With Tuesday’s opening of its seventh New York store, located this time at the Westfield World Trade Center, Kiehl’s is paying tribute to the city where the company started more than a century ago.
The 900-square-foot shop is just a walk away for Kiehl’s USA President and TriBeCa resident Chris Salgardo. “As a 165-year-old company, without question we wanted to be part of the rebuilding of downtown. What better way to commemorate our heritage than with the rebuilding of downtown New York?” he said. “And I can tell you by today’s crowd — this is going to be a home run.”
With more than 165 stores worldwide, the company plans to broaden its reach with a new location in Austin in two months followed by a Disney Springs Orlando location later this year. The 2017 openings may include Palm Springs, Napa Valley, Phoenix and additional stores in Los Angeles. Expansion in freestanding stores and wholesale accounts — a total of about 450 doors — have the most potential for the brand, Salgardo said.
For its limited-edition holiday collection, Kiehl’s is partnering with FAILE, a Brooklyn-based collaboration between artists Patrick McNeil and Patrick Miller. Consumer culture, religious traditions and the urban environment are some of the subjects explored by blurring the boundaries between fine art, street art and popular culture. They will provide the illustrations for the retailer, which will in turn donate 100 percent of its net profits for the limited-edition items up to $100,000 to help provide 1.1 million meals through the hunger-relief charity Feeding America.
In another arena, Salgardo just wrapped the 11-day 1,200-mile Kiehl’s LifeRide for amfAR Saturday in Philadelphia. In the past seven years, Kiehl’s involvement with this cause has covered 11,000 miles and helped raise $1.6 million for eight research-related grants focused on trying to find a cure and a vaccine for both AIDS and HIV through amfAR. Noting that there are 40 million people worldwide living with HIV and six Americans are diagnosed with the disease every hour, Salgardo said there are a lot of interesting statistics that people don’t necessarily know about.
To launch this year’s ride, Salgardo helped ring the bell at the New York Stock Exchange and he rode his motorcycle through Saks Fifth Avenue’s historic New York store thanks to senior vice president and director of the New York flagship John Cruz. “I don’t know that I will ever get that chance to do that again. I have to really give it up to Saks. It was really an incredible moment for them to give up their store to us like that.”
Whoopi Goldberg and Dita Von Teese helped to further the cause by appearing in Kiehl’s first PSA titled “The Cure is in Your Hands” through a partnership with amfAR. Recalling how, at a Kiehl’s event in West Farms, Conn., a 25-year-old woman introduced herself and her eight-month-old daughter — both of whom are HIV positive — Salgado said, “It was just a stark reminder of why we do this.”