Anticipating a bump to its business when its Neiman Marcus partnership begins, Fashionphile leased a 105,118-square-foot industrial building in Moonachie, N.J., which will become the luxury handbag resale site’s Northeast operations hub.
Fashionphile cofounder Sarah Davis revealed that it will open salons before Black Friday at Neiman’s stores.
“The business has been growing 50 percent year-over-year — and that’s without the Neiman Marcus synergies,” Davis said. “What’s going to happen when the business does have those synergies. People say, ‘What are you going to do with a 100,000 square-foot building.’ I say, ‘We’re going to fill it.’
“Part of it is that we’re busting at the seams,” said Davis of the company’s existing headquarters in Carlsbad, Calif. “We could maybe move into the building next door, but we have so much traffic coming from the New York area — our number-one zip code is from New Jersey. [Summit.] We’re on Madison Avenue, and we’ll be opening physical locations at Neiman’s stores soon. We said, what can we do now to be prepared to process that inventory?”
The Moonachie square footage won’t be entirely dedicated to logistics. “So much of it will not be set up for packing and shipping,” Davis said. “We’ll have a very elevated buying office that will be open to the public, just like the one in Carlsbad.”
The facility will house authenticators for handbags and jewelry, horologists, gemological and jewelry labs, where specialists certified in gems and precious metals will work. Davis said counterfeit jewelry is becoming increasingly sophisticated. For example, a piece of jewelry could be made from platinum, but not the right mix of alloys.
“The walls of the gemological lab are painted a certain color gray and the lighting is very specific to accurately grade the diamonds,” said Davis, who geeks out on technology, adding that state-of-the-art equipment detects synthetic diamonds. “Our experts tested a ring with 50 pavé diamonds. They found that 47 diamonds were real and three were fake. Pave diamonds aren’t that expensive. It shows a lack of caring.”
The Northeast operations hub will provide another service to consumers and consignors. “In California, they’re getting their orders in one day,” Davis said. “In New York, with ground shipping, it’s five days. We’ll save tens of thousands in shipping alone. If there’s a handbag in our New Jersey warehouse, you’ll be able to pick it up there or drop off bags.”
Despite the fact that the new hub is in the middle of an industrial park, consumers and consignors will want to visit nonetheless, said Davis, romanticizing the behind-the-scenes activities. “There’s a lot being said about the experiential element to retail,” she said. “We’re letting you experience our reality. There’s something cool happening in fashion and technology. People call our Carlsbad headquarters the Willie Wonka of handbags.”