Ambrosi Abrianna decided to embrace nature for its first store.
This story first appeared in the December 14, 2009 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
The 1,580-square-foot boutique, which opens today at 850 Madison Avenue in Manhattan, features floor-to-ceiling bone-colored marble and walls with a fake jungle of greenery, interspersed with LED-lit plastic cubes on which the brand’s signature alligator, ostrich, crocodile and python bags rest.
Childhood friends Ambrosi Lim and Abrianna Jang founded the luxury exotic skin handbag and accessories firm, with price points well into the five figures, in 2008.
“The concept of the store is to show consumers the journey of the product through Australia and Africa,” said Lim, who designed the space and studied advertising, merchandising and design at Parsons The New School for Design. “You have the feeling of the jungle.”
The store is nestled between the Gucci and Chloé boutiques.
“It’s a New York brand, and I thought it was important to start [retail] here,” Lim said. “There’s an opportunity for new brands in New York City, and I’m honored to be here on Madison Avenue.”
An undulating curtain of cut crystals divides the retail space from the company showroom in the back, which is outfitted with a crocodile-covered table. The brand is looking to wholesale its bags for the first time next year. Its first wholesale account is Zainab in Los Angeles, a boutique that only carries one-of-a-kind items. Until now, Ambrosi Abrianna has been doing private trunk shows and selling events, and sold bags out of its headquarters in Manhattan’s Rockefeller Center.
The brand wants to open wholesale accounts in 10 U.S. cities, as well as distribute outside the country, but there are no immediate plans for stand-alone boutiques abroad.
Bags at the store range from $375 for a python clutch to $62,000 for a larger alligator satchel. There are exotic skin golf bags, crocodile belts and small accessories such as card cases and passport covers. The bags come in inventive finishes such as gold leafed black alligator. There are also teal crocodile oversize clutches with silver trim and python bags injected with skin softeners to make them especially supple. Men’s accessories include a messenger-style bag and an attaché case.
The store will offer exclusive merchandise and will take custom orders so clients can choose from a plethora of skins and colors.