The 1,151-square-foot store follows other U.S. openings this year for the brand in Las Vegas and Miami as the company focuses on scooping up real estate in prime locations where it’s tracking high e-commerce demand for its growth push.
“We started to work with [South Coast Plaza] a couple years ago in order to not only find a space, but the right space for Furla,” chief executive officer Alberto Camerlengo said. “I think having a corner store outside of Bloomingdale’s and close to the [mall’s] entrance, it’s really a key location inside a great mall. So we couldn’t waste an opportunity like this one that [will] really put Furla in the right spot, in the right mall, in the right state in the U.S.”
Los Angeles has already proven an important market from an e-commerce standpoint for Furla, with demand there driving the accessories company’s decision to move into South Coast Plaza amid a general interest in Southern California from across the fashion industry. South Coast, more specifically, has nabbed a number of wins this year. Earlier this month it saw Kim Kardashian West’s KKW Beauty open a pop-up. In the fall Louis Vuitton opened its first on-site atelier at its refreshed South Coast Plaza store, now the company’s largest single-story boutique in the Americas.
“Los Angeles is very important for a couple of reasons,” Camerlengo said. “The first one is that we are in love with the local customer. We were able to understand how Furla is [considered within] the region because of the e-commerce. But besides that, we have a lot of customers traveling from abroad. It’s very important for us to give a strong presence in California, especially in the best location. So that is why we are looking to other locations, but they must be really unique and they have to express a unique experience for our customer.”
The ceo said the company is currently looking at a couple other locations in the state but declined to provide further details.
The ramp-up in store growth will reflect the company’s broader retail stance, largely mirroring the market. That is, leveraging the strengths unique to each selling channel it operates.
“What is important for the new stores is not only from a transaction point of view, a dollar point of view, but also brand awareness,” Camerlengo said. “We want to get closer to our customer who can really enjoy a real experience in our store. It has to evolve in a conversational experience, in emotion, Italian DNA, lifestyle approach and all these kinds of feelings you can really experience when you touch the products, when you smell the leather, when you can get in touch with the shop assistant who can help you understand the Italian brand and the DNA. I think offline in these days, is very, very important because of the sophistication of the customers that we have at South Coast Plaza.”
While touch and smell may not necessarily be achieved online, the same goal of telling the brand story can be achieved in the digital realm, Camerlengo said. That could mean through brand storytelling and the history of the company. The channels aren’t the same, but they complement one another, he went on to say.
The same goes for how the brand talks to different generations of Furla customers. A Millennial is not the same as a legacy customer, but the brand message for each group mirrors one another.
“We speak the same way. The difference is that we use different channels,” Camerlengo said. “It depends which target we want to reach, but if you want to reach the young Millennials, you use Instagram or the digital world. If you want to reach [the older] customer, we use paper or other channels. The channel, the tool you use, is different, not the content.”