, which industry sources estimate could generate around $1 million in sales during the first year.
The downtown boutique includes features such as an exposed brick wall, bronze mirror with Swarovski crystals and track lighting. She noted that she’s starting to Instagram the build-out of the store, which was a former Copy Shop.
Having launched her business in her New York City apartment in 2010, Sharp has since moved to office space at 231 West 39th Street. Her ready-to-wear line is repped by L’Atelier Showroom (for the Eastern U.S.) in the same building. She also has a Western U.S. rep. She sells the handbags from her own showroom.
Sharp has no design or technical background and basically designs what she wants to wear. “I grew up with two sisters and a mother, and all we did was shop on the weekends,” she said. “We had a household full of clothes, shoes and bags.” After a career in media buying, she took time off to raise her children “and couldn’t find anything to wear in my closet,” she said. She said she decided she would learn how to make clothes, and started designing tops to wear to go out at night, and having trunk shows at friends’ houses. The business spread by word of mouth. She introduced a Web site when she launched in 2010, and added e-commerce the following year.
She produces all her rtw in New York City, and makes her handbags in China.
From 2013 to 2014, Sharp said she doubled her bookings, and the plan is to triple it next year. “We’re just going to go for it,” said Sharp, who is aided by her husband Rob Sharp, who works in private equity. Eventually, Sharp said she’d like to do shoes, jewelry and perfumes but hasn’t decided if she’ll do that in-house or license those products. The company’s wholesale volume is approaching $10 million.
More than 70 percent of her collection is tops, and those tops are mostly solids. The collection features fabrics such as stretch silk charmeuse, silk chiffon, silk georgette and printed silks. Novelties include patterned jacquards, stretch leather, leatherlike mesh, lace mesh, matte jersey and luxe satin jersey. The rtw wholesales from $100 to $295, while handbags wholesale from $150 to $245.
Sharp has been busy this summer on several fronts. An avid spinner, she designed a limited-edition, post-workout collection called Ramy Brook for SoulCycle, and she plans to do another capsule collection for SoulCycle in Bridgehampton, N.Y., this month. In the spring, she will launch Après Ramy Brook, a collection of post-workout sportswear with three retailers, which she declined to reveal.
On Thursday, Sharp chaired The Hamptons Trunk Show, a fund-raiser for UJA-Federation of New York Manhattan Women’s Philanthropy. The event was held at the Bridgehampton Historical Society in Bridgehampton and featured designer clothing, accessories, jewelry and home.
In addition to Ramy Brook, companies participating included Alvin Valley, Carlos Falchi, Colette Malouf, Gregory Parkinson, Scoop NYC, SoulCycle, Theodora & Callum and Tia Cibani.