Call it NYDJ, the next wave.
NYDJ is opening its first stand-alone retail locations in New York and Arizona this month.
The stores are located in the Roosevelt Field Mall in Garden City, N.Y., on Long Island, and the Scottsdale Square Mall in Scottsdale, Ariz. The 1,500-square-foot Roosevelt Field unit will open on Thursday, while 2,200-square-foot store in Scottsdale follows on July 28.
The stores, which feature a mobile point-of-sale system, will offer NYDJ’s full collection of denim, pants, tops and jackets.
“The number-one strategy and reasoning behind opening the stores is the importance of us getting really close to the consumer and engaging with them one on one, which we don’t really have with our wholesale partners in the same way,” said Lisa Collier, who joined NYDJ last month from Dockers and Levi Strauss as president and chief executive officer. “Our consumers are huge fans and having a freestanding store and letting them experience it, we will gain insights from that and we will gain new fans.”
Collier said the long-term retail plan for the brand was in place before she joined, noting that “own retail is part of our future — brick-and-mortar and online executions.”
She sees another couple of stores following the first two in the short term, and probably around 50 stores in the long term.
Collier said the privately held company wouldn’t reveal sales figures, but noted that NYDJ is now in about 7,000 points of sale globally, including key stores such as Nordstrom, Bloomingdale’s, Macy’s, Dillard’s and Lord & Taylor in the U.S., and The Bay in Canada. The brand has also begun to build relationships in the Middle East and India.
In 2013, when Crestview Partners purchased NYDJ, sales were said to be about $200 million. Moody’s said last year that estimated revenues in 2014 were $166 million.
The new stores are designed to be the ultimate denim fit destination for customers, offering organized displays that make shopping easy.
Residential in feel, the stores were designed in partnership with New York-based Kramer Design Group and utilize what was described as a “sophisticated and soothing neutral color palette with lavender and gray accents.”
A central denim table inspired by a home’s kitchen island serves as the store’s focal point and is a key area for discovery and education. The fitting rooms are feminine, plush and spacious, with a boudoir-meets-living room aesthetic and offer a comfortable environment for women to experience the brand.
Collier said above 90 percent of all women that try on NYDJ jeans buy them.
“So getting them in the stores and having this great environment and getting them comfortable to try it on, I think will drive a high level of conversion because once they put them on, they fall in love with them,” Collier said.
According to the NPD Group, NYDJ is the top denim brand at U.S. department stores in dollar volume.
Among the key product groups in the stores’ merchandise mix are NYDJ’s Cool Embrace jeans made from a denim blend that uses the high-performance, moisture-wicking Coolmax technology from Invista to help keep women cool, dry and comfortable. Cool Embrace is available in two washes in a variety of cuts, noted Kate Foster, executive vice president and chief marketing officer. The jeans sell for $134.
NYDJ’s Future Fit is made of a new fabric that borrows from technologies found in the medical field to provide uniform compression and create a perfect, second-skin fit, visibly reducing lumps and bumps for a more youthful, contoured appearance. Future Fit jeans are aimed at the growing performance denim category, with strong fabric recovery and minimal growth, as well as a soft hand and durability. Future Fit is available in a variety of styles and washes.
Also important is NYDJ Maternity, designed with the brand’s Original Slimming Fit and exclusive Lift Tuck technology, with the added feature of compression fabric that supports and hugs the stomach. The collection consists of three styles: a classic skinny legging in blue and black, and an on-trend boyfriend cut in a versatile blue denim wash. It sells for $168.
The brand targets women over 35 with its “Original Slimming Fit” design, which includes strategically located pockets and “Lift Tuck Technology.”
Collier noted that segmentation and differentiation are important across all platforms.
“My experience in other brands is that opening stores has actually improved performance in our wholesale partners,” she said. “We use it as a laboratory — what really works and the best of. It lets you better curate for the consumer in those other wholesale locations.”
Foster noted that NYDJ is now available in 65 sizes, from 00 to 22 plus, from petites, women’s, and now maternity.
Collier noted that in addition to jeans, NYDJ has tops and other bottoms, such as ponte pants and casual twill.
“We’re at a reflection moment right now regarding adjacencies,” she said, noting that tops have become 25 percent of sales in just 18 months since launching.
Foster said the firm’s e-commerce business, which recently re-platformed for better responsiveness and mobile interactivity, is ahead 30 percent for the year so far.
“It’s a great opportunity for us to test product, get closer to the consumer and get branded content to them,” Foster said.
Collier said NYDJ produces its jeans in the U.S. and Mexico, while sportswear is sources in China and Vietnam.
As for additional expansion other than freestanding stores, Collier said, “We haven’t really touched Asia, and we see further opportunity in Australia and New Zealand, and even Latin America.”
In addition, she’s looking at product categories and extensions such as accessories like bags, belts, costume jewelry and scarves, and potentially men’s wear.