NEW YORK — Denim Habit, a 2,250-square-foot flagship bowing next month in the Meatpacking District here, reflects its owner’s belief that women don’t buy premium jeans the same way they used to.
This story first appeared in the July 21, 2011 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
Wayne Shulick, chief executive officer of Denim Habit, has been studying women’s denim shopping habits since opening his first store in 2008. “The days of walking down the street and seeing stores with stacks and stacks of folded jeans, is kind of [obsolete],” Shulick said. “Premium denim is saturated. People now want to be shown more outfits than before. We started merchandising sportswear with hanging denim a few years ago. We’re striving for a warmer, boutique feeling than the big denim stores,” he said.
Shulick expects the unit, at 346 West 14th Street, to do $3 million in sales in its first year. Denimhabit.com, an e-commerce site, will also bow next month. Other Denim Habits are located in Suburban Square, Ardmore, Pa., and The Promenade in Marlton, N.J.
AG, Current/Elliott, J Brand, Habitual, Joe’s Jeans and Vintage Revolution are among the staples at Denim Habit, but because jeans have a shorter shelf life now, Shulick is stressing new brands with frequent updates. DL1961, made from four-way stretch denim so they don’t lose their fit after washes, and Henry & Belle, designed for women in their 30s and 40s, are two examples. Some of the lesser-known brands will get dedicated space at Denim Habit in exchange for exclusive items or washes. Sportswear will include Halston Heritage, House of Harlow, Elizabeth and James, Joie, Dylan Alexa, Missoni and Patterson J. Kincaid.
Customer service and music are part of the concept, which extends to customers’ significant others. On Denim Habit’s lower level, Shulick has designed a 500-square-foot man cave, replete with sofas, a big-screen TV, pool table, PlayStation and Wii.
Apparel and jewelry will be priced from $25 to $300. “Cotton prices haven’t filtered down to us yet,” Shulick said, adding that he wants to cap prices at $300. “We’re not Scoop or Intermix,” he said, referring to Meatpacking District retail neighbors. “We’re a notch and a half below. I don’t want to stray too far away from what we do well.”
Shulick is planing to open two to three more stores in Manhattan in the first quarter of 2012. “This has been such a big project,” he said. “I haven’t had time to look anywhere else for space.”