The brand said it wants to leverage the momentum around its collections, which have been expanding to include a range of season-less casualwear, elevated basics and accessories.
“What has been changing for us is that the momentum that we have built up domestically in the United States is now really translating worldwide. With a brand like Vince, it has to be about believing in the product first and foremost. I think we believe in the product now, certainly more than any time in my tenure,” said the brand’s chief executive officer Brendan Hoffman.
The idea is to replicate the brand’s domestic retail strategy — it works with key retail partners such as Nordstrom and Neiman Marcus — and also operates its own stores. It has 45 locations across the U.S., with plans to open more doors this year.
“We’re taking that same playbook and running with it, particularly in London and the U.K. where we can continue to expand with great partners like Selfridges, Harrods and Harvey Nichols. We’ll also be opening our own stores. We’d really like to capture that local U.K. customer, but also the tourism that comes through London,” added Hoffman, pointing to a growth in the brand’s U.K. business despite the effects of the looming Brexit on consumer spending.
The brand’s Selfridges space spans 500 square feet — four times larger than the space it previously had in the department store — and aims to channel the brand’s Californian roots with a neutral color palette and plant installations.
“It’s a youthful floor with a lot of energy and many up-and-coming, like-minded brands. So we like the eclectic neighborhood that we’re in,” said Craig Samuelson, vice president international at Vince.
The idea is to use brick-and-mortar retail to allow international customers to engage more intimately with the brand by introducing a broader range of categories, including home, handbags and fragrance, which are all in the testing phase. The brand also wants to push further the retail concepts it has been experimenting with domestically, including its Vince Home concept, which was just launched in Malibu.
“The customer has given us permission to try different ways to expand her interaction with Vince. It provides more ways to engage the customer within our stores and hope that when we open up a store or stores in London, we will be able to bring that same sense of balance and sensibility here,” added Hoffman, who sees potential in the home and kids’ wear categories and is in the process of understanding whether the best way to go forward is independently or through licensees.
Paris is another promising territory, but Hoffman said the focus is to increase the brand’s visibility in the French capital, through specialty retail. At the moment it only has a presence in multibrand stores Printemps and Panoply.
“Continental Europe is dominated by specialty retail, so multibrand retail is the way to expand. We’re seeing an increase in door counts in Germany, Italy, France and Scandinavia, but we’re very careful to maintain the positioning special,” said Samuelson.