The Conservatory‘s 400-square-foot little sister has opened at Highland Park Village in Dallas.
The latest iteration of The Conservatory is a new gallery concept with 37-foot ceilings and an abundance of natural light. While the Dallas store is a fraction of the size of 6,900-square-foot The Conservatory and its Teak Tearoom café at The Shops and Restaurants at Hudson Yards, don’t let the size fool you. Most of the categories sold at the flagship are featured at the smaller store.
The new store was shaped by learnings gleaned from the flagship, which bowed in March. “Highland Park Village is our fist edited window into the brand,” said Brian Bolke, cofounder of The Conservatory. “In the first four days, we quadrupled our plan. The average sale is more than $800. It’s a different kind of client. Dallas people love to shop.
“At Hudson Yards, you get a tourist who didn’t necessarily come to go shopping. They came to see the Vessel,” said Bolke, who was cofounder of Forty Five Ten. “People spend a lot of time at the [flagship]. The struggle has been connecting with them. When you’re used to a clientele-driven business, you want people to come back.”
Bolke, who opened in 1995 a flower shop at the upscale center and has an office there, understands the Highland Park Village customer. When a space that was part of his original shop became available a month ago, he pounced. “This consumer visits weekly,” he said. “They care about service and atmosphere.”
The Dallas store mixes staples from designers such as Michael Kors (tailoring) and Jil Sander (shirting) with direct-to-consumer brands such as Misha Nonoo, Tamara Mellon, and London men’s footwear label Duke & Dexter. Selima Optique and unexpected decorative and tabletop items from Baccarat, Georg Jensen, Lalique and Bernardaud round out the Dallas assortment.
Bolke balances tight edits — one size of Rimowa luggage and Anna Sui‘s simple swing dresses, $595 — with offerings more representative of brand’s product range. “We’ve been very successful when we show the full breadth of White + Warren cashmere travel wraps in every color.”
Early bestsellers at Highland Park Village include ROYL’s cashmere cape, $1,595; Jennifer Fisher hoop earrings in 10-karat gold or silver-rhodium over brass, $295 to $550; and Nonoo’s husband shirts, $185.
Bolke is committed to a regular price strategy without promotions. “As long as the item has a strong price-value proposition, the customer will engage with it, and won’t wait for it to go on sale,” he said. “About 20 percent of our offering is seasonal newness. We work directly with the brands [so their products] leave our assortment before being marked down elsewhere.”
Relaunched on Friday, The Conservatory e-commerce site features editorial content in the form of the Almanac with original writing and photography and subjects such as Kors, Marc Jacobs, Jeremy Scott and Sui. “The customer wants to know more about what they are buying,” Bolke said. “They want to know who made it, where it was made, and the values behind it.”
TheConservatoryNYC.com switched from a universal cart to its own transacting platform to fully control the customer journey. “We quickly learned that customers want the service of a store and the logistics of online,” Bolke said. “When we lost control of any part of the transaction, the customer became disengaged.
“We’re learning across all price points what people want and what they’re coming to us for,” Bolke said, adding, “We’ve gone deeper with our focus on discovery. What we’re really about is discovery.”