NEW YORK — The paintings are up, the computers are buzzing and David Yurman and his jewelry company already seem right at home in their spacious new Zen-inspired corporate headquarters in TriBeCa here.
This story first appeared in the November 17, 2003 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
“We wanted this to be a place that inspires us, where we can feel relaxed and creative,” the designer said during a tour last week of the 64,000-square-foot space, located on the top two floors of a converted printing factory on the corner of Vestry and Hudson Streets in Manhattan.
Sybil Yurman, his wife and business partner, said, “We feel this new space positions us for growth for the next 10 years because we have extra space to grow into.”
The move comes at a time when the David Yurman company is poised for expansion. The firm plans to roll out more company-owned stores next year, and it has recently hired key executives to oversee its retail, watch and marketing divisions. The Yurmans said they are on track to reach sales of $500 million at retail this year and are currently seeing double-digit growth.
The two-floor location, which costed about $10 million to design and renovate, is more than triple the size of Yurman’s old corporate home on Madison Avenue in Midtown, where employees sometimes had to hold meetings in the hallways. Designed by Danish-born architect Thomas Juul-Hansen, the new space is open and airy, with large windows and soft lighting. It is designed to match the firm’s approach to its jewelry, which David Yurman describes as “relaxed luxury.”
To that end, visitors entering the 12th floor are greeted by an open room with a Zen-inspired rock garden complete with a jade sculpture and large plants in the center. The floor houses the design studio and executive offices, marketing and sales, creative services and a small production area, while the 11th floor is home to shipping and receiving, and other back-office functions, such as accounting and information technology.
A 1,200-square-foot deck and roof garden are in the process of being completed. The floors are made of materials such as limestone and bamboo, and much of the furniture is crafted in rosewood and mahogany. Some of the pieces are vintage items from Denmark.
The company has its own entrance on Vestry Street, with high tech security and newly installed elevators that go directly to its two floors on the top of the building.
Sybil Yurman said she and her husband looked for nearly two years to find a space that would suit their needs and desires. Longtime residents of the TriBeCa neighborhood, they now work just four blocks from their home.
Among the new key executives hired is Carl Barbato, who is vice president of retail and the first Yurman executive dedicated exclusively to the expansion of company-owned stores. There are currently two David Yurman stores — on Madison Avenue here and in Costa Mesa, Calif. — and the firm plans to open a 1,000-square-foot store in the Bal Harbour shops in Bal Harbour, Fla., in April. The firm also recently opened a 500-square-foot in-store shop at Bloomingdale’s New York flagship and a 1,000-square-foot boutique is expected to open at the Americana Manhasset mall later this year.
“We think we could support between 10 and 12 freestanding stores,” Barbato said.
David Yurman noted the company is exploring such markets as Houston, Atlanta and Las Vegas for additional boutiques.
At the same time, the firm has scaled back its wholesale distribution slightly so that its jewelry is now sold in about 390 doors, down from about 450 a year ago, as a way to be more exclusive and go deeper in the doors it is already in, said Carol Pennelli, senior vice president of sales and education.
Other recent hires are Tom Kennedy, a former executive at Unilever, who is director of watch timepieces, and Arlene Brickner, who is vice president of marketing. Pennelli, Kennedy, Brickner and Barbato all report to executive vice president Terri Eagle.
On the merchandise front, Yurman is developing an extensive diamond jewelry collection slated to bow at the Basel, Switzerland, show in April. While the firm is still best known for its cable jewelry, in the last year, it has stepped up its focus on watches and has opened a watch facility in Switzerland to oversee production of its timepieces. It also has introduced more jewelry with pearls and larger gemstones such as amethysts and garnets, as well as more yellow gold, and has seen a strong reaction to its new children’s line called Cable Kids.
“We are also planning to do more limited-edition pieces,” added David Yurman. “We didn’t have the space before, but now we do and we can pursue more creative endeavors.”