A FRESH MIX IN NOLITA
Byline: Karyn Monget
NEW YORK — Mixona is no ordinary lingerie boutique.
Located at 262 Mott Street in a hip, up-and-coming neighborhood, with apparel and accessories shops like Calypso and Jeffrey, the area known as NoLIta has just the sort of New York street ambience that owner Don Young believes will draw a variety of “adventurous” customers.
So far, the month-old venture appears to be clicking, according to Young, who has invested $1.5 million in refurbishing a 2,500-square-foot store that was originally an ice cream factory built at the turn of the 20th century.
Young describes the backdrop and decor of the spacious boutique, which showcases more than 30 upscale European and U.S. resources, as “man-friendly, nothing pink or prissy like Victoria’s Secret.” The floors are a combination of neutral, concrete gray and blond wood and, in the back, Young plans to stage trunk shows for new design talent, or designers who cannot get a foothold in a department store matrix.
Merchandise is displayed along walls on floating fixtures and on sultry-looking, long-haired models who look like they’ve stepped out of an Austin Powers flick. The dressing rooms, draped in crimson red silk, are “big enough for boyfriends or husbands” to view lingerie fittings in a private setting.
“We’ve been doing between $4,500 and $5,000 in sales — seven days a week — since Valentine’s Day, and that’s been with no publicity or advertising,” said Young, who was formerly vice president of merchandising and design at Jones New York Intimates, a licensed division of Madison Maidens. “By the summer, I’m projecting doing $10,000 a day.”
“This isn’t just a retail store,” he said. “We also have a marketing concept. So far, we have a mailing list of 600 and we feature new visuals of merchandise we photograph every morning, as well as designer visuals on our Web site, mixona.com. We also have links with spas, beauty salons and nail salons, where we offer a referral reward of 3 percent off a referred customer sale either by store credit, credit card or check.”
In addition to two sales associates, Young employs an art director, a computer graphic artist and two marketing specialists. He also hopes to create a Mixona catalog by December.
“People are coming here to shop because they are so sick of how SoHo has become so commercialized, with stores like J. Crew and H&M,” having opened or opening soon, Young said. “This is the only place in New York where I feel like I’m in Paris.”
Young noted that tourists and neighborhood residents typically eat lunch at “in spots,” like Havana Cafe and Cafe Gitane, before shopping.
Regarding plans for designer showcases, Young said dates haven’t been finalized, but there should be four this year: Andres Sarda, a high-ticket Spanish swimwear and lingerie label; Undressed, a German intimates maker; luxe lingerie by Moschino, and Dolce & Gabbana.
“There’s such a monopoly in the U.S. with stores, like Victoria’s Secret, who do self-made goods,” Young said. “There aren’t enough retailers to give new designers and vendors any kind of support. I thought this was the right time to focus on direct marketing to consumers.
“I don’t think you have to have a collection to establish a brand anymore. You can do it by having a strong concept shop with assortments of very strong designer lines. I think that’s the way a retailer can succeed today.”
Over the next couple of years, Young said he plans to open three additional Mixona units — one on New York’s Upper East Side, a unit in South Beach in Miami and one in Beverly Hills.
Other key resources in the store include La Perla, Malitzia and Marvel by La Perla, Chantal Thomass, Kenzo, Sabrina Nadal, Fifi Chachnil, Christina Stott, Capucine Puerari, Chiarugi, Grazia ‘Lliani, Ravage, Argentovivo, Aubade, Leigh Bantivoglio, Eberjey, Lejaby, Hanro, Cosabella, Oroblu, Vannina Vesperini, and Viamode, a line of silk daywear and sleepwear designed by Young.