NYDJ Apparel LLC is putting its new “jeans-plus” assortment on display with a shop-in-shop at Macy’s Herald Square, the brand’s first new in-store environment in four years.
This story first appeared in the November 12, 2014 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
The shop, with 1,300 square feet of space on the store’s fourth floor, is the first to feature an assortment that’s been expanded well beyond the “Lift Tuck Technology” jeans around which the brand was founded as Not Your Daughter’s Jeans in 2003. In addition to a full selection of jeans, the shop, the largest-ever erected by the company, houses the firm’s new “Lift Tuck” dresses and skirts, as well as outerwear and tops that have been added to the collection.
The assortment is being readied for another series of extensions this spring, when fit-solution woven tops and City/Sport, an ath-leisure group using the proprietary fit technology, are added to the line, said Robert C. Skinner Jr., president and chief executive officer of the company.
“We’re establishing a new beachhead with the Macy’s shop,” Skinner told WWD. “We see a significant roll-out in 2015 and beyond, and we’re in various stages of discussions with Macy’s and other retailers about the new shop vision.”
Since his arrival in January following NYDJ’s acquisition by Crestview Partners, Skinner and his team have focused on “building out a product assortment that is compelling and suits all aspects of our customer’s lifestyle. We believe we’re well on our way to doing that. We’re continuing to assess other ways that we can connect with the customer, but it’s clear from the reaction we’ve gotten to our dresses that the woman has given us permission to play in products other than denim.”
He described the sell-in and sell-through of dresses as exceeding expectations and noted that the average review for the 11 dresses featured on the nydj.com Web site was a 4.8 out of 5.
Kate Foster, vice president of marketing and e-commerce for NYDJ, said the new shop design, developed with Kramer Design Group, was conceived around the concept of a woman’s “dream closet,” with residential touches such as upholstered ottomans and an armoire display case. “We put a lot of emphasis on showcasing the assortment, including the fit and leg openings of our jeans, in an environment that would make the woman feel at home,” she said.
Skinner has a particular fondness for the fitting room that’s part of the shop and features numerous branding touches such as the company’s ads with Bridget Moynahan.
“We believe anytime we can get a consumer to try on a product, we can convert it into a sale,” he said.
While discussion of its own stores remains on the back burner, NYDJ is moving ahead, not only with in-store ideas, but also with a series of international initiatives. It’s designated Throat Threads Apparel of Ontario as its exclusive sales agency for the Canadian market and plans to expand e-commerce beyond the U.S. to include Canada and Mexico during the first quarter of next year.
While it’s done business in Europe, Australia and New Zealand through distribution arrangements in those markets, it’s not had a presence in Asia, a void the ceo expects to fill shortly once it wraps up talks with a prospective distributor for the continent.
To oversee its growing business outside the U.S., NYDJ has brought in Tom O’Connor, a veteran of Liz Claiborne and the Geneva Watch Group, in the new post of director of international sales.
Skinner is relatively sanguine about the difficult conditions in the denim market, where NYDJ continues to enjoy the top market share position in department stores among women’s jeans suppliers. He takes some comfort in the historical perspective held by NYDJ’s chairman, former ceo of VF Corp., Mackey McDonald.
“It helps to be reminded periodically that what’s happening in denim is a speed bump, a cyclical rather than sectoral decline,” Skinner said. “We never forget that denim is the core of our business and will always be a significant component of it, but we’re fortunate to have a business, a brand and message revolving around fit that enables us to move in other directions.”