NEW YORK — When Ted Baker last week unveiled a 2,500-square-foot store at 34 Little West 12th Street in the Meatpacking District here, it was in entertaining fashion.
Costumed furniture movers from a firm called Butterfingers Barry turned the act of setting up shop into a spectacle. This weekend will bring more furniture follies to the area as the movers will return daily from 12:30 to 6 p.m. They’ll be picking up candelabras placed around the neighborhood, wrapping them in brown paper and depositing them at the store.
“The theme of the store is all around packing and packaging,” said Ray Kelvin, Ted Baker’s alter-ego, who started the business in 1988. “You’ll see a piece of Ted Baker furniture being moved and creating action in the area.”
Each Ted Baker store has its own theme and personality. A 2,180-square-foot flagship slated to open on Dec. 10 on North Michigan Avenue in Chicago is an homage to the Windy City. Fixtures hang at unusual angles so they appear to have been blown by a Chicago gale.
When the Chicago unit opens, Ted Baker will operate 15 U.S. stores. The company has been opening stores steadily since its first unit, which bowed in SoHo in 1998. “The business in the U.S. is recovering,” Kelvin said. “Taking control of the wholesale business in the U.S. helped. The visibility of the brand in leading department stores has helped, especially Nordstrom, which is doing a fantastic job on women’s wear.”
Kelvin said the recession offered real estate opportunities with “the right locations being available at the right time. We’re looking forward to opening more New York stores in the future. Fifth Avenue could be an opportunity. We’re looking at Hawaii. The store would be themed around ‘Hawaii 5-O,’” Kelvin said, humming the theme of the TV series.
Ted Baker plans to expand its global reach to China and Japan next with company-owned stores in Shanghai and Beijing. Units in secondary markets will be opened with a partner. Kelvin is also opening Ted Baker shop-in-shops in Spain.
Worldwide sales of Ted Baker products reached 500 million pounds, or $781 million at current exchange, this year. New business in Kuwait and Abu Dhabi bolstered sales, Kelvin said.
Kelvin sees no end to Ted’s style influence. He’d like to design “homewares, apartments and hotels,” he said, noting, already, Ted Baker offers stationary, innerwear and fragrance.
Cosmetics will be launched next year. “We’re establishing men’s grooming shops in the U.K. and we may do that in the U.S.,” Kelvin said.
Despite its size, the company still manages to fly below the radar. “Our customers really enjoy what we do and shop with their wallets,” said Kelvin, who still owns half the business with the remainder being publicly listed in the U.K.