“It’s been part of the strategy from the beginning,” said Patrick Herning of creating a private label for 11 Honoré, out May 29.
Though its factories are based in California, and all nonessential businesses in the state have been told to temporarily shut down due to the coronavirus, the line is “on target for launch.” Design is complete, and the company is “currently working on fittings remotely via video,” said Herning.
“Look, we are going to emerge from this as we always have, a stronger industry,” he said of current affairs. “We’re going to learn, pivot, grow.”
As a digital company, 11 Honoré isn’t faced with “a lot of the challenges a lot of other retailers are struggling with right now,” he added. “I want to be super respectful about that. This is falling in a very unique time for us in terms of our product development, where a lot of work has been done, and we are able to stick to our timeline and roadmap. How it impacts the physical launch is going to be TBD.”
He hopes to host an event in New York City. “We’re being nimble, agile, kind,” he continued. “We want to keep our vendors working if they’re able to. We want to employ as many people as we can. Those are the things I’m thinking about, ensuring we can support our supply chain. And with it all being manufactured in Los Angeles, we are on track as of now to hit our timeline.”
Since launching the online retailer — which offers high-end women’s clothing sizes 12 to 24 — in 2017, Herning has “gotten to know the customer and what has been missing for her these three years.”
It’s been about “carving out white space,” he said, “meeting her needs at this elevated price point,” after getting an understanding of what “she gravitates toward…what we haven’t been able to get for her season after season.”
For the first time, his customer will be able to outfit herself for under $500, he said. While there are clothing options like ath-leisure and denim under that amount, high-end labels don’t offer very much else. Priced between $98 for a T-shirt and $598 for a blazer, 11 Honoré’s line will offer “sophisticated and chic” women’s wear for sizes 12 to 26 (with plans to go higher). “Think The Row,” he said.
Using stretch linen, silks and knits, the items are “meant to interact with one another beautifully,” said Herning. “It’s a very solid story in terms of mood and color. It really is going to be her daily uniform that complements everything else that sits on the site.”
Working with consultants, the company — which has a core team of five — has spent the last year perfecting the fit by leveraging their own data: “We’ve invested significantly in fit technology. And what we’re doing with this investment is not only launching our private label brand, but we’re now sharing this proprietary fit technology with our third-party brand partners to create some consistency and help with return rates. At the end of the day, our customer has so few places to go, she inherently wants to keep the items she shops.”
His ultimate goal? “To dress as many women as possible, to make as many women feel incredible as possible. That’s always been the most important.”