NEW YORK — Charlotte Ronson is stepping up her game with the opening of her new store.
This story first appeared in the July 1, 2004 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
Ronson, who runs contemporary brand C. Ronson, has expanded her business in the last year. Now a more than $1.5 million firm, Ronson has moved from a closet-size, 276-square-foot store at 269 Elizabeth Street in lower Manhattan to a 750-square-foot location at 239 Mulberry Street.
Thanks to Damon Dash, the hip-hop mogul and Rocawear chief executive officer who purchased the C. Ronson label last year, Ronson is able to produce higher-quality product at a faster rate. But don’t think there will be any Rocawear in the new C. Ronson store. The store is owned by her and is separate from Dash’s empire, she said.
The new boutique is a family affair. On opening day, Ronson’s mother sent cookies and lemonade to share with some of her first customers. Her brother, Mark, a popular DJ and artist, had his CD for sale near the cash register. In addition to her own brand of apparel and footwear, Ronson offers an array of labels, some of which are designed by personal friends. She carries swimsuits from Shoshanna, as well as the Born Uniqorn line, which is owned and designed by actress and singer Taryn Manning. Charlotte’s twin sister, Samantha, is recording her CD (with Dash’s firm, Roc-A-Fella Records).
“My sister’s CD is sure to sit next to my brother’s when it comes out,” Charlotte said. “And my brother helped me with the sound system in here.”
Speaking of a sound system, in her previous location, Ronson had to share the hard-core rap music favored by her old neighbors at Prohibit, a streetwear retailer next door. The two stores were separated by walls that were not built up to the ceiling, so sharing of music, heat and air conditioning was a necessity.
“It was fine, but just not the vibe I’m trying to create,” Ronson said. “This space is much more me.”
And that includes the supergirly pink-and-white wallpaper and an antique chandelier Ronson bought on eBay. Hanging on the wall is a light fixture she bought at age 17 in Italy. The cabinets and mirrors were purchased at flea markets and stripped only to be painted in a clean white finish. A neon pink C. Ronson logo also hangs on the wall, a gift from her friend, Shoshanna Gruss (owner of the Shoshanna line).
“This is just the perfect space,” Ronson said. “I have a back room that is practically the size of my old store.”
Other lines she sells are AKA New York jackets, Laminated Soul cashmere sweaters and Sophomore T-shirts. There are also the Deborah Marquit and Tinsley lingerie, bags from Homeroom and Ronny Kobo and jewelry lines from designers such as Manon and White Trash Charms.